Tips for Grooming Cats - Bathing, Brushing, & More
It's very important to groom your cat as it promotes good hygiene and health. By creating a regular grooming routine, your cat will be more comfortable with the regular grooming processes such as getting a bath, having it's coat brushed, getting his ears and eyes cleaned, having his toe nails trimmed, and brushing his teeth.
These are simple steps that we take daily to ensure our own health, so why not implement some of these techniques to keep our pets just one step healthier.
Shampoo for Cats
Waterless Baths for Cats
Generally, cats don't like water, so you want to make sure that you introduce your cat to water as a kitten, otherwise bathing your cat can be a very stressful process for you and the cat.
You don't want to bathe the cat all the time, as typically cats are pretty clean animals and are self-cleaners, but the occasional bath will help reduce greasy and dirty coats.
You want to experiment with different shampoo brands before you decide on the one that works best for your cat. The general rule is to stick with all natural shampoos that are cat and kitten specific, meaning you don't want to use your shampoo or a dog shampoo on your cat.
As for bathing your cat, you can follow the simple steps below.
- Start by filling your sink with lukewarm water. You want the sink about half way filled before putting your cat in the water.
- Use a clean cup to pour the clean water over your cat's body. Try to avoid getting water in your cat's eyes and ears, and never pour the water over your cat's head. Make sure that your cat's coat is completely saturated.
- Use a small dab of shampoo and lather the cat's coat. You want to make sure that you get deep into the roots, especially if your cat has a greasy coat.
- Leaving your cat in the sink, drain the dirty water and refill the sink with lukewarm water. Scoop the water onto the cat's coat, and keep rinsing until you are positive that there's not any residue left.
- Empty the sink and refill it with clean water as needed.
Although it is optional, you can add the conditioner to your cat's coat at this time, and re-rinse the coat.
You may also consider mixing up a half a cup of vinegar with 2 quarts of water to remove any residue from your cat's fur, and again rinsing with lukewarm water.
You want to make sure to towel dry your cat so that he's not running around soaking wet, as this can potentially increase risks of a cold. Yes, cats can get colds. :-)
Brushes and Combs for Cats
Brushing Your Cat
Whether you've just bathed your cat or you're just trying to help aid shedding and mats, you'll want to use a good brush or comb, and depending on your cat's coat type, the type of brush or comb that you want to be different.
For long haired and thick coated cats, you may consider using a Greyhound comb, as they tend to go through matts pretty easily. You can usually fine two different sizes of Greyhound combs- the 7.5" and the 4.5" x 1" tooth- you'll want to purchase the 7.5" comb.
Slicker brushes are great to use for medium coated cats, and you can use rubber brushes for short haired cats.
The FURminator works wonders for thick coated cats that have a terrible shedding problems. The brush weeds out all loose hairs so that they don't fall all over your house.
De-shedding combs work well for medium and short haired cats to help alleviate shedding concerns.
Combing Through Matts
Matts are generally the result of improperly groomed cats and cats, especially during shedding season. They're typically the concern of longer haired cats.
You'll want to use the Greyhound Comb to work out a matt. Never clip matts with scissors as you can accidently slip and cut your cat's skin instead.
To work out a matt in your cat's fur, you want to hold the fur as close to the base as you can without pulling on the hairs, and using the comb with the other hand, pick at the matt gently. It will start to loosen and break apart, which will allow you to easily comb through the matt.
Other Cat Grooming Tools
Cat Ear Cleaner
Cleaning Your Cat's Ears and Eyes
Cleaning the Eyes
For cats with shorter muzzles and larger eyes, you may run into more tearing than usual. Usually, what will happen is the tears spill over into the lower eyelids instead of pooling into the tear ducts; when the tears come into contact with air, they turn brown, which stains the are below the eyes and creates a stick substance that can become uncomfortable for the cat.
You can use a washcloth or cotton ball soaked in lukewarm water to gently soften the eye gunk. Then go back and gently wipe the again with a clean cotton ball or clean area of the wash cloth to remove it
Cleaning the Ears
You want to use a pet safe ear cleaning solution. Soak a cotton ball in the solution and gently rub away large pieces of debris and dirt from the outer portion of the ear.
Then use a moistened Q-tip to remove the debris that's in-between the cartridge of the ear. Do not put the Q-tip down the cat's ear, try to stay just between the folds of the cartilage.
The tip is that you can always see the end of the Q-tip or cotton ball.
Trimming Your Cat's Nails
It can be a pain to trim your cat's nails, but it is a great alternative to removing the claws. Keeping your cat's nails kept short will potentially help protect your furniture, as your cat will not feel the need to scratch to trim his own nails.
When trimming your cat's nails, you want to, again start young, as it can be a stressful process.
You want to hold the cat between your body and less dominant arm. Use that arm to hold the cat's foot steady, and using your index finger, push on the center of the paw to push out your cat's nails
Using your more dominant hand, take the nail clippers and trim off the tip of the nail that curves down. You want to avoid clipping the quick, so if the nails are black just trim a little bit off the nail at a time.
- You may want to consider purchasing Quick Detecting nail clippers if the majority of your cat's nails are black.
- If you accidentally clip the quick, use a styptic pen or flour to stop the bleeding.
Cat Dental Chews
Brushing Your Cat's Teeth
Like brushing your own teeth, it's good hygiene to brush your cat's teeth as well. It will help prevent plaque buildup and gum disease. This is a grooming process that, again, you want to start young; by creating a regular routine your cat will be less fussy when it's time to brush his teeth.
You want to purchase an all natural toothpaste formulated for cats. Like the shampoo, you don't want to use your toothpaste or a dog toothpaste for your cat. There are severe brands that offer poultry and fish flavor toothpastes, which your cat should acclimate better to.
If it's your cat's first time at brushing his teeth, you can prepare him by dipping your fingers into tuna water or some other flavored liquid that you cat will like. You'll want to gently rub his gums and teeth; repeat this for a few days before introducing the toothbrush.
An option step to get your cat used to the feeling of something in his mouth, would be to wrap your finger in gauze that you've put the flavored liquid on.
Once you've worked your way up to the toothbrush, whether it be a finger brush or a regular toothbrush, you'll want to let your cat lick the toothpaste off the tip. Then rub a little on your cat's gum line using your finger.
Once your cat is used to that, you'll want to use the toothbrush. You want to brush a few teeth at a time, adding more teeth as your cat become comfortable with the process. Start with the front teeth and gradually move back. You want to rub in a gentle circular motion.
Stop the sessions before your cat gets fussy.
And a good tip is to hold the cat or have someone else hold the cat, as I highly doubt he's going to just sit there while you try to brush his teeth.