Cats do a pretty good job of keeping themselves clean, but that does not mean grooming is not important. Grooming your car regularly helps keep your cat's skin and hair healthy, prevents him from ingesting so much hair, and ensures you spot any health problems sooner rather than later. To make sure your cat grooming sessions are effective and enjoyable, follow these tips.
Take time to get your cat used to brushing.
Not all cats immediately enjoy being brushed. Some cats take a while to get used to the sensation of a brush being run over their body, so it's essential to start slow. The first day you brush your cat, start with just a few short strokes over the cat's back. Then, reward your cat with a treat. Add a few more strokes each day until your cat is comfortable with you spending a full 15 – 20 minutes brushing him.
Choose the right brush.
For short-haired cats, a soft rubber brush or a brush with soft, short bristles is a good choice. This type of brush will remove shedding hair without irritating your cat's skin. For a long-haired cat, you'll want to start by using a wide-toothed comb to untangle any snarls. Then, you'll want to use a wire brush (with soft nylon coating on the ends of the wires) to brush through the hair. The wires work through the long hair efficiently without pulling on it.
Look and feel your cat's skin as you brush.
Because cats are covered in fur, it's not always easy to observe cuts, sores, or irritation on their skin unless you're actively looking for it. Make sure you're paying close attention to the skin while you're grooming. Run your fingers over a section before you brush it. If you feel any sores or irritation, speak with your vet.
Don't use body sprays or perfumes.
You might be tempted to spritz your cat with a little body spray or perfume to take away malodors, but this is not safe. Your cat will lick itself, and these scents could be dangerous if ingested. They're also irritating to many cats' respiratory systems. If your cat is a little smelly, you can spray him with a deodorizing spray made just for cats. These are sold at many pet stores.
Regular grooming will keep your cat healthier and happier. If you're struggling to groom your cat on your own, consider hiring a professional groomer (such as one from Kenhaven Animal Hospital).