Regular grooming is important in keeping cats comfortable and healthy. It also can alert owners to problems with the skin, presence of fleas and ticks, or new lumps on the skin. Some cats enjoy the process of being groomed, but if your cat is stressed, starting slowly will help. When starting out, limit sessions to only 5-10 minutes.
Brushing: Cats with short hair often groom themselves, but long haired cats should be brushed regularly to avoid mats forming in the fur and to decrease the incidence of hairballs. There are a variety of brushes on the market, including some with nylon bristles, or metal brushes used to detangle fur. Be very gentle when brushing - patience is important! Avoid brushing down along the spine because this is a very sensitive area of the body.
Bathing: Cats should only be bathed if heavily soiled. Some cats are comfortable being bathed, while others simply hate it! Place a non-slip mat in a shallow sink, and use warm water and mild pet shampoo when bathing. If water is stressful to your cat, you might consider a waterless shampoo to spot clean debris from his or her fur.
Trimming Nails: We don't often handle our cats' feet unless we are trimming their nails, but it is a good idea to touch their feet often so they become used to having their feet handled. This way, nail trimming may become less stressful. Begin by applying gentle pressure to the top of the foot and the soft pad underneath—this will cause your cat to extend his or her claws. Use sharp, high-quality cat nail scissors to cut off the white tip of each nail, just before the point where it begins to curl. Take care to avoid the quick, a vein that runs into the nail. This pink area can be seen through the nail. If you do accidentally cut into this pink area, it may bleed, in which case you can apply styptic powder to stop the bleeding (or corn starch in a pinch!)
If you need help finding the right shampoo for your pet, or find any skin issues you are concerned about, we are happy to help! Feel free to call us at (503)206-4163.
Originally posted May 31, 2016.
Photo Credit: beinnein.com