Originally published Feb 1, 2010
CAT GROOMING AND MAINTENANCE By Joan Wheeler
Cat Grooming Help: As a cat groomer for many years, Joan Wheeler, loves to help cat owners avoid having to take their cat to the grooming shop because going to the groomer can stress your cat. Joanne gave her tips on proper cat grooming as well as cat grooming brushing below.
A lot of people think that a shorthaired cat does not require any brushing or maintenance, and that they do not shed very much. This statement simply is not true. There are some great tips for maintaining your cats whether they are short haired, or have long hair that you can do at home and save a trip to the shop.
Cat Grooming Help TIP #1
Short haired cats need to be groomed everyday or at least every other day. This does not take very much time to do, and it will cut down on the shedding in your home and helps keep hairballs down too. First, you’ll want to purchase a tool that groomers love to use which is called a “unigroom”. It is totally made of rubber and has rubber spikes on it, and it can be found at almost any pet store. The unigroom costs less than ten dollars. Once you use it on your cat you will be amazed how much hair comes off!
Cat Grooming Help TIP #2
Clean your cat’s ears. Wet a cotton ball with alcohol and just swab out the ear. You don’t go down very far, and this is something you can do once a month. If you see your cat shaking his or her head, and scratching his or her ear on a regular basis, this would be the time to see your vet as it could be a sign of mites or some other problem.
Cat Grooming Help TIP #3
Clip your cat’s nails. You can also purchase small clippers at the pet store and it’s easier than you think. If you’re not comfortable doing this by yourself, get a friend to hold your cat for you. It’s best to hold the paw and gently press each toe so the nail extends, then look for where the pink part of the nail is and only cut up to that part. Do not clip any further or you will cut the quick and the nail will bleed. If that happens, you can always use flour to stop the bleeding. So just be sure to cut close to the pink but not to close.
Cat Grooming Help TIP #4
Brush your cat’s teeth. It might be crazy, but would you go through life without ever brushing your teeth? The pet stores have different tooth brushes, and they even have ones that you put on your fingertip which work really well. You must also get toothpaste especially made for cats. You cannot use human toothpaste at all. If you do, you will have to make a trip to the vet. It is very important to brush your cat’s teeth to help prevent periodontal disease which many cats get. If they a cat gets periodontal disease, she or he will have to go to the vet, and be put under and usually have teeth extracted. This is very costly, so all the more reason to avoid it. It may be hard to do at first, but keep trying every day and eventually the cat will get used to it, and they do like the taste of the toothpaste so it will get easier.
Cat Grooming Help TIP #5
This tip is dedicated to long haired cats. All of the tips above are the same for long haired cats as well. However, a long haired cat is different because they need to be combed. You can purchase a comb that has a large end and a smaller end for this job. Do not use a brush for cats with long hair because all a brush does is brush the top coat and does not get any of the undercoat out. The undercoat must be removed to prevent the cat from getting matted.
Grooming Matted Cat Fur
Once a cat does get matted, you will have to go to the groomer to get the cat shaved which is a traumatic experience for the cat. Additionally, a lot of groomers will not even groom cats because they are very hard and uncooperative. And if you choose to shave a mat out of your cat yourself, that’s okay if it is a small one but you have to be very careful because a cat’s skin is so thin it cuts very easily. You can get out small mats simply by using the large end of the comb and hold your cats skin where the mat is and comb it out. Most cats love to be combed, and you will find that you will make a special bond with your cat by keeping up with the maintenance just like you would a little child. It also makes the cat feel better, and cuts down on the cat hair in your home, saves a trip to the groomer, and can help with hairballs your cat may get. If you do not get out the undercoat, they will certainly try to do it themselves!
Cat Grooming Help TIP #6
Bathing your cat. This can be a daunting task even for the most experienced groomer, yet it can be done. Some groomers have special cages that they put the cat in and it is only big enough for the cat to turn around in. This special cage is on legs, has a lid that locks and is placed in a bathtub so that the groomer can easily get the cat into the bath. It prevents groomers from getting clawed or bitten because they also have to use the dryer on the cat to get the cat dry. Cats do not like water and certainly aren’t fans of dryers, either. Joan doesn’t even recommend giving cats a bath unless it’s a situation where they have fleas, or got skunked, or got into something that had a horrible smell.
But for the cat owners who do want to bathe their cat, you might first invest in a harness. This helps control the cat without having something around their neck that could strangle them. You might also consider having a helper too if your cat is uncooperative. Have several glasses of clear warm water on hand for rinsing, and do it in the sink. That way you would have a sprayer to help with the rinse if your cat isn’t afraid of the noise. You can try to use a blow dryer to dry your cat after towel drying if the cat will let you. It takes several hours for a cat to dry on its own so get as much water off as you can. They will also lick a lot after a bath so make sure you only use shampoo that is made for cats. You cannot use human shampoo!
Cat Grooming Help TIP #7
Baby wipes and cat grooming help. If you do not want to give your cat a full bath, you can always use baby wipes, but make sure they are the kind that is unscented. Do not use any that have perfume or any scent on them at all. Your cat will lick their fur and if it is scented, this could cause them to get an upset tummy and that is not good for the cat.
Joanne had the following information to add about Ragdoll cats and grooming:
“The best tip of all is if you want a low maintenance cat, the Ragdoll is the perfect cat to get. They tolerate everything so well due to their laid back personality. They are so easy to groom, and they are a groomers dream! When I started grooming cats, I would practice on my own Ragdoll and she was so good it was unbelievable! I wish all cats were like her because most cats are not that cooperative! She let me do anything to her and she loved me anyway! So if you are looking for a cat and you have a busy lifestyle, getting a Ragdoll is the best advice I could give to you. You would not be disappointed. They are low maintenance, loveable, beautiful, loyal, great with everyone, and in my opinion the best breed there is.”