Regular grooming of your cat consists of hair treatment, bathing, nail trimming, and ear cleaning.
Different coats need different strokes: the combing or brushing needs vary according to the length and coat type. Longer coats need bristle, wire, or card brushes, and pet combs with rounded teeth that avoid irritating the skin. Brush-short-haired cats weekly with a grooming glove. This will decrease the chance of hairballs. Long-haired cats often have matted hair (from infrequent brushing and combing) behind their ears and under their legs. This should be pulled gently apart and combed out.
Many breeds of cats need regular clipping and stripping. You can learn to do it at home or find a professional groomer, who should be gentle and have a clean, odorless establishment. Ask your neighbors and friends for recommendations. If you start brushing and combing early (about twelve weeks of age) and stay gentle and patient, this will be an enjoyable and healthy experience for you and your pet.
Cats need baths just as humans do because tongues are not adequate cleansing tools. Since the oils come back in the hair and skin within twenty-four hours, bathing could be done as often as necessary, but once every month or two is adequate.
Start bathing your kitten at fourteen weeks of age (sooner if it gets very dirty – just avoid chilling it) so that it will be accustomed to regular baths. The best way to bathe is to make your pet comfortable and to make it a game. No noise and slow motions will ease your job. Before placing your pet in the sink or bathtub, fill it with a small amount of warm water (running water will only scare your pet).
While talking quietly and stroking and petting your kitten, place it in the warm water. Continue the petting motion and wet your pet with a soft spray hose attached to the faucet or use the water in the tub. The same petting and stroking can be used to lather the shampoo (preferably a good pet shampoo or “no-tear” baby shampoo) into the hair coat. It is a good idea to protect the eyes first with a few drops of cod-liver oil or ophthalmic ointment and the ears with a small wad of cotton.
Rinse with a soft spray hose attached to the faucet, still stroking, petting, and talking to your pet. Rinse thoroughly, because dried soap can irritate the skin. A creme rinse or hair conditioner can then be used to make the hair softer and more manageable for combing out. Don’t forget to remove the cotton from the ears!
Towel dry your pet and continue all the ploys you used for the bath. The noise of a hair blow-dryer disturbs most animals, but you can try it later – after your pet is accustomed to baths. Make the whole experience pleasant and playful. A cat treat would definitely be in order after a successful bath. My cats are easy to bathe, although each needs special care. One has to walk around the water continually while we lather him; another must be rubbed on the cheek and talked to while being bathed.
If your cat doesn’t take to bathing, try placing a window screen at an angle in the tub. The cat can cling to the screen, making bathing easier. Holding the cat by the scruff of the neck is also helpful.
Start trimming the nails at twelve weeks of age to accustom your pet to important grooming practices. Long nails can get caught in carpeting, grow into the footpad, or cause your pet to stand improperly. The dewclaw (equivalent to the Numb) does not touch the ground and needs more frequent trimming.
You can trim your cat’s claws with a “human” nail clipper, or with a Resco or white nail clipper. Trim just in front of the pink area, or dermis. which contains nerves and blood vessels. If the nail is dark and the pink area cannot be seen easily, tune a bright penlight through the nail to see where the dermis begins. Otherwise, List trims the nail as it curves clown.
A nail trimmed too short will bleed. Application of a styptic pencil or direct pressure with gauze or a clean cloth will stop the bleeding.
Many owners neglect proper ear care and become aware of its importance when their cat “smells funny.” Then they look in the ear and discover affection.
The wax in the ears should be cleaned once a month (more often if your cat has a history of ear problems). Clean only that part of the ear canal that you can see: otherwise, you may damage the eardrum. Use a cotton swab soaked in mineral oil or alcohol. Wax protects the ear canal, so a small amount left behind is beneficial.
The hair in the ears should not be plucked unless there is so much hair that impedes air circulation. If your doctor feels this is necessary, use your fingers to remove only the hairs that come out easily. Plucking can expose hair follicles to bacteria, so be careful. Some doctors recommend an antibiotic ointment after plucking to prevent infection.
See more: Cat Ears