It’s common knowledge that cats are more than capable of grooming themselves, yet they also need some extra brushing from their owners. Medium and long haired cats will need brushing every day or two, while short-haired cats can be brushed weekly.
Grooming your cat will improve circulation and stimulate your cat’s natural oils to promote a healthy, shiny coat. And the more loose hair you brush out, the less you’ll have to clean from around the house.
On the health front, brushing will help prevent furballs, which can cause vomiting and stomach upsets. It’s also a great opportunity to check for skin irritations, wounds, ticks and fleas.
The best thing about regular grooming is the quality time you’ll spend together.
Most cats love to be brushed and will express their pleasure with an enthusiastic purr. It’s best to get into a grooming routine as soon as possible, ideally when they’re still a kitten.
Never restrain or force a cat to be brushed – it needs to be a positive experience for you both. If she needs some encouragement, her favourite food will work a treat. Start slowly by patting her, then alternate each pat with a gentle brush. Then gradually introduce more brush strokes until she’s comfortable.
How to groom a cat
Brush slowly in the direction of your cat’s hair growth. For long haired cats, carefully tease out any knots or matting with your fingers. If your cat is heavily matted, you may need to cut out the knots with scissors. Be very careful to avoid touching the skin. If you don’t feel confident, contact your vet who should be able to help.
To check for fleas and other parasites, slowly brush in the opposite direction of the hair growth so you can see your cat’s skin. Move from section to section until you’ve covered the entire cat. This can be done over a couple of sessions.
The best grooming tools
There are a variety of brushes and combs available, so what you choose is dependent on the length of your cat’s coat.
For short haired cats, use a soft bristle brush and fine-tooth flea comb. Medium and long haired cats will need more attention, so it’s best to use a long bristle brush, a wide-tooth comb and a fine-tooth comb – in that order.