Grooming Your Cat: Part One

While we all know that our kitty friends spend lots of time making themselves clean and beautiful, it’s also true that they need a little help to make sure they are also healthy as well as clean.

The best tip is to start early, while your cat is young. That way all these things will become just part of the routine. This helps reduce their anxiety and makes grooming sessions easier as they grow older.

Your vet or pet shop owner can point you in the direction of the right tools. Invest in high-quality grooming tools such as a cat brush, comb, nail clippers, and possibly a mat splitter for long-haired cats. Choose tools suitable for your cat’s coat type. Regular brushing will remove loose fur, prevent matting, and distribute natural oils.

Short-haired cats may need brushing once or twice a week, while long-haired cats may require daily grooming. In spring, cats, like other animals, are shedding winter coats (even the indoor ones) so brush often to gather up that ‘kitty glitter.’ Better in your brush than on your floor as hairballs.

Be gentle when grooming your cat, especially around sensitive areas like the belly and tail. Use slow, soothing movements to help your cat feel more comfortable.

Check Ears and Eyes: Regularly inspect your cat’s ears and eyes for any signs of dirt, discharge, or irritation. Clean ears with a veterinarian-approved ear cleaner and a cotton ball.

Know Your Ear Disorders (from the ASPCA website):

  • Ear mites are common parasites that are highly contagious among pets.Telltale signs include excessive itching of the ears and debris that coffee grounds.
  • Ear infections are usually caused by bacteria, yeast or foreign debris caught in the ear canal. Treatment should be sought immediately as ear infections can cause considerable discomfort and may indicate allergies, hormonal abnormalities or hereditary disease.
  • Blood blisters (hematoma) are the result of blood accumulation in the ear flap. They’re often caused by infection, ear mites, fleas or trapped debris that causes your cat to scratch her ears or shake her head excessively.

How can you tell if there is something wrong with one or both of your cat’s eyes? Look for the following:

  • Discharge
  • Watering
  • Red or white eyelid linings
  • Crusty gunk in the corners of the eye
  • Tear-stained fur
  • Closed eye
  • Cloudiness or change in eye color
  • Visible third eyelid
    Otherwise, just wipe around your cat’s eyes gently with a damp cloth.

Part two next week!

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