Grooming Your Cat
Regular brushing not only keeps the cat's coat clean, healthy, attractive and mat-free but also enables you to look for any signs of parasites or skin disease. At the same time, you should check the ears, eyes, mouth and claws, together with the anal and genital areas.
For a long-haired cat, a wide-toothed comb and a natural bristle brush is great although you may prefer to use a metal comb on long-haired cats. For a short-haired cat, a rubber brush is best. When brushing, the idea is to be thorough but gentle, especially along the spine and bony regions.
Hang in there when it comes to brushing. Your cat will eventually get better and more tolerant of brushings.
Tisha used to get shaved during the summers, find out more...
If brushing weekly is not enough to prevent mats, it needs to be done more often. Mats are painful to cats.
A formed mat can be removed by isolating it from the other hairs: gently split it into smaller clumps, firmly hold the skin underneath and pull the mat upwards and towards the head, finish by gently combing/brushing the area (do not use scissors unless you are experienced.)
Since most cats basically dislike water, you can expect a lot of resistance and you should be gentle and patient. Here at PurrBalls.com, we feel bathing a cat is a two-person job! One to secure the cat and to keep its head up, the other to do the cleaning, rinsing and drying.
Use only soap recommended for cats, we use a shampoo/conditioner from our vet's. Do not wet above the neck (ears, face, neck) for even a second. There will probably be some splashing and a bit of soapy water could get into their eyes and ears. If you're not comfortable, are afraid to get water in the ears and to avoid irritation to the eyes, put a drop of mineral oil or Vaseline around them. To avoid possible infection from water in the ears, a little cotton in them should keep them dry.
Bathe only in a warm room. Use two tubs, one containing warm soapy water and the other clean warm water. If you have one, use a kitchen sink with a spray attachment. The water should only be to half it's body when sitting down, so that it can stand and move without swallowing or inhaling any. Gently lower the cat facing away from you, the back toward you to avoid clawing, into the soapy water and rub the suds into the fur.
When the cat has been thoroughly rinsed, wrap it in a large bath towel and dry as much as possible. We usually comb gently a little after and use the blow dryer a bit but cats don't usually like blow dryers much! Then, we use another large bath towel and dry some more. The cats get busy drying themselves for the next few hours...
If the ears need to be cleaned, put a small amount of baby oil or a 3% solution of peroxide on a cotton swab, gently rotate without pressure and don't go far or in where you can not see. Never use soap and water inside the ears.
The nails should be clipped every two weeks and this will prevent the cat from wanting to scratch so often. Only use nail clippers intended for cats. An assistant is good to have to secure the cat. Try to relax the cat before a nail clipping session. Speak soothingly and handle the animal gently but firmly. If the cat offers resistance, a verbal NO should bring the situation under control.
Hold each paw to the light, press the pad gently to cause the cat to extend its claws, and cut only the slightest bit, the white or clear-coloured part of the nail. Don't cut the quick which is where the clear colour ends and the nail becomes pink. If the quick is cut, a blood vessel will be cut, resulting in a lot of bleeding. If you should cut into the quick and blood appears, alum powder or a styptic pencil should be used to stop the bleeding. Good eyesight and a firm holding are necessary for nail clipping.
If you are considering having your cat declawed, please read the facts at Declawing.com!
Go to a vet's or animal hospital if you think you can't handle the emergency without causing undo pain and stress on your cat.
Remove tar or engine oil from hairs or paws by applying mineral oil and soaking up the oil with a towel.
To remove chewing gum from hairs or paws, hold a piece of ice on it for a few minutes and break it loose.
Oil-based paints are hard to remove from pet hair when wet, it's best to allow these to dry and then clip the hairs - never use paint removers or thinners.