All cats need to be groomed – whether they are short or longhaired.  

Some cats will readily take to this, as it is part of their hedonistic nature.  But for some, they will not enjoy the experience and an extra special effort will have to be made to help them overcome their fears or displeasure.

 

Grooming improves skin tone, gets rid of any debris in the fur and prevents matting. This should be done at least once a week with a good quality brush or wide-toothed comb. For longhaired cats, it is essential that they be groomed once a day to prevent build up of matted fur.

To begin with, your cat needs to associate being groomed with a treat, so start by giving it a few gentle brushes and if it stays calm, give it a savoury treat. Gradually lengthen the grooming time, giving a treat when it is well behaved. Do not give a treat if your cat is fractious, as it will associate this behaviour with a reward.

If your cat has tangled fur, which can be difficult to brush or comb out, you may have to take it to the vet who can clip out any matted fur so you can begin the grooming process, tangle-free, from scratch – and this might make your cat more amenable.

Grooming your cat will also help it bond with you and ideally, grooming should begin within a few days of the cat coming to live with you. Allow it a day or so to settle in to your routine and then build a few minutes a day for grooming. When it becomes used to being groomed, then you can build a longer period so that it is a gentle process, which isn’t hurried or rushed. Try to do it when you are least likely to be disturbed and always talk to your cat as you are brushing or combing it.

Always brush or comb the fur in the direction of growth and never tug at any matted bits but gently try to comb out the ends, slowly working your way down to the denser fur. If your cat wriggles or tries to move away – let it because you don’t want it to associate pain or discomfort with you – this could set up further problems.

There are many products available from good pet stores to help with your grooming routine. You may want to use an old towel to stand your cat on while you gently work, or the cat may prefer to sit on your lap. Between you, you’ll find the way that works best for the both of you so that your cat gets the full benefit. 

You will be rewarded with a more relaxed cat with a lovely silky – matt free – coat!  And when you show your cat the brush or comb you use, you may find that it rushes over to you because it remembers the pleasant sensation of being groomed!

© Pauline Dewberry April 2006




 

 


A Cats Prayer

Lead me down all the right paths,
Keep me from fleas, bees, and baths.
Let me in should it storm,
Keep me safe, fed, and warm.

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