Grooming For Cats

Do cats really need to be groomed?

Many cats do keep themselves quite clean, the exception often being obese or geriatric cats, however all cats, even short-haired ones, can benefit from some grooming assistance. Long-haired cats, which are designed by humans, not nature, must be combed regularly to prevent matting, particularly on their backsides and undersides.

If you have a kitten, getting them accustomed to being brushed will most certainly payoff in the long run. You should start right off by introducing them to brushing for very brief periods of time, interspersed with play and treats. This will help them to adjust to and tolerate being combed and handled. Remember, it is always important to end each session on a positive note!

How do I comb my cat?

There is no question that combing a cat can be a challenge, particularly if they were never habituated to it as kittens. What is important to remember is that you do not have to comb your entire cat in one sitting. Just do a section a day until your cat becomes comfortable with grooming. You must vary the sections however as the whole cat does need to be groomed.

The type of tool that you will need to brush your cat will depend on your cat's coat length. Typically we recommend a comb for short-haired cats and a comb and slicker for long-haired cats. It is important to speak with your groomer or pet care professional to determine which tools are necessary for your particular pet and to learn how to use them properly. Cats have very delicate skin and may be easily scratched if grooming equipment is used improperly.

What about bathing cats?

While it is typically not necessary to bathe a cat, occasions do arise such as illness or fleas that make bathing essential. With the exception of the Turkish Van, most cats do not enjoy the water, which can certainly make it more difficult to bathe a cat as compared to a dog. That having been said, many cats do learn to tolerate it. There are a couple of tricks to the trade. First, know your cat. It is important for you to be aware of how your cat is likely to react. Also, always trim the cat's nails prior to putting water on them and be able to bathe quickly; a cat will not tolerate you taking your time. And be very careful not to get water in the cat's face, as this will surely create a negative experience for both you and your cat.

Do cats get cold more quickly after being bathed?

It does seem that cats get cold easily after a bath, possibly because of their lower body mass. For this reason, you should always have a towel handy to immediately wrap the cat in. Also, this towel can help to prevent your cat from leaping out of your arms and hiding somewhere. We do not recommend trying to dry the cat with a dryer, rather be sure to have the house or a room very warm and use the towel to absorb as much water as possible. A nice sunny spot in a warm room is ideal. Be sure that your cat remains in a warm place until it is completely dry.

Does my cat need its nails trimmed?

Nail cutting is a personal preference. We typically do not recommend clipping the nails of an outdoor cat, as they require their nails for protection and to aid in climbing. If your cat has adequate places to scratch, they will often naturally shed their nails, however this is not true for all cats and if you have one that has a tendency to catch their nails in the rug as they are walking along you may need to cut their nails periodically.

Cutting a cat's nails is not as difficult as it sounds. Typically they have clear nails with a very distinct hook so it is easy to see the location of the vein thus making it avoidable. Gently squeeze your cat's foot to expose the nails and, using cat nail clippers, simply clip off the tip of the nail.

If you are considering declawing please visit our website on Inappropriate Scratching.

When I tried to cut my cat's nails I made her bleed, what happened?

If you cut too deep into your cat's nail you will hit a vein, more commonly known as the quick. If you hit the quick you can use styptic powder or cornstarch to aid in clotting. Quicks can bleed excessively at times but it is rarely a serious matter. If you are concerned that you cannot stop the bleeding or about infection you may wish to contact your veterinarian.

As animals age, do they need more frequent grooming?

We do find that as our pets age they no longer shed as efficiently and do need to be brushed more often. This is true for short-haired cats as well as long-haired ones. Another thing that we observe is that animals that are overweight also do not seem to shed properly.

How often should my cat be professionally groomed?

The frequency of grooming varies depending upon the breed of the cat and the amount of time spent at home in grooming activities. Some cats never need to see a professional groomer in their entire lives. Others need grooming every four to eight weeks. What is really key here is how much you are willing and able to brush your cat at home. You should discuss this with your groomer or breeder when you obtain your cat and make a decision as to how you wish to proceed. If you do not want to maintain your cat's grooming needs at home you can schedule regular visits to the salon.

What do I do if my cat is matted?

The first thing that you should not do if your cat is matted is attempt to cut the mats out with scissors. Frequently the mats rest on the skin and cats' skin is very thin, thus easy to wound. Often cats are left with gaping holes where people attempted to cut out mats. If however you have determined that there is space between your cat's skin and the mat, you can try to gently work the matt out using a comb. A severely matted cat will most likely have to be shaved. This can be done by a professional groomer. The goal however is to get your cat in before things get to this point.

Do cats ever need to be sedated for grooming?

Unfortunately some cats do require sedation for grooming and if this is the case, your cat should be groomed at your veterinarian's office. Any time an animal is sedated, there are other risks involved and should they have an adverse reaction to the anesthesia your veterinarian will be equipped to handle the situation.

If you have already taken your cat to a groomer and sedation has been recommended, it may be worth scheduling some time to talk to a different grooming facility to get another opinion. Anytime that sedation can be avoided it should be.

When a cat is extremely matted and is very difficult to handle sedation may be the only course of action. Behavior is a huge reason for a cat needing sedation for grooming. Unlike most dogs, it is very difficult to "work" a cat through a grooming. Once they have had enough, they are done. For this reason, it is even more imperative that these cats are not allowed to get into this condition in the first place.

How long will it take to groom my cat?

The length of time that it takes to groom a cat varies on an individual basis. It really depends upon the breed of cat, the condition of the cat, the behavior of the cat and what the grooming is to entail. We typically have people drop their cat off in the early morning and they are usually ready to go home in the early afternoon.

What if my cat has fleas?

If while being groomed we determine that your pet has fleas we will give them a flea bath. It is very important that a shampoo specific only for cats is used and under no circumstances should a flea shampoo for dogs be used on cats because they are much more sensitive to the toxins in flea products than dogs. For more information on fleas, please refer to our website on this topic.


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