Do you know how to groom your cat? It involves not just brushing and combing, but other things as well. I have to give a vote of appreciation right up front for the information in this post. It came from the ASPCA, and I feel it was an excellent article. If, after reading this post, you need more information on a particular subject covered, go to ASPCA’s website and you may get your answers.
I am adding some products to this collection at the suggestion of Kristina Kropat, from Lebanon, MO. She is a professional cat groomer, and was kind enough to send me a list of some of her favorite grooming tools. I have included them in the selection at the end of this article. She also sent some cat grooming pictures which I will gladly add to this post. Enjoy them!
If you would like to contact Kristina with specific questions, you can reach her through Facebook’s cat group, Cat-O-Holics. She will be happy to discuss your grooming problems with you.
Your kitty spends a great deal of time dealing with his own grooming, always washing that soft coat. He likes to be clean, but some cats do not like to be groomed. If your cat won’t let you groom him, you may need to take him to a
professional groomer or vet.
Giving Your Cat a Bath
Usually the cat is well-equipped to take care of his own grooming needs. But if he gets extremely dirty or is sticky or smelly, you may need to help him out by giving him a bath. Here are some pointers on how to accomplish that feat of daring.
Schedule his bath when he is most tired. A good play session beforehand could wear him out. It’s best to trim his claws before bathing, as a protection to you.
Give the cat a good brushing first. This process will remove any lost hair or mats. Then put cotton in his ears, gently, to keep the water out. Place a rubber bath mat in the sink or tub, and place your kitty on that. This will keep him from slipping or falling.
Place three or four inches of lukewarm water in the bath container. Wet the kitty thoroughly with a long-handled spray hose. Don’t spray directly in ears, eyes, and nose. If you have no spray hose, you can use a plastic pitcher or an unbreakable cup.
Gently massage your kitty with a solution that is one part cat shampoo to five parts water. Do not use human shampoo, as that can dry out his skin.
Massage the cat from head to tail, in the direction that the hair grows. Avoid the face, eyes, and ears. Then rinse the shampoo thoroughly off the cat. Use the spray hose again, or a pitcher. Be sure the water is lukewarm. Remove all traces of the shampoo, as it can irritate kitty’s skin. It can also draw dirt to it, if not thoroughly rinsed off.
Use a washcloth to wash kitty’s face, carefully. Then wrap him in a large towel and dry him off. Do so in a warm place, away from any drafts. If kitty doesn’t freak at the noise, you can use a blow-dryer to dry his fur, set on the lowest setting. If you have a long-haired kitty, you may need to use a wide-toothed comb to untangle his fur.
After the ordeal is completed, reward your cat with lots of praise and his favorite treat.
Here’s the Brushing Technique
It is amazing what a good brushing will do. First, it removes dirt, grease, and dead hair from his coat. It also helps in the removal of skin flakes, and it stimulates blood circulation. The brushing process improves the cat’s overall skin condition.
Give one or two brushings per week. These regular grooming will be especially beneficial as the cat ages and has more trouble grooming himself.
Before you brush kitty, check his coat for general condition. A healthy coat will have a natural gloss. Also, it will spring back under your hand when you smooth it. You should see no bald spots and no sign of fleas or ticks. Check that kitty’s skin is free of any wounds or unusual bumps.
Obviously, a short-haired cat is easier to groom than a long-hair. Use a metal comb. Work it through the cat’s fur from head to tail to remove any debris or dirt. Brush him in the direction the fur grows. Brush the whole cat, including cheeks and abdomen.
Work on one section of the cat at a time to remove any dead hair or tangles. A rubber brush is very effective for hair removal on a short-haired cat.
If your cat is long-haired, give him a brushing every few days, as he will shed throughout the year. The grooming sessions are important to remove that dead hair and to keep the fur from tangling.
Start with the abdomen and legs. Comb the fur gently upward toward your kitty’s head. That soft, lovely neck fur gets combed upwards toward his chin. Make a part down the middle of the tail. Then gently brush out the hair on either side of the part.
Use talcum powder to sprinkle over knots, then separate them gently with your fingers. If they don’t come out, try a mat splitter.
The above pictures are from Kristina Kropat, professional cat groomer
Do A Cat Body Check-Up
As mentioned earlier, during your grooming sessions, run your hands over the cat’s body. Check to make sure there are no wounds, bumps, or tangles that you missed. Check under the tail for feces attached to the fur. These can be snipped off very carefully with scissors.
While you are looking under the tail, also check the anus. If you see tan, rice-sized objects, your cat may have tapeworms, and, in this case, will need the proper treatment.
If you don’t groom your pet, especially if it is long-haired, the cat could have tangles that are painful and need to be removed. Also, your cat may have hairballs. You will know if he does, because he will cough them up or they will come out with the feces in the litterbox.
If you brush your cat regularly and the poor baby still suffers from hairballs, ask your vet to recommend a remedy that you can give your cat.
The cat’s skin is a barometer of his overall health. You may notice the cat scratching excessively, or chewing and/or licking. There are any number of causes for this behavior, from parasites and allergies to changing of the seasons or stress. Any one of these might affect your kitty’s skin, and if you notice a problem, see your vet.
Possible Skin Abnormalities To Watch For
Here are some causes of abnormalities in your cat’s skin that should be investigated:
Ringworm is a highly contagious fungal infection that can cause inflammation, scaly patches and hair loss. The lesions are most commonly found on the head, ears, and paws. If you think your cat may have ringworm, even if you can’t find the lesion, see the vet immediately. You don’t want other pets or people being infected.
