A thorough grooming routine is important for your cat, and it goes far beyond simply brushing her or her fur. Grooming helps you get to know your cat from head to tail and provides an opportunity to spot any injuries or signs of illness that you may not notice otherwise.
In this article, we’re covering 6 steps to include in your cat’s grooming routine so you can ensure your furry friend is in good health while helping him or her look their best.
While your cat’s coat may be low-maintenance, brushing him on occasion is still beneficial- and may even help with shedding. Brushing helps to remove dead skin cells and distribute your cat’s natural oils through his coat. This will help his fur stay nice and shiny. Brushing will also help remove excess fur and prevent tangles in cats with longer coats.
If your cat is averse to being brushed, start with very short sessions to help him get used to it. Use a brush with wide teeth for a cat with long fur prone to tangles, as it will be gentler for your cat. For cats with shorter coats, a grooming mitten is a good tool to start out with. Be patient and in time your cat will likely grow to enjoy being brushed.
When left unattended, cat nails can grow excessively long, and even curve into their paw pads. This is why a consistent trimming routine and access to scratching structures is essential.
Trimming your cat’s nails will help keep him from getting them caught in your furniture, blankets, and other fabric. It will also prevent him from damaging your furniture if he or she is prone to scratching.
If your cat spends a lot of time outdoors, he or she may put their nails to work climbing trees, fences, and other structures, so you never want to cut them too short. Check out our guide to trimming your pet’s nails for tips on how to execute this task successfully.
One area that is often overlooked when it comes to cat grooming is the ears. Your cat’s ears can easily become dirty, causing inflammation, irritation, or even infection. To prevent this, be sure to perform regular ear checks on your cat.
Keep an eye out for redness, swelling, discharge, or irritation. The ears should be odor-free, clear of debris, and pink in color.
Once you’ve inspected your cat’s ears, give them a gentle wipe with a damp cloth, wiping toward the outer edge of the ear. You can use an ear cleanser or just a moistened cloth to clean your furry friend's ears.
Since most cats have a tendency to do their own grooming, you may not think it’s necessary to give your cat a bath. However, some cats can benefit from bathing.
When cats get older and lose flexibility it becomes difficult for them to groom themselves. If this is the case for your cat, you may find that bathing him is the only way to keep his skin and coat healthy and shiny. The same is true for cats who spend a lot of time outdoors. They are more likely to encounter dirt and debris which may need to be washed out of their coats. While your cat may not need frequent bathing, an occasional bath could help keep his or her fur clean and shiny.
Since there are numerous common feline dental conditions, it’s important to check your cat’s mouth and teeth regularly. Inspect his gums for signs of inflammation, redness, or swelling. There should be no visible ulcers, and his teeth should be free of plaque. You should also check for loose teeth and ensure that there is no foul odor.
Brushing your cat’s teeth regularly can help prevent many of the dental diseases that may affect cats. Never use human toothpaste, as it contains ingredients that are toxic to cats. Instead, use a cat-friendly toothpaste that is approved by your vet.
If you’re not comfortable brushing your cat’s teeth, schedule regular dental exams with your veterinarian.
The last step to include in your cat’s grooming routine is an eye check.
Be sure to ensure your cat’s eyes look clear and bright, rather than cloudy, or reddish. The eyes also shouldn’t be watery or have discharge. Additionally, you should also check that the eyelids don’t show any sign of inflammation or irritation.
If your cat’s eyes are experiencing any of the symptoms listed above it could be a sign of allergies, conjunctivitis, or a host of other illnesses. If this is the case, schedule a consult with your vet to determine possible causes and how to treat them.
In addition to offering the opportunity to check in on your cat’s physical health, grooming can be a nice bonding experience for the two of you. Since some of the steps mentioned above won’t be fun for your cat, it may be best to space this routine out over the course of a few days.
For the best success, keep grooming sessions short and sweet. Offer your cat plenty of affection and rewards as you go to keep his or her stress to a minimum. If you make grooming a regular occurrence your cat will become accustomed (and hopefully more cooperative) over time. Better yet? Consider taking out a cat insurance policy for your furry friend.