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Grooming Your Cat

cat being groomedEven though cats are constantly grooming themselves, they often require a little help from their human companions, particularly the longhairs, such as the Persians. When grooming your cat, I think that it is important to not only concentrate on the coat, but to also pay attention to your cat’s eyes and ears.

Whether your cat is a purebred or of a mixed breed, the key to grooming your cat, lies in the strength of its coat. Those cats that have a very short, single coat such as the Siamese, Burmese and Cornish Rex, require very little grooming. Cats such as American Shorthairs, British Shorthairs and Scottish folds, with dense coats, require grooming on a monthly basis. Semi-longhaired cats such as Maine Coons need to be combed (and bathed if you wish) on a more regular basis. It is those cats such as the Persian breed that have a long coat, that need to be combed at least once every two days and their faces.

This type of cat should also be bathed on a weekly or bi-weekly basis. It is also important to clean the cat’s ears, when undertaking the bathing and grooming process.

The largest grooming obstacle is the coat of a cat, which can fall victim to shedding clumps of matted hair that are of a greasy consistency and stuck to your cat’s coat. These clumps are otherwise known as chunk of cat furmats. Ensure that you comb the cat using gentle strokes from front to back, comforting your cat at all times with a gentle voice. Comb the cat as much as necessary in order to eliminate shreds and knots and to prevent them from building up. Whenever possible, always use combs and brushes that are specifically designed for grooming your cat.

Combs by the name of ‘greyhound combs’ are the best possible type that can be used on longhaired cats. A majority of these combs come with a colored anti-static coating and go through the mats on the coat with ease. Another great brand of comb is that of the ‘Pro Tech Comb’ which can be purchased from a majority of veterinary surgeries and catalogues. The 7.5 inch by one inch comb is the best size to use on longhaired cats that have thick coats. Combs that are 4.5 inches by one inch are great for using on all breeds. These combs are available with fine or coarse teeth.

Your cat can experience mats, even when it is the most well-groomed feline that you have ever known. This is especially common during seasonal shedding. If you find clumps of dry, tangled hair on your cat’s fur, it is recommended that you don't attempt to cut them out. This is of course important as you can quite simply slip and cut the skin of your cat. It is always advised to eliminate the mat by grooming the cat’s coat with a grooming comb.

Using one hand, hold the hair as close to the base as possible, ensuring that you are not directly pulling on the cat’s skin. In the other hand take the grooming comb and use the tip of that comb to pick gently at the mat until it begins to loosen slightly. It can be easily combed out once it has begun to break apart from the coat. This should be repeated when necessary.

As stated above, it is important to check your cat’s eyes. Eye matter can cause a great problem in big-eyed and short-nosed cats. The large eye opening along with the small distance from the tear ducts to the nose in certain cats, results in their being an area for more tears to occur than usual. Rather than the tears falling into tear ducts, they fall directly over the lower eyelids. It is when the tears come into contact with the air that they oxidize, which results in the area below the eyes turning brown in color and creating a substance that is glue-like. This substance needs to be cleaned out in order to keep the area healthy.

Always use a soft washcloth or cotton square which has been dipped in tepid water to undertake this form of cleaning. Wipe your cat’s eyes across the lower eyelid with the damp cloth whilst holding her head. Always ensure that you do not directly rub the eyeball. Allow the moisture to soften the matter in the eyes and then return to wipe the eyes again. Ensure that each time you rub the eye of the cat you use a clean piece of cloth.

When bathing your cat, it is always advised to use the kitchen sink or bathroom basin. Ensure that you place a non-slip mat on the bottom of the sink or basin to prevent the cat from slipping. If your cat normally wears a collar, then remove this before bathing.

It is imperative to use shampoos that are designed specifically for cats, as human shampoo can irritate the skin. Ensure that the water is not too hot or cold, it should generally be the same temperature as your cats body temperature. Wet the coat thoroughly before adding the shampoo. Talk to the cat at all times to reassure it and keep it calm. Shampoo firstly along the back and neck area, avoiding the eyes and then work your way over the entire body.

Once the cat has been washed all over, then proceed to rinse off all of the shampoo. Gently squeeze the coat to get rid of most of the water, then proceed to pat the cat with a soft towel. If your cat will tolerate a hairdryer, then of course this is the quickest way to dry it. Once the cat is completely dry, then comb through the coat once again, which will remove any hairs that were missed before bathing.

Grooming your cat should be done on a regular basis in order to keep its coat glossy and healthy.

{this article was written for Freddie and is approved by him}

Photographs
top copyright and By *B.G. Lewandowski*
second down copyright and by yajico
third down copyright and By Bonnie and Victor Cats
bottom copyright and by ChrissieWiz

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