How to Groom a Cat

Learn how to groom a cat and why grooming is so important.

Anyone who has ever had the pleasure of sharing their home with a cat knows how much time they spend grooming themselves, and keeping themselves clean.

grooming a cat

Cats groom themselves not only to make themselves look good and clean dust, dirt and lose hairs from their coats but also to remove some of the parasites that find their way onto a cat such as fleas and mites.

In the warmer months cats also groom to help keep themselves cool.

Yet another reason a cat may groom itself is to relieve stress.

Yes, cats groom for many reasons, spend a good deal of their time doing it and make a pretty good job of it.

So why learn how to groom a cat?

In their natural, wild, state felines shed their winter coat in the spring and fill out their coat in the fall in preparation for the colder months.

Sharing their lives with humans, domestic cats find their homes are heated in the winter and perhaps air conditioned in the summer.

The consequence of living in a controlled environment means a life of almost constant shedding for your cat.

Most cats need help dealing with this.

The more a cat grooms itself the more of its shed hair it is likely to swallow.

Swallowed hair can accumulate in the cat's stomach and when it grows large enough is brought up in the form of a hairball. Not a pleasant thing for the cat or its human.

Regularly grooming your cat will reduce the amount of hair that it swallows thereby reducing instances of hairball vomiting.

Loose hair that your cat does not ingest whilst grooming itself is likely to fall onto your carpets and furnishings. Again, a regular grooming session will reduce the amount of shed hair that your cat leaves around your home.

A cat that is overweight may not be able to reach, and therefore groom, all areas of her coat, which makes it absolutely essential that you groom your cat regularly.

If your cat is overweight you should of course, take steps to control her diet and increase her exercise.

As cats get older they may have difficulty keeping their coats clean.

An elderly cat may make less of an effort of grooming herself than she used to. However you should not wait until your pet is older, or finds it difficult to self-groom, before you start grooming sessions.

Another benefit to learning how to groom a cat and regular grooming sessions is that it is an opportunity to check for inflammation, lumps and bumps, areas of tenderness, patches of hair loss and other things which require your or your vet's attention.

More Reasons Why Cats Groom

When the temperature is up your cat will groom herself to cool down. Grooming is a very effective way for a cat to keep her body temperature under control.

Cats also groom themselves when stressed as they find it calming. A cat that is continually stressed out may groom to the point of causing feline hair loss.

If a cat is involved in a fight with another cat or dog, she will groom to remove the other animal's scent from herself and replace it with her own familiar sent.

How to Groom A Cat - Keep Your Cat In Top Condition

Short hair cats require less frequent grooming than their longer hair cousins.

Generally a once a week session will keep your short haired cat looking tip-top. Of course, both you and your pet can enjoy grooming so much that you may want to delight in a session more frequently.

Groom a Cat. Image
Regular grooming sessions are an opportunity to check for lumps and bumps, areas of tenderness, hair loss and other things which may require your vet's attention.

Long haired cats can look absolutely gorgeous.

That is if their coats are properly looked after, but as anyone who has ever seen a longhair cat with its coat all matted and knotted will know, they can look a sorry mess.

Long haired cats need far more frequent grooming, often a daily session is required.

The first thing that you need to learn about how to groom a cat is to . . . relax. If you approach grooming with the mind set that your cat is going to resist the process, then there is a good chance that she will.

Relax and approach grooming time as something that both you and your cat are going to enjoy and there is every chance that your cat will do just that . . . enjoy it.

Ideally you should start grooming your cat when she is very young, that way she will learn very quickly what a pleasurable experience it is for her. But if your kitty is older when you begin grooming sessions - don't worry, the whole thing will soon be part of her routine.

How to groom a cat - Rule number one, be gentle. Rule number two, be gentle. Rule number three . . .

Tugging and pulling your way through matted or tangled fur does not get the job done, hurts your cat and will quickly put her off being groomed.

If at first you are not able to groom all of your cat before she tires of the session, no worries, groom the rest of her tomorrow. It won't be long before your cat comes to you eager for you to make her a pretty girl (or a handsome boy.)

Grooming the Short Haired Cat

If yours is a short hair cat use short gentle strokes brushing with the grain.

Start by using a curry brush as these are ideal for removing dead hair and because the prongs are made of rubber the brushing will feel like a massage to kitty, she will love it. Many owners find that a grooming glove works just as well.

Next, repeat the process with a slicker brush these have bristles that are bent at the ends, this should get deep into your cats coat, but don't brush too hard especially if your cat's coat is not thick.

If kitty makes a fuss about the slicker just brush her again with the curry brush. You can always attempt the slicker brush at the next session, your cat will eventually tolerate it.

A good gentle comb through will catch any fleas and eggs, pay particular attention to behind the ears and the base of your cat's tail. Combing will also help sort out small tangles.

If you wish, finish off with a soft haired brush to give kitty's coat a special shine.

How to Groom a Cat, Grooming the Long Haired Cat

If yours is a longer hair cat start with a pin brush. The ball tipped pins separate the hair nicely. First brush away from your cat's skin using long strokes, then brush all the coat again this time with the grain.

 Long Haired Cat. Image
How to Groom a Cat - Grooming the Long Haired Cat. Long haired cats need far more frequent grooming, often a daily session is required.

Next use the comb to sort out any tangles, naturally you won't tug, be gentle. You may find that a de-tangling spray helps with troublesome knots.

If matting and knotting is really bad you may need to carefully trim the tangle and then groom it again with the comb.

Sometimes long haired cats get their coat so matted that the only recourse is to arrange for your vet to professionally trim away, or even shave, the matting.

Afterwards a regular daily grooming session should prevent the same situation from occurring again.

Finishing off with a soft bristle brush will leave your cat's coat with a nice gloss.

So you see, learn how to groom a cat and, with a bit of patience, you will enjoy a regular session that your cat will also relish and have a gorgeous looking cat.

Works on wet or dry coats.

Safari Soft Tip Massager for Cats

Makes it easy to groom hard to reach places.

Pet Grooming Glove - For Cat with Long & Short Fur

Soft pins with rounded ends are easy on your pets with sensitive skin.

Dog or Cat Brush -- Dual 2-in-1 Pin

Distributes natural oils, leaving a shiny, healthy coat.

Safari Soft Bristle Brush for Cats

I successfully detangled two huge mats on my cat's back by using a comb.  This is how I did it:

  • I placed Nikki on my lap with her tail towards me and her head facing outward.
  • I gently lifted the mat and placed the comb teeth at the edge of the mat next to the skin and with a rolling motion moved the teeth of the comb slowly towards me.
  • The amount of loose hair that collected on the comb was astonishing.
  • I continued with this, doing just a little at a time so she didn't become agitated until the mat was completely gone.

I collected enough hair out of those two mats to make another cat. This is the kind of comb I used.

Stainless Steel Dematting and Shedding Comb

Your Cat's Teeth.
To help keep your cat's teeth strong and free from plaque, tartar and gum infections you need to routinely examine your cat's mouth and regularly clean her or his teeth.

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