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Grooming your cat

A cat is a very clean creature – they clean themselves regularly. However, some cats may still require grooming such as regular brushing by their owner, in particular medium-haired or long-haired cats.

Short-haired cats may not need to be brushed regularly but owners should still regularly check their coat for any skin issues/fleas/flea dirt/lesions/lumps etc.

Benefits of grooming

Combing or gently brushing collects cat hair instead of it ending up on your clothes and it can also mean the cat ingests less, decreasing the number of hairballs and reducing formation of hair matts/tangles so your cat is more comfortable.

Regular grooming is particularly important should there be an allergy sufferer in the family, or among your friends (even if the friend doesn’t visit, you can carry the irritant to them on your clothes). Grooming is also one of the best ways to monitor your cat’s health, alerting you to ticks, small wounds, lumps, bumps and skin problems at an early stage.

Frequency

Some cats love the attention of being groomed; others may tolerate it to varying degrees. Many short and medium-haired cats probably need no more than a weekly brush. Long-haired cats need more regular attention, and for Persian cats a daily brush is recommended.

Sensitive areas

Approached gently and in short bursts, grooming can be comfortable for both participants. If your cat seems particularly wary, why not start by light petting before attempting to pick up a comb or brush?

Tummy and tail are often sensitive areas and patience may be required in order for your cat to let you groom these areas. Reward calm behaviour with a food treat, this also associates grooming with something positive.

Tools

Grooming tools are widely available. A soft brush is generally enough for a short-hair. Flea combs can be used to remove dead hair, and search for fleas. Long-haired cats will likely need both a wide-toothed comb to help deal with tangles and a brush or glove to smooth and shine.

Dealing with a matted coat

Matting is probably the toughest grooming problem, and may need to be dealt with by a professional. While resorting to scissors to cut out isolated mats may look simple, it is hard to do without cutting your cat’s skin, and is best avoided. Vet clinics often provide grooming services and will be able to provide advice about clipping.

Bathing

Generally, cats do not require bathing and it can be very stressful for some cats. In some individual cases however, a cat may need to be bathed – talk to your vet for advice.