Look Good, Feel Great: Grooming your Cat
Grooming your cat is the ideal way to bond with them, as most cats we know love to be pampered! It's also the ideal way to keep an eye on their overall health and wellbeing. While cats are very clean animals, a little help from you will make sure the risk of hairballs and fleas are kept to a minimum, and allow you to check the health of the skin and coat. You'll find that most cats get used to the process relatively quickly, although nervous cats might need a little more coaxing - have a chat with one of our in-store supervisors if you're having difficulty getting into a routine.
As well as regular grooming at home you may need to take you cat to a professional grooming salon, especially if they are long haired, as specialists will be trained to carry out a more thorough grooming routine. You'll find our Groom Room salons in many of our branches - just click on the store locator to find one closest to you.
Regular combing and brushing removes dead hairs and helps to keep the skin and coat in tip top condition. Start by combing through the fur, using a fine comb for shorthair cats and a thicker comb for longhair breeds. Start at the head, and work your way down the body in sections, following the direction of the hair. Troublesome knots and mats should be gently combed through, or cut off using a pair of trimming scissors. Once you've done this, go through again with a fine flea comb to help deal with any pests.
After combing and trimming the coat, make your way through the fur with a soft brush, again starting at the head and working down in sections. If your cat tends to get impatient, you could also use a grooming glove - this is just like stroking your cat, but the glove has short bristles to make sure they still get a good brush!
It's recommended that cats which spend a lot of time indoors have their nails cut regularly. Always provide them with plenty of scratching posts as these help to keep their nails trim - otherwise you might find your furniture being used as a scratching post! If you're not confident about doing this yourself, your local grooming salon will be happy to do this for you.
To clip the nail, hold your cat on your lap facing away from you and hold the paw. Using a pair of cat clippers - not human clippers! - carefully clip the claw, taking care to avoid the pinkish colouring underneath the nail. This is a blood vessel called the "quick", and can be quite painful for your cat if you catch it; however if this happens you can apply a blood-stopping powder to help it heal.
While cats don't generally need to be bathed frequently, it may be necessary if somebody in your home is allergic to cats, or if your cat has gotten itself exceptionally mucky! The best time to do this is after combing, so that the fur is easier to clean. You should only ever use bathing products designed for cats, as they have very different requirements for healthy skin and fur compared to humans - and they may try to lick it off!
Cats are notoriously unimpressed by the idea of being bathed, but there are a few ways we can make it easier on them. Place a non-slip mat in the bottom of a sink or basin, and gently rinse your cat in lukewarm water. Then, apply a small amount of cat shampoo and gently lather avoiding the eyes and ears, before rinsing again thoroughly. Finally, wrap a thick towel around them and dry them as much as you can.
Bathing too frequently can cause your cat's hair to become too soft, which affects its ability to keep your cat warm and dry. Use a scented spray to eliminate odours, or speak to a vet if you are concerned about your cat's everyday smell.