Did you know you should groom your cat regularly? Even though they clean themselves, it’s a good idea for us to help. Let’s discuss how to groom a cat and why it’s essential.
Benefits Of Grooming Your Cat
Cats constantly groom themselves, so why should we bother to groom them?
They have rough tongues, which act as a comb or brush. So, when your kitty licks their fur, they get loose fur and dirt from their coat.
Of course, this is why cats get hairballs. Hairballs are normal since fur builds up in the back of their throat, and they must cough it up.
Even though cats do a great job keeping themselves clean, it’s still a good idea to give them good grooming once in a while. This is because they can’t stay clean on their saliva all the time.
Believe it or not, brushing a cat’s fur (or them licking themselves) has many other benefits rather than just cleaning them.
For example, acts of brushing your cat’s fur can provide the following:
- Improve circulation
- Improve muscle tone
- Smooths down the fur for better insulation
- Sebum glands are stimulated (helps keep the coat waterproof, thus protecting the coat and skin)
Also, your cat’s saliva will help keep them cool in the hot weather.
When Should You Groom Your Cat?
It’s a good idea to help your cat groom themselves once in a while to ensure they get a good cleaning.
Also, there may be some circumstances in which you’ll need to help your cat out. For example, long-haired cats have a harder time keeping up with their grooming. As a result, they’ll shed a moderate amount.
If you want to keep the shedding under control, brushing them daily will help keep your house clean.
On the other hand, older cats may be less flexible or have aching joints. As a result, they’ll have a harder time reaching certain places to keep clean.
Overall, no matter your cat’s age, you should monitor its grooming habits. Then you can help them out as needed.
Starting grooming young is a good idea so your cat can get used to it.
Overall Pet Care
Helping your cats groom themselves has many benefits for both of you. Not only does it keep your cat clean and healthy, but it’s a great way for you two to bond. So, how can you groom a cat?
Caring For Your Cat’s Skin And Fur
Caring for your kitty’s skin and fur is essential. You’ll want to clean their coats from ticks, fleas, dirt, and other debris.
On the other hand, cats are prone to certain skin conditions.
Skin issues are common in cats. They’re caused by allergies, stress, or external parasites. For example, they’ll show the following symptoms if their skin is irritating them:
- Continuous scratching, licking and chewing at the skin (especially around the head and neck)
- Redness or inflammation
- Dry, flaky skin
- Hair loss (or bald patches)
- Skin discoloration
- Drainage of blood or pus
- Round, scaly patches around the face and paws
If you notice any of these symptoms, you should bring your cat to the vet as soon as possible.
However, an excellent way to prevent such issues is to groom your cat regularly.
Bathing Your Cat
Most cats don’t like water, but you can get them used to it. If you start young, your kitty will get used to baths and know what to expect.
When bathing your feline friend, try to do so when they’re mellow. For example, a good play session will tire them out.
Then, massage the shampoo into your cat’s coat and skin while in the tub. Make it so you’re not bathing them but giving them a relaxing pet.
After, you can rinse them with a gentle spray hose.
Brushing Your Cat
Using a cat brush helps circulate the blood flow for your cat and keeps them clean.
Also, regular brushing of your cat’s coat will allow you to check their coat and skin. Make sure there are no cuts or irritation.
Then, you can brush their fur to remove excess fur, dirt, grease, and anything else in their coat.
Rubber brushes or metal combs are good tools.
A Note About Shedding
Regular brushing will help keep shedding dead hair under control. But did you know cats can shed more if something else happens?
For example, other reasons cats may shed could be from the following:
- Bacterial Infection
- Hormonal Imbalance (such as Hypothyroidism)
- Poor diet
- Certain medications
- Pregnancy or nursing
Talk to your vet if you notice excess shedding. Sometimes, it’s a simple fix of feeding your kitty a healthy diet through high-quality cat food.
Paw And Nail Care
We all know that we must trim our cat’s nails once in a while. Otherwise, they could curl backward into their paw pad if their claws get too long.
