Grooming Your Shorthaired Cat
Photo provided by Friskies Explorer loupadron.
If you have a longhaired cat you’re probably very familiar with the need for regular grooming. That long hair is gorgeous but in many cat breeds, the hair is prone to tangles and mats. Quick grooming on a daily basis can keep your cat’s coat glossy and mat-free…the envy of all the other cats around!
With a shorthaired cat you may not think there’s a need for grooming but it can actually help improve the look and health of your kitty’s coat. It can also cut down on the amount of hair that gets ingested when kitty self-grooms. Less hair ingested often means less hairballs.
The tools you’ll need for grooming a shorthaired cat can be as simple as a soft natural bristle brush, a flea comb, nail trimmers, a pet toothbrush, pet toothpaste and a few cotton balls. Visit your pet supply store and you’ll find several brush options for shorthaired cats. They vary from ones that look like typical brushes to soft wire brushes (called “slicker” brushes). There are even brushes that help loosen the undercoat. If you choose one of those or one of the wire slicker brushes, you have to use a very light touch. I often recommend that owners run the brush lightly against their own arm to get a feel for how light of a touch is needed. Cats have very sensitive skin and lots of bumps and boney parts and you certainly don’t want to cause any discomfort or pain.
Flea combs are a good tool to have around because the finely-spaced teeth can trap any flea debris. Since cats are such good self-groomers, it’s not unusual for you to never actually see a flea. The only evidence of flea infestation may be seen when you find the flea debris trapped in the teeth of the comb.
Cotton balls are used to gently clean the ears. Don’t use cotton swabs because you run the risk of going too far into the ear canal and potentially damaging the ear drum.
You can help your cat keep those teeth nice and pearly white by brushing them every day. There are multiple pet toothbrushes on the market that vary from the typical style brush to types that slip over your finger. You should be able to find the size and shape that works best for you and kitty. Even wrapping a piece of gauze or a piece of pantyhose around your finger will work. And when it comes to toothpaste, don’t use the kind meant for humans. It will potentially burn the cat’s mouth, esophagus and stomach. Human toothpaste isn’t meant to be swallowed. There are pet-flavored toothpastes available that will actually make the process more enjoyable and safer for kitty.
A quick onceover a couple of times a week and daily tooth brushing can help keep your cat looking great. It also does something else that you might not realize – it’s an opportunity for you to do a health check. As your brush, clean ears and brush teeth, you might be alerted to a potential health problem in the early stages. Perhaps you might find a lump or bump that wasn’t there a week ago, or maybe you notice kitty’s gums look very red, or one of his ears is irritated.
Finally, grooming can be a wonderful opportunity for bonding. If you make the experience pleasant and an extension of petting, many cats look forward to the soothing massage and attention.
Do you groom your cat?