As almost all cat owners know, there are many benefits to having cats in the home. These sweet, furry creatures provide unconditional love and often put their quirky personalities on display. While cat owners may feel that companionship is one of the best benefits to having these pets by their side, there are other perks, as well.
For instance, cats are a relatively independent, low-maintenance pet. They have their space to go to the bathroom, and they can usually regulate their feeding schedule. They even keep themselves clean with regular baths. However, there are some grooming responsibilities for pet ownersof which to be aware.
The following cat grooming tips will help keep your pet looking and feeling its best.
Brush Your Cat’s Coat Regularly
The fact of the matter is, all cats — regardless of coat length or texture — need to be brushed to maintain a healthy, shiny coat. While the brushing routine may vary based on your cat’s type of coat, you will still realize the same benefits. Consistent brushing helps keep mats at bay, eliminate dirt and dander from the coat, and spread natural oils around the skin.
If you have a short-haired cat, these guidelines will help you establish a brushing routine that works for you and your cat:
• Set aside time once per week to brush your cat. Short-haired cats are less likely to become matted, so you do not need to brush them as frequently as long-haired cats.
• Start by using a metal comb to gently brush the cat’s fur. Begin at the head, and work toward the cat’s tail.
• After completing the brush with the metal comb, use a rubber brush to remove loose hair from the coat. This will also exfoliate dead skin, and help to keep the coat clean.
If you have a long-haired cat, these tips will help you create a brushing routine that is enjoyable and effective:
• Find time every day to brush your cat’s fur. Long-haired cats are much more prone to matting, and brushing should be a high priority.
• Use a metal comb to remove any tangles, mats or knots that have formed on the cat’s belly or legs. The hair is usually longest in these areas, which makes matting much more likely. Daily removal prevents knots from becoming too significant and uncomfortable.
• Then, use a rubber bristle to brush the hair. For long-haired cats, it’s best to brush in an upward motion.
• Be sure to brush the cat’s tail, as well. For best results, make a part down the middle of the tail and brush hair to either side.
• Finish the session by using a small comb or toothbrush to brush the cat’s face. Matting can sometimes occur around the mouth, but this can be a sensitive area, so be as gentle as possible.
While brushing your cat, it’s important to be aware of the signs and symptoms of possible health complications. Be on the lookout for the following:
• Flecks of dirt, raw skin or dried blood, which could indicate fleas or ticks.
• Inflammation or excessively dry skin. This could be a symptom of allergies.
• Lumps or masses on the skin. These issues could be a sign of cancer or other serious health complications.
When brushing your cat regularly, consider this to be a bonding time foryou and your favorite pet.
Clip Your Cat’s Nails Every Couple Weeks
As you likely already know, your cat’s claws can get sharp, and your pet might unintentionally hurt you or someone else, as well as damage household products such as furniture or carpet. To avoid this, trim your cat’s nails at least every two weeks.
Prepare your cat for its at-home pedicure by regularly handling its paws. If you attempt to trim your cat’s nails without ever having touched its paws before, it will likely become scared or stressed. Your cat may evenact out because it feels threatened.
To avoid this, give your cat a gentle paw massage every day or two. Rub the pads of its paws, and gently pet its legs. Once it has become accustomed to this type of touch, it will not be as disturbed when it’s time for nail trimming.
These tips can help you successfully trim your cat’s nails:
• Use a nail clipper or scissors designed specifically for cats. This equipment can be purchased at a pet store or from your veterinarian’s office.
• Gently press on your cat’s paw pads so that the nails extend forward.
• Trim the white tip at the end of the claw that is beginning to curl. Be careful to avoid trimming too close to the nail bed, because you may inadvertently hit the nerve that is located within the nail. This nerve, called the quick, can bleed excessively if hit.
Know When and How to Bathe Your Cat
It’s well-known in the cat parent community that cats typically do not enjoy being immersed in water. For the most part, you will not have to bathe your cat regularly, especially if you have a short-haired cat. However, if your cat gets into a messy, sticky situation or if it needs a medical bath to treat allergies, you may need to bathe your cat at home.
Take these steps to give your cat a bath that it enjoys:
• Place a rubber mat at the bottom of the tub or sink.Fill the tub with only a couple inches of warm water. Be careful not to make the water too hot or cold — a tepid bath is usually most comfortable for cats.
• Gently wet your cat by using a pitcher or spray hose. Try not to startle your cat with too much water too quickly.
• Massage cat shampoo onto your cat’s coat, and rinse thoroughly.
• At the end of the bath, wrap your cat into a warm towel and pat it dry.
In all likelihood, you won’t have to make an appointment at the grooming salon for your cat. However, cat grooming should be an important part of your at-home pet care routine. When you brush your cat’s coat regularly, trim its nails when needed and bathe it properly under the right circumstances, your feline friend is more likely to feel comfortable and happy at all times.
Author bio: Stephanie N. Blahut is Director of Digital Marketing and Technology for Figo Pet Insurance. Figo is committed to helping pets and their families enjoy their lives together by fusing innovative technology — the first-of-its-kind Figo Pet Cloud — and the industry’s best pet insurance plans.