If you start early enough, kittens and cats love being groomed. Most will even learn to come running when they see the brush in your hand!
Tips on grooming
Kittens are perfectly capable of grooming themselves. Their rough tongues are like mini-brushes, removing dead hair and distributing oils through the coat. However, your kitten will still appreciate a helping hand, especially for example, to remove knots from their coat.
Grooming isn't just about making kittens look good – it removes dead hair, keeps the coat and skin healthy, and offers you an opportunity to build a bond.
Grooming kittens as early as possible will make them used to the experience and easier to manage in the future. How often you should groom will depend on the breed of your kitten.
Short-coated kittens will only need a quick brush once every week, whereas a long coated breed, such as a Persian, will need daily attention.
- Start by putting your kitten on your lap and brushing gently. Praise her for being good in a quiet and soothing tone of voice.
- After just two minutes, stop brushing and stroke her instead. Offer a treat as an extra reward.
- Repeat several times a day, gradually increasing the length of brushing time.
Kittens may take a bit of time to adjust to their grooming routine. After about five days when your kitten is familiar with the sensation of being groomed, start to groom the belly, tail, ears and other sensitive areas. Be extra gentle and keep the initial session very short. If you notice any signs of boredom or agitation, return to grooming the back.
See the PURINA PET LIFE website for more information on grooming brushes and combs for your kitten.
Active healthy kittens rarely need their nails cut as they file their nails outdoors during activities, like climbing trees. However, older or indoor cats will need to have their nails clipped regularly.
Check your cat's nails, especially the back paws, once a week. If they show when the cat is resting – normally the nails would be completely retracted and tucked away – then they will need trimming.
Ask your vet or groomer to show you how to trim nails properly if you are unsure. Never cut them too short!
When you check the nails, also check the paw pads for any cuts or foreign bodies. Check between the toes for any signs of soreness. Contact your vet if you find anything unusual.
While most short-haired cats go through their lives without being bathed, there may be times when they need a quick dip. Long-coated breeds and show cats are bathed quite frequently, so get them used to an occasional warm bath while still young. If you prefer, you can always ask your groomer or vet for help.
- Groom the coat thoroughly so there are no knots. A tangled coat will get 100 times worse when wet.
- Put a rubber mat at the bottom of the sink. You can use the bath, but a sink should be big enough and will save you stooping.
- Half-fill the sink with warm water and attach a nozzle spray to the taps.
- Have your mild cat shampoo and a towel at hand, so everything you need is within reaching distance.
- If you aren’t sure you can cope single-handedly, enlist some help.
- Hold your cat gently but firmly, place in the sink and wet the coat all over.
- Apply the shampoo as instructed and rinse thoroughly.
- Lift the kitten out, wrap a towel around her to remove excess moisture. Finish drying in a warm room.
- Check the water in the sink for any signs of parasites, such as fleas and ticks. If you notice any, both your home and cat may need treating.
- If the coat is very long, it may need blow-drying while brushing it. Your breeder will have included this in the grooming instructions together with any styling details. Keep the dryer away from the skin and on a cool setting, as the skin can burn.
- Don’t let your cat venture outside until the coat is completely dry.
Taking care of your new kitten’s claws, coat and teeth will help to ensure a healthier kitten.
About the Purina PetCare Advice Centre
The Purina PetCare Advice Centre brings together a team with in-depth knowledge, experience and special interests with the skills to advise about health and nutrition, behaviour, training, socialisation, as well as basic first aid for your cat or dog. Our team of dedicated pet lovers can also provide information about Purina products and services to help you give your pet the best possible care. If you've got a question about any aspect of pet care, then ask the Purina PetCare Advice team.