Cats are furry beasts, for sure. Some cats, such as Persians, can get matted to the point that it becomes a health issue. They need to be groomed daily.
Short haired cats and some other long hairs can get away with less frequent grooming.
On their abdomens, cats have almost 130,000 hairs per square inch, with about half that density on the their backs.
Considering that the human head has about 100,000 hairs total, that's a lot of fur.
If you want a healthier cat, you should help her out with all that fur.
Cat grooming tools not only make it easier to keep your cat's coat looking its best, but regular grooming can help reduce the incidence of hairballs. Here are some essential tools to get the fur out.
A basic set of cat grooming tools will keep your cat's coat in good shape, and includes:
I've seen some recommendations for non-medicated wipes instead of a washcloth. I would caution there that you don't always know what ingredients might make their way into these products.
By some estimates, cats spend up to one-third of their waking lives grooming themselves.
It's one of the first activities that kittens learn from their mothers.
Mutual grooming between cats is a way to get to those hard to reach places (like behind the ears), and is said to be a form of bonding.
Grooming your cat on a regular basis can not only help keep your cat's coat looking great, but also healthier and happier, and improve your bond.
"Grooming is essential for a cat's well-being. It keeps the coat in good condition, removing dead hair and flakes of dead skin; it cleans and separates the growing hairs; it stimulates the circulation; and it helps tone up the muscles... Grooming should start as young as possible and become a pleasurable experience for the cat."
-Encyclopedia of the Cat
By Angela Sayer and Howard Loxton
Grooming is a big and important job, and you can help. Start by putting together your cat grooming tools and using them regularly. Your cat may even groom you back!
Here are some video tips on how to groom a cat.
Nail clipping is also important as the claws can either grow too long, or the dried parts need to be removed. They can also become very sharp and damage furniture, so those claws need to be trimmed.
Some cats really resist this activity, so you can have a groomer or a vet do it. If you do clip your cat's nails, be careful not to cut into the quick as you'll cause your cat pain, and the toe will bleed. If you make a mistake, you can use flour or cornstarch to stop the bleeding.
See this tip from one of our readers on clipping your cat's claws.
If your cat enjoys being groomed, then it's an experience you can both enjoy. On the other hand, some cats will bite, scratch and claw their way out of grooming sessions.
With some, you can get away with a few minutes of grooming. These cats may even seem to enjoy it, it's just that it becomes too much for them. In these cases, you may have to do the job in sections over several sessions.
The best way to overcome resistance to grooming, of course, is to start regular grooming when your cat is a kitten. If your cat won't take to being groomed, however, you may have to resolve to using a professional cat groomer.
If your cat's fur is too badly matted, you may also need a groomer or your veterinarian to take care of the problem. Using clippers to shave the fur should be a last resort.
Excessive Grooming - Some cats become excessive groomers. This may be due to allergies, including food allergies, or allergies to something in the environment. Or, some sort of neurotic behavioral condition may cause a cat to over-groom.
Cats exposed to heavy stress, or those cats who are not happy in their environments may groom themselves to the point of hair loss, skin inflammation, and may even make themselves bleed.
Excessive self grooming can also lead to the production of hairballs. Hairballs in cats can cause health issues, not to mention clean up problems and higher veterinary bills for owners.
Even cats that don't have an excessive habit may get hairballs. Mutual grooming among housemates, or cats with long hair or thick coats may be at fault.
Grooming your cat regularly with the grooming tools listed here can go a long way to preventing this condition.
Note: If your cat is grooming excessively due to a medical or emotional problem, you'll want to address that quickly. Fleas, ear mites, and diseases affecting internal organs may cause excessive scratching or licking of the ears, head, or body. Make sure your cat is checked out by your vet, and check your cat for parasites regularly.
Failure To Self Groom - Most cats are quite fastidious about hygiene. Some cats, however, may fail to groom properly due to illness. Others, for whatever reason, may show a chronic lack of grooming.
Some cat owners have had success stimulating grooming in their cats by bathing and brushing them a few times. Others have done the opposite, and gotten their cats dirty, often placing a dab of food or butter on either a paw or the top of the nose.
If your cat doesn't groom enough, and you can't seem to stimulate that, you'll just have to make sure you take on most of the grooming tasks.
Let your kitty do some of the work with these products: