Cats are exceptionally clean animals, and undertake most of their own grooming duties themselves. However, cats can’t always reach everything, and getting involved in your cat's grooming can help grow the bond between you and your pet, as well as giving you a chance to check for signs of ill health. Remember, every cat needs attention, and almost all enjoy being groomed.
The benefits of grooming
There are several benefits of grooming your cat in addition to helping you build a close relationship. Grooming not only stimulates the circulation and improves muscle tone, but also minimises the size and quantity of hairballs in the stomach by removing loose hairs. Grooming also helps smooth down the fur which improves its insulating properties and aids heat retention. Additionally, grooming stimulates the glands at the base of each hair, which help waterproof the coat.
Grooming your cat should be made part of a regular routine from an early age, ideally from kittenhood. The added benefit for you as the owner is that grooming allows you to check for external parasites, skin wounds and other skin lumps and bumps. It also helps you to maintain a cleaner home by minimising the amount of shed hair around your house!
Cat Grooming Tips
It’s best to buy some good cat grooming tools which will last for the lifetime of your cat. Buy ones that are specifically designed for short or long haired cats as required. You will definitely need a good quality brush but may also need a fine comb too.
For shorthaired cats, use your fine-toothed metal comb weekly. Also, a natural-bristle or rubber brush should be utilised to remove any dead hairs. Gently brush or comb your cat's hair, using strokes in the direction that the hair grows, and use the bristle brush to sweep up the coat in the direction of the head, and then smooth it down again.
To groom longhaired cats, brush daily with a steel comb. Any knots you encounter can be gently teased out with your fingers, or they can be cut off (with care) using blunt-ended scissors. If your cat does not enjoy being groomed, try offering food treats or rewards along with gentle encouragement to start with, and your cat should soon calm down.