When it comes to grooming, your cat’s flexibility and the small spikes on their tongue make it easy to remove loose fur, and to spread around the oils on their skin, keeping them clean and parasite free, as well as helping them regulate their own temperature.
However, it is also beneficial to groom and brush your cat, especially longer haired cats. Here are some benefits:
- Removes loose hair
- Prevents the swallowing of loose hair, and in turn prevents furballs which can be painful
- Stimulate the skin’s natural oils to leave their skin and coat healthier
- Removes dirt and grease from fur
- Improved muscle tone
- The process can be very therapeutic for both cat and owner, making it a great nurturing bond between them
- A great opportunity to do a quick health check on you cat.
Grooming Your Cat
It’s important to start grooming your cat young, to help build up trust in the process between you and your cat. Using a soft brush on younger kittens builds their tolerance to the sensation of the brush, and rewarding them for every successful brush stroke with a small snack will encourage them to tolerate grooming more, and associate it as a good thing.
Building up length of time you spend grooming your cat should be gradual, to let your cat get used to the process of grooming. Your cat will let you know when it has had enough so don’t push your luck, to leave the session on a positive note. Make sure to reward your cat at the end of every grooming session, whether with a snack or positive reinforcement, whatever makes them associate grooming with fun.
Once your cat has gotten used to a soft brush, you can try a different style of brush, but it’s a bit of trial and error to find the right kind of brush or comb for your cat and you. Here are some examples:
- Narrow or wide toothed metal combs
- Rubber groomer with wide spaced prongs
- Plastic tipped wire brush
- Grooming gloves
Importance of Grooming
Though a shorthaired cat will benefit from you grooming them, if they won’t tolerate grooming, they don’t necessarily need to be groomed. However, a long-haired cat must be groomed to prevent its fur from getting matted. Unchecked matted fur can lead to disease, long term skin issues, and even tear the skin if caught. Deal with matted fur when the section is small.
Very large areas of matted fur may need to be cut out by a professional, so try and limit that possibility.
As cats get older, they can struggle with the flexibility for grooming and even shorthaired breeds can need grooming to avoid matted fur. If fur is too matted for you to gently remove, contact your vet about grooming techniques for your cat.
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