Also, long nails can hurt.
You should trim your cat’s nails once every two to four weeks.
But did you know that you also need to care for your kitty’s paws?
Your cat’s paws are delicate, and they can get dirt and litter stuck in between the paws. As a result, irritation can occur, including other issues.
Especially if your cat goes outside (even indoor cats get out sometimes), you’ll need to check their paws for sores, cuts, splinters, or swelling.
Be mindful of your kitty’s sensitive paws on a hot summer day. If your cat is limping, you can call your vet.
Ears, Eyes, And Dental Health
We’re not done yet. The coat and paws might be the bigger grooming needs, but your cat also needs cleaning in other places.
Cats have inner ears and outer ears. Both must be checked regularly to ensure they’re clean and free from infection.
For example, you should bring your feline to the vet if you notice the outer ear produces discharge, redness, or swelling.
On the other hand, if the inner ear has an odor or excessive wax buildup, you should bring them to the vet.
You can clean your cat’s ears yourself once in a while. Ask your vet for a feline-friendly ear cleaning solution, and you can use a cotton ball to gently clean your kitty’s ears.
Cats can get ear issues, such as ear mites, ear infections, or blood blisters, also known as a hematoma.
Does your cat have bad breath? Do their gums look red and swollen? They may have underlying issues, or you may simply need to brush their teeth regularly.
For example, something could be wrong with your cat’s mouth if you notice the following:
- A dark red line along the gums
- Swollen gums
- Ulcers on the gums or tongue
- Loose teeth (or teeth falling out)
- Difficulty chewing
- Excessive pawing at the mouth
Bring your cat to the vet if you notice any of these symptoms.
For instance, your cat could have several mouth issues, such as gingivitis, periodontitis, stomatitis, rodent ulcer, mouth ulcer, or salivary cyst.
Finally, cats can have eye issues. For example, they can have eye problems, such as:
- Bulging Eye
- Retinal Disease
- Watery Eyes
- Third Eyelid Protrusion
Sometimes it’s easy to tell when your cat’s eye is bothering it.
For instance, they may have discharge or water coming out of their eyes, tear-stained fur, closed eyes, cloudiness or change in eye color, red or white eyelid linings, or gunk coming out of the corners of their eyes.
Cat Grooming Tips
When grooming your feline friend, you’ll first want to start young. After that, it’ll be easier to get a kitten used to grooming rather than an adult or older cat.
That way, your cat will know what to expect whenever it’s grooming time. Of course, they may still not enjoy it as much, but they shouldn’t put up too much of a fight.
Also, do your best to make the experience positive and enjoyable for both of you. You’re trying to keep your kitty clean, but this is also a chance for you guys to bond.
To do this, ensure you groom them as part of a routine. For example, choose a time of day when they’re calm and sleepy, so they can relax and enjoy the grooming session and your company.
Question Corner: FAQs About How To Groom A Cat
There’s a lot to think about when grooming your cat. If you want to learn more, check out the frequently asked questions about how to groom a cat answered below.
How Can I Groom My Old Cat?
When grooming an older cat, be gentle. Massage points that you know ache your kitty. Turn grooming into a massage, so they get clean and receive relief.
What If My Cat Has Fleas?
You can give your kitty a flea bath with special shampoo. However, it may be best to leave it to the professionals. You can take your cat to a grooming salon for them to get rid of the fleas healthily and safely.
Do You Groom Your Cat Regularly?
Grooming a cat isn’t something we usually think of right away. However, adding grooming into your kitty’s routine will keep them clean and be a great way to bond with them.
Rachel Poli is a content writer and author, but her real job is being a stay-at-home pet mom. Her zoo currently consists of a dog, a cat, two turtles, and two fish tanks. She’s also an avid pet sitter for a few local families, caring for various animals.
After realizing how little information there is for pet sitters on the internet, Rachel decided to start her own animal website. She strives to educate pet parents and pet sitters about the overall care of our furry friends.