Cat Grooming 101: Do I need to Groom my Cat?

what is cat grooming
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If you have a cat, you may be wondering if your cat needs to be bathed and groomed like your dog.  The answer is yes!  So, what is cat grooming, do you need to groom your cat and why does your cat need to be groomed?

While cat’s do groom themselves, they can develop mats, knots, tangles, flea issues, and shed just like your dog.  Unlike dogs, because a cats instinct is to lick themselves clean, they can develop hairballs in their digestive track which can lead to health problems. 

These problems can be worse if you have a medium or long haired cat such as a Maine Coon or Persian cat.  Grooming your cat can help solve all of these problems and many more. 

 

What is cat grooming?

Cat grooming is similar to dog grooming only more dangerous!  Not only do most cats hate being man handled, they come equipped with teeth and claws and they are not afraid to use them.  Start training your cat to enjoy being brushed and bathed when they are kittens, then when they are adults, they might tolerate you grooming them.  If you feel that you do not have the time to commit to do lots of grooming, then look into a short haired cat breed such as a these popular short haired cat breeds.  The Cat Fanciers Association has detailed info about each breed here.

  1. American Short Hair
  2. Burmese
  3. Manx
  4. Siamese
  5. Good old regular short hair mix!

If you have a medium to long haired breed like I do (Maine Coon) you will be in for a lot of grooming. Cat grooming includes bathing, nail clipping, combing/brushing, ear cleaning, shaving and wiping down your kitty’s face.

The video below is a great overview of cat grooming basics for a new owner.

https://youtu.be/GBbfAIcs1ik

Why groom your cat?

There are many reason you should groom your cat.  Not only is it good for their health, but it can help them to look amazing.  Grooming your cat is the perfect time to check out their overall health, from their eyes to their claws and ears.  You will be able to feel and look all over to see if there are any issues developing.  Additionally, grooming your cat can be a great way to spend quality time with them.

Bathing

Thankfully, you do not need to bathe a cat in water very often, unless it has a condition.  Please discuss how often you should bath your cat with your vet.

Whether your cat is indoor or outdoor, they may have fleas!  If this is the case, then you would need to purchase a quality flea shampoo that is made specifically for cats.  DO NOT use a dog flea shampoo on your cats as they contain ingredients that are poisonous and could kill your cat! You can check out our flea shampoo reviews; we reviewed one from Adams that is cat safe!

do i need to groom my cat?Since most cats don’t enjoy water, some manufactures have started making dry flea shampoo for cats.  Vet’s Best Flea and Tick Waterless Bath is safe to use on cats and kittens 12 weeks or older.  All you do is spray on your cat and massage down to the skin. 

Then you brush of the residue and BAM no more fleas.

Try to have a helper handy when giving your cat a bath in water and make sure the door is closed so they can’t escape!

Clipping your Cat’s Claws

Cats use their claws not only to defend themselves, but to climb and perform all of their awesome acrobatic acts. If your cats claws are getting caught in things, maybe its time for a trim.  Definitely get your cat used to nail trimmers when they are a kitten. What can happen if you don’t trim your cats claws?  If the claws get too long, they could be more likely to scratch people and furniture.  Also, they could tear and develop and infection or they might become ingrown and hurt your cat.
do i need to groom my cat?
Trimming your cats claws takes time and patience because you may not be able to trim all of the nails in one sitting.  It may take a few days of convincing your cat to let your trim their claws.  Watch out not to clip the nails too short: you could cut the quick and hurt your cat.  I believe that cats back claws, used for balance and jumping should not be trimmed unless absolutely necessary.  Even then, ask your vet.  Additionally, outdoor cats need their front claws to defend themselves against other cats and animals.

Combing and Brushing your Cat’s Fur

 
do i need to groom my catCats need to be brushed out to prevent mats, hot spots, tangling and other health issues.  You will need to purchase a special comb or brush, depending on your cats fur type.  One of the best selling cat brushes is the Bonve Pet Deshedding brush.  Gets rid of a ton of your cats dead hair and reduces shedding.

How often should you brush your cat?  Well, that depends.  If your cat is a short haired breed, you can brush them 1-3 times per week.  If they are medium to long haired, you will need to brush them more often, at least once per day with a metal comb with long teeth to make sure that you are getting right down to the skin where matts and tangles begin to form.  This will prevent future tangles and matts from forming on your kitty.

My Maine Coon is not very cooperative, which stinks because she sure is hairy!  So we brush her various parts at different times.  30 seconds on one side, then a break.  30 seconds on another side, then a break.  Slowly, she has gotten more used to it.  Try that technique on your cats and let me know if it works!

Also, regardless of their hair type, during shedding season (spring and summer), you will need to brush them more to help prevent hairballs and other health issue from developing.

Cleaning your Cat’s Ears

Your cat has great hearing but still may need help keeping their ears clean.  WebMD says to watch for some signs that may show that your cat’s ears should be checked by a vet:

  • Persistent scratching and pawing of the ear or surrounding area
  • Sensitivity to touch around the ears
  • Head tilt
  • Frequent shaking of the head
  • Loss of balance and disorientation
  • Redness or swelling of the outer ear or ear canal
  • Unpleasant odor
  • Black or yellowish discharge
  • Accumulation of dark brown wax
  • Hearing loss
  • Bleeding from the ear

What do you use to clean a cats ears?  You would use a natural product such as purified water or a liquid solution that is recommended by Vets and a clean cotton ball or soft rag.  Never use a Q-tip.

Shaving your Cat

should i groom my cat

Some matted cats, or show cats, or maybe just for fun cats, have their fur shaved.  The most famous is the lion cut!  Some cat breeds have 2 or 3 different layers of fur and to prevent the layers from matting, then must each be combed out to remove dead hair and tangles.  If grooming your cat becomes to much for you, this may be an option.  Discuss with your vet and your groomer.

Should you cut your Cat’s Whiskers?

should i cut my cats whiskers?

NO!  Your cat’s whiskers are a tape measure of sorts….your cats whiskers let them know if they can fit their body into tight spaces.   The whiskers typically grow out to match the width and height of your cat’s body.  If you cut them, your cat could get themselves stuck in a space too small for their body.

Should I get my cat groomed?

If you have a cat that is difficult to groom or just downright nasty, you should have a professionally certified cat groomer take care of grooming your cat for you.  They have tools and techniques that help to groom uncooperative cats.

View more about grooming your cat from the experts at the ASPCA!

Do you have any tips or tricks to groom your cat?  Let’s us all know in the comments below!  Don’t forget to share us on social!

 

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