The Best Cat Owners Guide To Grooming

Regular cat grooming is a vital activity for your pet's health and wellbeing. Indeed, if they are not grooming themselves it may indicate a more serious  problem. Of course, if your cat is struggling to groom itself then it may benefit from some additional support by taking them to a professional groomer or completing the task at home. The good news is you can find lots of cat grooming information in the post below, where we cover topics from how to get a cat to groom itself to how to groom a difficult cat. Keep reading to find out more.   


Why Do Cats Usually Groom Themselves?

There are a whole host of reasons that your feline friend will groom including encouraging circulation, regulating body temperature, keeping cool, getting rid of parasites, and even as a way of self-comforting when she is feeling anxious. Remember cats are fastidious - they like to be clean.


What Does It Mean When A Cat Stops Grooming Themself?

A noticeable drop in grooming may mean that your cat is unwell or is simply not able to groom itself Overweight cats can struggle to reach the necessary places and older cats may find it difficult to get into grooming positions if they are suffering from arthritis, which is actually quite common in older cats.If cat is not grooming themself it is almost always a sign that something is up! 

It is a great idea that you get involved in grooming your cat.  It increases the bond between you and can make your cat easier to handle in the long term - and many cats will look forward to a grooming session.  The good news is there are plenty of products you can use if you need to become involved in your cat's grooming. Probably the easiest to use of all these are pet wet wipes which can be used instead of water to clean your cat’s coat.


Why Is Your Cat Over-Grooming?

Our next section is all about defining what is excessive grooming in cats. Indeed, there tends to be one of two reasons why a kitty is overgrooming. The first is boredom or stress, something that can be triggered by several factors such as the introduction of another pet into the home. 

Overgrooming because of stress is known as psychogenic alopecia, and several options can help. The first is to use a calming pheromone product like Feliway which can help reduce stress. Providing a safe comfortable space where you can spend time alone and away from others can  also help. 

Other cats will overgroom because they suffer from itchy or sensitive skin. The good news is that if you can find the right type of shampoo that is hypoallergenic or designed to soothe the skin you can help reduce this behaviour and make them more comfortable.  Be sure to get any skin problems checked by your vet.


What To Do When Your Self-Grooming Cat Is Wearing A Cone or e-collar?

A cone  or (e) elizabethan collar is designed to keep your cat from being able to reach certain areas to groom. They can be used both if a kitty is overgrooming and if they have had surgery or stitches, and you need to protect that area of skin for a few days. For the time when your cat is wearing a cone, helping them out with grooming is the best idea. 

Probably the easiest way to do this is by investing in some easy-to-use pets wipes, and these are gentle and are very similar to the process of grooming your cat uses by licking. 


How To Get A Cat To Start Grooming Themself?

Kittens learn how to groom from their mother. Daily gentle brushing or wiping with a damp cloth will often be enough to encourage a kitten to  begin grooming. When this happens be sure to stop brushing and let them take over, and they should slowly learn the correct behaviour. You can do this with an older cat too to encourage them to groom more regularly.


How Often Should Your Cat Be Self Grooming?

Self-grooming is a very important activity for your cat. Indeed, they should be spending at least a quarter of their day or around 2.5 hours licking and grooming themselves and keeping clean.   Some cats will spend up to half their day grooming.


How To Get Your Cat To The Groomers?

If your cat isn't self-grooming, one option is to take them to a professional groomer and get them to complete this task for you. Many people prefer this, especially if they have cats that dislike being held, brushed, or having their claws clipped at home. 

However, getting your cat to the groomers is also a task that can be quite a challenge, especially if they are outdoor cats unused to being handled, or nervous kitties that don't do well in the carrier or the car.  

Fortunately, there are tactics you can use to make the whole process of getting your kitty to the groomers that much easier, which you can find below. 


Can You Sedate Cats Before Heading To The Groomers?

If you are asking yourself the question: can you sedate a cat for grooming? The answer is yes, discuss this with your vet and they can advise on the best approach.This should not be your first port of call, however, as there are other ways that you can help your cat be more relaxed.

Consider using a pheromone-type spray like Feliway  that is designed to help calm your cat and make them feel more relaxed and at home is a better option for many. It even comes in spray bottles so you can spray their carrier and blanket before the trip. 

There are also stress relieving supplements and foods that can help your cat feel more relaxed.


Tips for Getting Your Cat Into The Car

Once a day, doing a dry run when you get your cat in their carrier and then seatbelt them into the car is a good idea. Afterward, bring them inside and give them treats and repeat until they are less distressed. This process may take many weeks.


How Often Should You Take Your Cat To The Groomers?

If your cat is having trouble self-grooming then taking them to a professional groomer every month or so will help keep their coat, skin, and claws in the best condition, and ensure they remain comfortable too. 


