Grooming your cat
Cats are famously mindful of their own grooming without needing encouragement from anyone. However, getting involved in your cat’s grooming helps strengthen the bond between you and provides a chance to check for any signs of ill health.
Find out how to give your cat a bath.
Cats rarely need to be bathed, only when they are very dirty or have a medical need, such as being near toxic sprays, oils, etc. Here's how to make the experience enjoyable for both of you:
If your cat finds bathing frightening, he or she may hiss or bite. Be careful with cat bites as they are notorious for causing infections so you should seek medical advice if you do get bitten. Reassure and praise your cat throughout. Distraction with food treats might be helpful.
Buy a specialist cat or kitten shampoo, and ensure it is a mild all-rounder without harsh chemicals or perfumes. Never use human shampoo as this is not suitable for cat hair and skin, due to a difference in pH level.
You can use a large plastic bucket, or a bath lined with a non-slip floor mat. Fill the tub with warm water with just enough water to wash your cat and put your cat in.
Provide a surface for your cat to grab onto with their claws, or you may find yourself grappling with a wet cat.
Apply a small amount of shampoo, making sure none gets in your cat's ears or eyes. Then lather up, right down to the tail, not forgetting the underside and neck. You may find it helps to remove your cat from the water onto a towel beside the sink while you lather and give you cat a little time to calm.
With a shower nozzle or jug of warm water, rinse your cat thoroughly, avoiding the eyes and inner ears. Use your hands to help the soap run off.
After soaping and rinsing; your cat will want to vigorously shake off the excess water. Allow your cat to rub, shake and roll.
Then rub your cat from head to toe with a towel and remove from the tub.
If you have more than one cat, this may be a time when inter-cat conflict breaks out. Separate your bathed cats until calm returns, then rub all cats with the same towel to distribute and normalise the scents.
Dry your cat or cats in a warm room, and do not allow them outdoors until completely dry.
- Grooming is actually more than your cat making him or herself look good!
- Grooming not only stimulates the circulation and improves muscle tone, but also minimises hairballs in the stomach by removing loose hairs. Grooming also smooths down the fur so that it insulates the body more efficiently. It stimulates the glands at the base of the hairs which waterproof the coat. In hot weather, licking spreads saliva which cools your cat as it evaporates; grooming also spreads sebum across the coat.
- Make grooming part of your cat's regular routine. Introduce grooming while your cat is still a kitten, and he or she will become used to it. Grooming will not only enable you to spot external parasites and skin wounds, and help keep fur off your sofa, you'll also spend quality time, bonding with your pet.
- Here's how to groom:
- For shorthaired cats, use a fine-toothed metal comb weekly, and a natural-bristle or rubber brush to remove any dead hairs.
- Gently brush or comb your cat's hair, using strokes in the direction that the hair grows.
- Use the bristle brush to sweep up the coat in the direction of the head, then smooth it down again.
- For longhaired cats, groom daily with a steel comb.
- Any knots can be teased out with your fingers, or cut off carefully with blunt-ended scissors. Alternatively, you may want to get your vet to do this as it is very easy to cut the skin.
- If grooming is a struggle, hold a food treat under his or her nose, and stroke your pet with your hand. Talk to your cat reassuringly, then gently start to groom while he or she is interested in the food.
- Most cats get used to grooming, and enjoy it.
- What Are Your Cats Trying To Tell You? (Part 1) Just like us, cats have their own unique way of communicating. Learning to interpret their body language will lead to an even better relationship language between you and your cats. Not only will you understand their needs, but by responding appropriately, you'll help your cats feel happy and secure. In this article, Dr. Pru Galloway helps us to understand some curious kitty characteristics and explain why they might happen.
1. You have one cat who seems to fight a lot with your other cat. He jumps on her and lightly bites her, but the other stays still and accepts it. This silent behaviour is actually acknowledgement by your other car, or the aggresor's dominance. They are play fighting, but the message of dominance is very real.
2. Your cats often walk up to each other and sniff each other's rear ends. Don't be alarmed. Cats have a strongly developed sense of smell and are sometimes attracted to the rear end by scents from the anal gland or faeces. It is simply investigatory behaviour that is entirely normal to your cat. There are various theories as to why they "investigate" each other in this way, but it appears to be a phenomone-based way of identifying their fellow species.
3. One of your cats miaowa to be let out, but after you open the door, he just stands on the doorstep wagging his tail from side to side. Be patient, this means you might need to wait a while for your cat to make up his mind. Unlike their canine companions, feline tail wagging is usually a sign of conflict. It could also be a warning that your cat is becoming impatient. For example, if you're cuddling him and he starts to wag his tail, it makes good sense to put him down as he's telling you he's had enough. Failure to do so may result in a scratch.