These little critters irritate the skin. Also, cats can have an allergic reaction to them. The cat will scratch excessively, and the hair above the base of the tail will thin. Crusts and red, raised skin lesions may occur. To top that off, the cat can sometimes be sensitive to flea treatment problems.
OTHER EXTERNAL PARASITES
Ear mites cause itching and redness around the ears. You can see a dark material that looks like coffee grounds in the ear canals. Other external parasites include lice and mange mites.
There are many other reasons your kitty’s skin may be having problems. These include seasonal and food allergies, reactions to grooming products, changes in season, environmental factors, bacterial or yeast infections, tumors, and stress. Visit your vet if you notice any abnormalities in the cat’s skin.
Check the ears once a week for wax, debris, or infection
Examine and clean the cat’s paws and make sure they are wound-free.
I know from experience that trimming the cat’s nails can be a nightmare experience for cat and owner. Here are some steps to follow to get your kitty to relax while you trim.
1. Choose a chair in a quiet room where you and kitty can sit and relax together. You might try this procedure after a meal, as he will be relaxed and perhaps sleepy. Make sure there are no distractions.
2. Take a paw between your fingers and gently massage. If the cat pulls away, don’t squeeze or pinch. Just follow his gesture, and keep a gentle contact. Once he is still, press his pad so that the nail extends. Then release the paw and give kitty a treat. Do this every other day until you have done all ten.
3. Get the cat used to the sound of the clippers before trimming the nails. Sit with the cat in your lap. Put a piece of uncooked spaghetti into the clippers and hold them near your cat. You might set a treat for him on top of the clippers. Next, massage a toe, gently pressing the toe pad. When the nail extends, clip the spaghetti with the clippers while still holding his paw. Now release the toe and give kitty a treat.
4. Do NOT cut the pink part of the nail, called the quick, which is where the nerves and blood vessels are located. Be cautious if you need to, and cut less of the nail rather than risk cutting the quick.
5. The cat should be on your lap, facing away from you. Take one toe in your hand; massage and press until the nail extends. Trim only the sharp tip of one nail, release the toe, and give kitty a quick treat. If the cat didn’t notice, clip another nail. However, just trim two claws in the first sitting…let your cat get comfortable with the experience. Don’t forget the reward.
6. Trim nails every 10 days to two weeks.
7. If your cat resists, don’t punish her or raise your voice. Don’t attempt clipping if the cat is agitated or you are upset. Take your time. Don’t cut into the quick.
8. Don’t do all the cat’s claws at one time.
9. Do NOT declaw your cat! Instead, trim those nails regularly. Provide adequate scratching posts or get soft plastic covers for your cat’s claws. When you declaw your cat, the surgery involves amputating the end of a cat’s toes. Imagine how you would feel if someone cut off the ends of your toes? Don’t be so cruel!
Damage to the tongue, teeth, palate and gums can lead to many health risks for a cat. You can prevent such problems from arising by brushing the teeth regularly. If kitty’s gums are inflamed, see a vet.
To brush a cat’s teeth, use cotton swabs and a small toothbrush and tube of toothpaste formulated for cats. You can also use salt and water. Never use people toothpaste, as some of the ingredients may be harmful for your cat.
To brush your cat’s teeth, you must first get the cat used to the idea. Start with your fingers or a cotton swab and gently massage the gums. After doing the gum massage for a few times, put a little of the cat toothpaste on his lip so he will become used to the taste.
Use a cat’s toothbrush, which is smaller than a human one, with soft bristles. You can also get a brush that you can wear on your finger. Apply toothpaste and give a gentle brushing.
To make your kitty’s teeth strong, get her chew toys. These will help floss those kitty teeth, massage gums, and remove tartar.
Check your cat’s mouth for any sign of gum disease or inflammation.
Give your kitty an eye exam just before grooming. Look for any tearing, crust, cloudiness or inflammation that may indicate a health problem.
The best way to prevent eye conditions is to get regular checkups and get the animal all the needed vaccinations. Eye conditions left untreated can lead to impaired sight or blindness.
To make your grooming job easier, I’ve found some grooming tools and supplies that you might find useful. These come from Amazon. As an Amazon affiliate, I may earn a small commission if your purchase any of these products.
Safari Pet Products Medium Coarse Metal Dog Grooming Comb
(Recommended by Kristina Kropat for your cat)
by Pet Combs
Pet Grooming Gloves — Left & Right, enhanced, five-finger design
For cats, dogs, and horses
by Pat Your Pet
Price: $13.99 Prime
Best cat nail clippers and claw trimmers for home grooming
by Shiny Pet
Price: $9.99 Prime
Rake Stripper Tool
Stainless with wood handle
by Top Dawg Pet Supplies
Price: $14.59 Prime
Sleek EZ Original deshedding grooming tool, up to 95% less shedding in one use
by Sleek EZ (Cat owners: Do not press firmly against cat’s coat and use sparingly)
Available in 3 sizes: 2.5″, 5″, and 10″
$14.95 for 2.5″, Prime
Safari cat self-cleaning slicker brush, 1 size, cat brush
For shedding and grooming
Stainless steel comfort grip handle
Price: $11.80 (3rd party seller)
Lithium Pet Clipper, Purple, #41870-0423
by Wahl Clipper Corp.
Price: $154.35 Prime
Espree Energee Plus Cat Shampoo, by Espree
Price: $14.93 Prime
Best way to eliminate bad dog and cat breath; fight tartar, plaque and gum disease
Price: $16.49 Prime Vet Recommend
Price: $14.99, free shipping
Natural toothbrush dental care
Price: $11.95 Prime
Grooming your pet is a task that must be done regularly. Your attention to your animal’s care will bring you rewards, as you will be helping to keep your kitty healthy and happy.
If you learned something important from this article, please comment below.