Grooming should be an essential part of your
cat’s life. If you begin when she is young, she
will become accustomed to grooming early in life and it will be easier
to groom her as she matures. She may resist at first, but
will soon come to enjoy the extra holding and petting you give during
For longhaired cats, a long-toothed metal
comb and a stiff brush are best. First your should manipulate
the hair coat against the way it lays so it is fluffy then brush in the
direction of hair growth. Brush shorthaired cats with a soft
rubber brush or hand mitt with short bristles. Longhaired
cats should be brushed daily and shorthaired cats at least once or
twice a week; to help control your cat’s shedding and help
A cat sheds to a certain degree all year long, but especially in the
spring and fall. Brushing is particularly important during
these seasons to help rid your cat’s coat of dead
hair. A sleek, lustrous coat reflects the good nutrition and
careful good care you give her. Make sure you have your
grooming supplies ready when you first get your cat so she can become
accustomed to them.
Cats usually do an excellent job of grooming
themselves, but even the neatest cat can fall victim to troublesome
hairballs. You may one day see him vomit a long, dark mass
– commonly called a hairball – made up of hair your
cat has ingested. Forming in your cat's stomach and
intestine, hairballs can cause dehydration, weight loss, and intestinal
obstruction, as well as hinder digestion and elimination. Signs or
symptoms of hairballs include loss of appetite, chronic vomiting,
sluggishness, and constipation. Both long and shorthaired cats can have
hairballs and the best solution is prevention. You can help
prevent or eliminate hairballs and shedding by careful and regular
brushing and combing of your cat's coat.
If hairballs continue to be a problem,
remedies are available from your veterinarian and from most pet
shops. There are some all natural hairball remedies you can
try. Olive oil is said to help with hairballs. You
can put 1/2 a tsp of olive oil in your cat's food dish. Some
people recommend oily fish to prevent hairballs in their
cats. Another trick is to put a small amount of petroleum
jelly on the tip of your cat's nose and allow them to lick it off their
nose. You may find this odd, however, the active ingredient
in in petroleum jelly is petrolatum, which is actually the same active
ingredient in many of the over the counter hairball remedies available
in pet stores. If you have any concerns please consult your
veterinarian before trying these natural hairball remedies.
An indoor cat’s claws may become
torn and ragged and require clipping. A scratching post will
help to keep them in good repair and minimize or eliminate the need for
your intervention. Never use scissors to trim your
cat’s claws. Use special cat clippers.
Here is how to clip your cat's claws. Hold the
cat’s paw up to a strong light so you can clearly see the
quick – the sensitive pink part of the nail you want to
avoid. Gently squeeze your cat's paw to extend the nail and
remove only a small portion of the white outer nail. Make
sure you hold the nail trimmer perpendicular to the nail. If
in doubt have your veterinarian show you how to cut the nail or have
them do it.
Your cat’s permanent teeth emerge
between 14 and 30 weeks of age. The most common dental
problem affecting these permanent teeth is the buildup of plaque,
leading to deposits of a hardened calculus on the tooth
surface. Left unchecked, this calculus can eventually cause
inflammation of the gums and the lining of the tooth socket.
And without proper treatment, the teeth eventually loosen and fall out.
To prevent this, try cleaning your
cat’s teeth on a regular basis. Gently wipe the
outer surface of his teeth with a gauze pad dipped in a paste made of
baking soda and water. Never use toothpaste formulated for
humans – cats could ingest it and digestive upset could
result. Also, tartar is less likely to develop if your cat has crunchy
dry cat food to chomp on. Regular dental examinations
conducted by a veterinarian also are recommended.
Most cats do not like baths and under most
circumstances, you will not need to bathe her. Cats
don’t really need baths unless they have managed to get into
some sort of trouble or are seriously infested with fleas.
Kittens under 6 months of age are extremely susceptible to illness and
should be bathed only if absolutely necessary. Always use a
shampoo made especially for cats. Since cats clean their
coats by licking, it’s possible they could groom off
chemicals that have been applied.
If it becomes necessary to bathe your cat,
follow this procedure: Gently and loosely place cotton in
your cats ears and a drop of mineral oil in each eye to prevent water
from entering and causing infection. Fill 2 wash tubs with
about 4 inches of warm water – make sure it feels comfortable
to your elbow. Place your cat slowly and gently into the bath
and bathe her with cat shampoo, working from head to tail.
Rinse him thoroughly in the other tub, and then wrap him in a
towel. Finally, dry her with a hair dryer set on warm (if he
is not scared of the dryer otherwise use a towel). Keep her
away from drafts until completely dry.
Special Grooming Problems
- Gum, tar or other sticky
substances: Remove by rubbing in a little mineral
oil. If this doesn’t work, cut the affected area
out with a scissors. Be cautious not to cut too closely to
your cat’s skin.
- Water-based paint:
Wash the affected area immediately with soap and water.
- Oil-based paint:
Wipe fresh paint off with a dry cloth and then wash with warm water and
soap. Dried paint should be cut off with scissors.
Be cautious not to cut too closely to your cat’s
Never use paint remover, kerosene or gasoline since they can severely
irritate the skin.