Cat Travel Apparel To Get Your Cat To The Groomers Safely

Having the right cat travel carrier can make a massive difference when getting your cat to the groomer, both in terms of their safety, and their comfort. Look for a carrier like the ones you will find here that are strong enough to keep your cat safe during the journey. Carriers made from plastic are a great choice too because they are easy to clean. 


What Is The Best Way To Groom Your Cat At Home?

There are many benefits to grooming your cat at home, not only will you avoid  the stress of taking them out, but it is a great opportunity to spend bonding time with your cat.  Grooming will also help prevent hairballs and matting  of fur and remove  loose coat hairs to minimise shedding.


How Often Should You Groom Your Cat At Home?

Wondering how often you need to groom your cat? Well, unless your kitty is already very used to the process, and is very placid like a Ragdolls cat, you will probably be better off brushing them once or twice a week for a short period of time and building up slowly to a daily routine. Short to medium hair cats can be groomed once a week whereas our longer hair (and especially our persian friends) can benefit from daily grooming.


How To Use Cat Grooming Brushes?

One of the most important aspects of how to groom a cat is understanding how to use grooming brushes. Each different type has a different purpose and is suited to a specific type of cat coat. 

For example, slicker or pin brushes as they are also known are best used for long-haired cats as they will remove loose hair and prevent matting. 

Dual-Sided or double-sided brushes, on the other hand, are better for cats with short to medium coats. This is because they combine a fine-toothed cat grooming brush on one side which is good for dematting and a bristle brush on the other. The latter is ideal for encouraging your cat's natural skin oils to spread and ensure a shiny healthy coat. 

Another great option to consider is cat grooming gloves. These are usually mitten-shaped and have rubber teeth on one side. The idea is that you can combine petting your cat with brushing them at the same time. Grooming gloves can be used on all types of coats both long and short, and are particularly helpful for grooming cats that are nervous or dislike being brushed. Brushes with rubber teeth are gentler on the skin and can be good starting brushes when you are getting your cat used to grooming at home  

Grooming combs are useful for removing tangles.


Grooming For Long Haired Cats

Long-haired cats like Persians and Ragdolls may need additional help with grooming because they are more likely to experience issues with matting and hairballs than their short-haired cousins. Some breeds like the British Shorthair have short, thick coats- so additional grooming can be helpful for them as well.

The good news is that by brushing your long-haired cat regularly you can help reduce the instances of matting and hairballs. Although investing in the proper equipment is vital here. 

Indeed, if you are looking for the best grooming tool for long-haired cats you need to consider whether a dematting brush, shedding blade, or clippers will be needed in addition to the normal grooming tools. This is because such brushes are designed with safety blades that can make short work on any mats and so ensure your cat doesn't have to tackle them themselves. 


Grooming a Stubborn Cat At Home

Next, we will address how to groom a difficult cat. The good news is that there are tactics you can use to make grooming a great deal easier. The most important tip is to start slowly, for short periods of time.

Showing patience and using positive reinforcement is vital to success. This means allowing your cat to move away from you if they want while you are grooming them, and providing lots of calming positive talk and treats once the grooming is done. 

Next, be sure to allow your cat to get used to the grooming equipment by leaving it out so they can rub against it and sniff it. 

Again showing patience, start the grooming process on your cats' back and if they are OK with that you can move on to more sensitive areas such as the back of their legs, chest, and belly. 

Of course, choosing the right kind of grooming equipment can make a massive difference to the grooming experience. With that in mind, if your cat is particularly nervous or stubborn you may wish to invest in a grooming spray, rubber brush, or even a restraining accessory like a cat grooming bag to make the process easier. 


Clipping Your Cat's Claws or Nails

Before you clip your cat's claws there are several important things that you must do. The first is to get them used to having their paws touched using positive reinforcement. This means picking them up and gently pushing on the footpad till a claw is visible and giving them a treat. Do this over and over again until they are used to it. It can take several weeks. 

Next, you need to make sure you have the proper equipment necessary to cut your cat's claws at home. This means investing in a good pair of clippers. Luckily, you can find a large selection of the best cat grooming nail clippers online to choose from. Don't forget to also invest in some styptic gel, just in case you cut the quick and it begins to bleed. 

When it's time to clip your cat's claws at home, be sure to sit them on your lap, facing away from you. Press on the toe pad so the claw is fully extended, then trim a single claw towards the very tip of the sharp end and be very careful not to cut the quick (the darker part of the nail closest to their toe. If they will tolerate it, move on to one or two more. However, unless you have a particularly well-trained or docile cat, stopping after three and doing the others on another day is the best approach, both for your feline friend and you. When starting out you might like to have someone hold them while you do the trimming. 


Final Thoughts

Even though helping your cat with their grooming can be challenging at first there are many ways to support them and get them more used to the process. For more information on this and other vital cat care topics consult the expert advice you can find here.