Grooming your cat isn’t just about helping it look good, it’s an essential part of your cat’s health and well-being. Like humans, cats are healthier when they have good hygiene. Grooming should happen on a regular basis, but it does not have to be a difficult or painful process for you or your cat. It allows you to become familiar with your cat’s body, so you will be able to detect any abnormalities that occur and contact your vet. Grooming includes several different aspects, from brushing your cat’s coat, to brushing its teeth.
Although cats are known for grooming themselves, brushing is still a good idea. It helps prevent hairballs which keeps the digestive tract in better condition, removes dead hair and skin, distributes natural oils in the skin, and helps prevent odor. There are a variety of brushes and combs available depending on the type of coat your cat has. You should brush your cat on a weekly basis, but during shedding seasons you may need to increase it in order to remove excess hair. Brushing is one of the simplest things you can do for your cat, but it’s also one of the most important. It’s also an enjoyable experience for both of you!
Ears are a place where infections can easily develop. Check your cat’s ears on a regular basis to make sure they are a healthy pink color. You can clean them very gently by wiping the outer flap with a cotton ball. Just be careful not to touch any part of the ear that you can’t easily see. If you see any symptoms such as sensitivity to touch or discharge, or if you notice your cat behaving strangely – circling in one direction or continuously shaking and tilting the head – contact your vet immediately. There are also liquid ear cleansers available.
Cleaning your cat’s teeth on a regular basis is very important. About 80% of all three year old cats show some sign of periodontal disease – build-up of plaque and tartar on the teeth – which can lead to gum infection and tooth loss. Such diseases have been linked to illnesses as serious as kidney and heart disease in pets. Consult your vet on how to clean your cat’s teeth at home. You should also ask your vet to perform yearly dental check-ups.
Indoor cats should have their nails trimmed time to time, even if they use a scratching post. Cats' nails are very brittle, so make sure to use clippers designed specifically for cats. Many cats don’t like having their paws touched, but you can help your cat get used to it by touching his paws when you praise him. Even so, nail clipping may be difficult, so try doing just one or two nails at a time. But remember, cat’s nails are attached to a joint, and if you clip too much, you will clip the vein and cause bleeding. If nail clipping proves too difficult, ask us for help. Our groomers can usually accommodate walk-in nail clippings at all but our busiest times.