We often observe our cats preening themselves by licking and cleaning their fur. This is possibly why many people falsely believe that cats don’t need our help with their personal hygiene. However, while they might not get as dirty as dogs, cat grooming is an essential part of caring for these magnificent pets. Here, James Wellbeloved explores the two most vital aspects of home grooming for cats; brushing and claw trimming.
Effective cat grooming means knowing how to properly brush your cat’s fur and trim their claws. This is vital for maintaining both their health and appearance. While cats will groom their own fur by licking it, brushing your cat’s fur is still crucial for maintaining a top condition coat. Brushing can prevent hairballs and tangles by helping to remove loose hair. Further, brushing provides a good opportunity to check your cat for fleas, wounds, or skin infections. Nail clipping is also highly important, as it allows you to interact with your cat without them unintentionally hurting you with their sharp claws. Clipping also helps to protect your furniture and floors from being scratched by your cat’s .
In general, cats with short fur will only need to be brushed once a week, while cats with longer fur may need brushing daily. The best time to brush your cat is when they voluntarily jump into your lap, looking for some comfort and attention from you. Ensure that you keep your cat brushes close at hand so that you are always prepared to take advantage of this moment. In the rare event that you need to bathe your cat, you should also always brush them beforehand, to remove as much loose hair and dirt as possible.
You should ideally start brushing your cat when they are a young kitten. This will mean that your pet grows up accustomed to the practice and will be more amenable to thorough grooming sessions. When you first begin cat grooming, you should use brushes with soft bristles. These are more comfortable and so are a good way to introduce a cat to the process. As your pet becomes more used to being groomed, you can begin to introduce harder brushes. These are better for untangling hair.
A full cat grooming session should mean brushing your cat all over. This includes difficult to reach areas, such as the back of the legs or behind the front legs. If your cat is not accustomed to being touched in these areas, they may become tense quickly. Ensure that you pet them in these places even when not brushing them to reduce the likelihood of your cat becoming stressed. If your cat does become tense, you should stop your session. Signs of this may be your cat’s tail beginning to move or their ears being pressed back or sideways. Wait for them to calm down and you can then begin brushing a different area. What’s most important is that your pet remembers each cat grooming session positively. Always stay calm, be gentle and treat them when the session is over.
Much like other aspects of cat grooming, it can take time for your cat to become accustomed to having their nails clipped. You can prepare them for nail clipping by getting used to having their paws touched. Ensure you pet your cat’s paws regularly, so they are more comfortable when having their claws trimmed. You can even help your cat to become more familiar with the clipper by touching it to their paws regularly before use. You must also ensure you have the right equipment for clipping your cat’s claws. You must use clippers specifically designed for cat’s claws. You should never use clippers deigned for dog’s claws, as they will be too large and may injure your cat. You should also invest in a scratching post to help maintain your cat’s claws. These can help to keep cat’s claws at an appropriate length for longer periods. This can also be done by allowing your cat outside on rough surfaces, such as pavements and walls.
Start by taking your cat’s paw in your hand. Apply gentle pressure to the top of the foot and cushiony pad underneath; this will encourage them to extend their claws. Use the cat nail clipper to remove just the sharp white tip of their claw. Be careful not to go further than this. Cat’s claws do not require shortening as a dog’s might and doing so can cause them injury. Clipping a cat’s claws can be a tricky job. If you’re nervous or unsure about how to do it, it is best to take your cat to a groomer or a vet for advice. So there have James Wellbeloved’s guide to home cat grooming. If you are still uncertain of how to perform these tasks yourself, seek professional guidance from a vet or animal groomer.