Attention Cat Parents! Here are 5 Tips on How to Groom a Cat

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Fluffy Cat laying in sofa

Luckily, cats are very clean animals by nature. You’ve likely noticed that yours constantly grooms itself throughout the day. While our cats can take care of themselves, for the most part, they need a little help from their owners. As a cat parent, you should know how to groom a cat to keep Mittens in top shape!

To keep your cat happy and healthy, in this article, we’ll go over some of the best tips for how to groom your cat.

Before we get started, keep in mind that cats can be particular and stubborn creatures. Have plenty of patience and bring a positive attitude into each grooming session. Keep these grooming sessions short at first until your cat adjusts to the routine and make sure to dole out lots of praise and treats after a session.

Brushing

This is perhaps one of the easier grooming practices for your cat. It’s something easy that can be done while you are just relaxing or watching TV, and many cats actually enjoy being brushed.

Wondering how to groom a longhaired cat? Well, if your cat has particularly long hair, you should brush them once a day. Regardless of hair length, regularly brushing your cat can be beneficial for:

  • Removing dirt particles
  • Getting rid of and preventing tangles
  • Keeping skin free of irritants
  • Spreading natural oils through her/his coat
  • Preventing hairballs

Before brushing, you should do a quick check for any skin problems. Your cat should be absent of wounds, bald patches, unusual bumps, and signs of ticks and fleas.

Start by using a metal comb, carefully brushing from head to tail. Working along the natural lie of your cat’s fur will ensure that the session is comfortable. Concentrate on one section at a time to effectively remove tangles and dead hair.

Make sure you get all parts of their body and use extra care when brushing the belly and chest. If your cat’s hair is prone to knotting, try using talcum powder, a mat-splitter, and even your fingers to make the process easier.

ginger kitten having a cat grooming session

Cutting Nails

Although you might want to avoid it at all costs, cutting your cat’s nails is a very important grooming practice. If your cat’s nails get too long, they’ll start to curl inwards and become very uncomfortable. Plus, long nails can scratch people and tear up furniture, unless they have a cat scratching post that they use.

Your cat likely isn’t accustomed to you touching their feet. Before you even touch a pair of clippers, try rubbing your hand up and down their leg. Gradually work your way to their feet and gently press each toe. Reward them with lots of praise and treats.

If you establish this daily foot massage routine, your cat will likely accept nail clipping within a couple of weeks. How to groom a cat with stress-free nail clipping sessions:

  • Gently squeeze the top of the foot and the cushion-y pad underneath. This will allow their claws to extend.
  • Use sharp nail cutters to trim the white tip, right before where the nail starts to curl.
  • Be sure not to clip the pink part of their claws. This is called the quick, a vein that actually runs into the nail.
  • If you accidentally clip into this area, it might bleed. If this happens, apply a little styptic powder to control the bleeding.

How to Groom a Cat Has A Lot to Do With Keeping Paws Healthy

While you’re already handling their feet when trimming nails, it’s a good idea to clean their paws. Wipe them down with a damp towel to remove any dirt or harmful substances. This will keep them from ingesting anything they shouldn’t be along with preventing pain and irritation. Make sure your floors and other surfaces are free of anything that might cause harm to your cat’s paws.

Regularly examine your cat’s paws for any unusual signs. Treat any small cuts, remove debris or splinters, and take note of any infection symptoms. If your cat is obsessively grooming their paws or limping, investigate the issue and take them to a vet if needed.

Remember that your cat’s paws are very sensitive. Treat them with a quality, safe moisturizing product and be mindful during extreme weather. Don’t let your cat walk on hot patios, freezing sidewalks, or other similarly uncomfortable surfaces.  

Cleaning Teeth

By paying attention to and taking care of your cat’s teeth, you can prevent some serious dental issues. During regular home check-ups, do the following:

Have your cat face you. Gently push back their lips and look inside. Their gums should be pink and firm, and teeth should be clean and free of brown tartar. If you notice red, white, or swollen gums, or broken or loose teeth, take your cat to see a veterinarian.

To brush your cat’s teeth at home, do the following:

  • Slowly introduce your cat to cat toothpaste and the idea of having her mouth touched.
  • Use a toothbrush specifically meant for cats, as the bristles are softer and easier to brush with. There are even brushes that you can wear over your finger.
  • Gently brush her teeth and gums using a small circular motion. 

cat opening mouth showing its clean teeth

Bathing

As previously mentioned, your cat can stay relatively clean through self-grooming. Many cats can get away with never bathing, and most only need baths once or twice a year.

Still, knowing how to bathe your cat can be a lifesaver. If you ever notice that their coat is oily and greasy, or that they’ve gotten into something smelly or sticky like a dirty litter box, you’ll be prepared.

Brush your cat prior to bath time to remove loose hair and tangles. Place them in a tub filled with about 3 inches of lukewarm water, and consider using a rubber bath mat to provide good footing.

Use a hose or large plastic container to thoroughly wet your cat. Avoid spraying directly in their ears, nose, and eyes. Work a quality cat shampoo into the coat, gently massaging from head to tail. Rinse out the shampoo, again avoiding their ears, nose, and eyes.

Dry your cat off with a towel and be sure to offer plenty of praise and treats! All grooming sessions can be difficult, but you might find bathing to be particularly difficult. Remember that many cats despise baths, so just have patience and enlist someone to help you out.

Keep these tips on how to groom a cat in mind, and your cat will thank you for it!

cat paw with nails

Author Bio: Jackie Johnston is the founder of Cat Word – a community of cat enthusiasts with a mission to spread as much knowledge as they can throughout the world on every aspect of raising and nurturing cats! In her spare time, Jackie loves reading and spending time with her two sons Logan and Christopher, and of course with their furry felines Simba and Max.

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