As independent as our feline friends are, they may need a little help with their grooming from time to time. And while certain short-haired breeds will need it less, the thicker her coat, the more you will have to do for your cat to make sure she stays clean and healthy. Here’s a list of things you should be checking on at least a monthly basis (and more often if needed) to assist with your kitty’s grooming habits. [image via flickr]
Combing and Brushing
Neglect your cat’s coat and you can wind up with a matted, greasy mess. Cats do a good job of grooming themselves but they do need help.
A good combing can go a long way toward curtailing these things. Brush her often. If her coat is particularly oily of if you notice any matting, you will want to brush her more. If you don’t see an excess of loose hairs and if her coat is healthy, she may only need it once or twice a week.
Dealing with Matting
The first and most important thing to understand about matting is that it’s not your fault. Even the most well groomed cats can develop mats, especially longhaired breeds. The temptation is to cut them off and let new, healthy hair grow in its place, but that’s not the best solution.
To decrease the risk of accidentally hurting your kitty, put away the scissors and pick up a grooming comb. If your cat is prone to matting, she should be brushed every day and groomed professionally once a month or so.
If you’re doing all of this and not seeing any improvement, your vet should be able to recommend a change in diet, a medicated shampoo or some combination of remedies. Just keep doing what you’re doing and try to keep kitty as comfy as possible.
Above all, shaving should be a last resort. The issue is not with the hair. It’s with your cat’s body chemistry. In all likelihood, you will be dealing with the same problem as soon as the hair starts growing back in.
Weekly clipping of your cat’s claws will help curtail excessive scratching and keep her claws strong and healthy. Just like with dogs, be careful not to cut the quick, as this will result in pain and bleeding. Keep some styptic powder handy should an accident occur.
To Bathe or Not to Bathe
Ask yourself how necessary it really is. If she’s an outdoor cat, you will need to bathe her more often than an indoor cat. Use of a pet shampoo coupled with baby shampoo is the best way to a thorough clean. Use eye drops to protect her eyes from soap and NEVER pour water over her head. It can get in her ears and cause infection.
Like with anything pet-related, if something seems out of the ordinary, do not hesitate to call your vet. You know your cat better than anybody does, so trust your instincts.