Cat Brushing and Coat Care
Grooming—brushing and combing—is an important aspect of cat care. Not only is regular brushing and combing important in keeping your cat’s hair coat vibrant and glossy, it is also important for your cat’s overall health.
Importance and Benefits of Regular Grooming
Regularly brushing and combing your cat’s hair coat will:
- Help remove dead hair (loose hair) and prevent hair matting
Shedding of the hair is common in cats and brushing can help loosen dead hair and combing can effectively remove loose hairs. Regular brushing and combing also prevent your cat’s hair coat from forming mats or tangles.
Long-haired cats may need daily brushing to prevent the formation of mats whereas short-haired breeds may just require weekly brushing.
Although shedding is a common occurrence, you should beware of too much shedding. This may lead to bald patches in the cat’s coat. If this happens to your cat, you should bring your cat to the vet in Broken Arrow for a check-up and treatment immediately.
- Reduce the amount of cat fur in your home and in your furniture.
Cat owners often complain of their cat’s hair in the sofas, chairs and in almost all places of the house. This can be prevented by regular brushing and combing of your cat’s hair coat.
- Prevent the formation of hair balls
Loose hairs from the coat make the cat uncomfortable and if these loose hairs are not removed by brushing and combing or by bathing; the cat tries to remove the loose hairs by himself. Aside from rubbing himself under furniture, your cat may lick himself to remove the loose hairs. In the process, your cat may swallow the hair and the hair may form into a sausage-shaped mass (hair balls) in the stomach and intestine. Hair balls cause constipation, loss of appetite or more serious problems.
- Give time for you and your cat to bond
Regular grooming provides you and your cat quality time together and bond.
- Give you an opportunity to check your cat’s hair coat
Regular grooming gives you the time to check your cat’s hair coat for bald patches, ticks and fleas, and other skin problems. This is a good way for you to be aware of your cat’s health by examining your cat’s hair coat. Your cat’s hair coat can provide clues of your cat’s overall health. For example, dull hair coat may indicate internal parasites and/or presence of an underlying disease or poor nutrition. Well-nourished cats and healthy cats have vibrant and glossy hair coat.
If you notice bald patches, parasites or other skin problems, have your pet checked by a vet. Spotting any skin problem early can allow for early treatment and a better treatment outcome.
- Helps make your cat’s hair coat vibrant and glossy
Brushing can stimulate the oil glands in the skin to secrete oil. Your brushing promotes the distribution of this oil into the hair strands. This provides extra sheen on your cat’s coat.
How to Brush and Comb Your Cat’s Coat
- Choose the right kind of comb or brush for your cat
Generally, cats that belong to the natural long-haired breeds will need long-bristled brush while cats that belong to the natural short-haired breeds will need short-bristled brush. Rubber brushes best suite kittens and older cats that are not used to being groomed. When removing mats and tangles, it is best to use a fine-wire slicker. It is somewhat oblong with short, bent-wire teeth.
Metal combs with fine teeth best suites shorthaired cats. Cats that have long hair need a metal comb with two different teeth-spacing: a medium side for preliminary combing and the fine side to be used for thorough combing. Use the fine side to comb the hairs around the head and the neck.
- Start combing and brushing your cat early—as a kitten.
The earlier you start brushing and combing your cat, the better. Some cats just can’t stand brushing while others just love that tingly feeling they get when a human pal brushes their coat.
At the start, you may encounter a bit of trouble with your kitten or cat. He or she may not tolerate what you are doing to him or her. But if your brush strokes are gentle, cats of all ages will by and by learn to accept grooming on a regular basis. They may even start enjoying and find pleasure in being groomed.
- Begin your cat’s first grooming session when the cat is relaxed and a bit sleepy. You can place him on the bed or on your lap; perhaps he or she might prefer to be cuddled.
- Start by stroking your cat. Then, give your cat a thorough massage with your fingers. This will help in removing the loose hair.
- Then, start brushing from the cat’s head down to the tail; following the direction of the hair growth. When you reach the stomach area, take extra caution and be very gentle with your brush strokes because the skin in this area is very tender and you surely don’t want your cat to be mad if by any chance you scratched his or her skin with the tool you have at hand.
- When combing short-haired cats, comb the hair from the head to the tail. For long-haired cats, it will be easier if you start combing by placing the teeth of the comb down to the skin and then comb upwards. This will straighten the undercoat and lift all the dead hair out.
- As to mats and tangles, be extra careful in dealing with them. Your cat may feel a bit of pain when you try to remove them, especially if you pull them up suddenly. What you do is to try to pull them apart with your fingers, carefully separating them into smaller more manageable sections. Then carefully comb each section.
- In case the mat is severe that the coat appears to be one solid mass attached to the skin, you need to bring your cat to a professional groomer for that mat to be clipped and removed. Don’t try to do it yourself at home; you might get bitten by your cat. Your cat may look bald after the removal of the large mat, but don’t you worry, the hair will grow back in a couple of weeks. You just have to wait. Clipping, when done often, can make your cat’s hair grow thicker.
You don’t have to keep on bathing your cat just to keep him or her clean most of the time. Grooming if done regularly can decrease the need of bathing.
However, there are times when you cannot keep kitty from playing with the dirt and you find bathing inconvenient. Not to worry because there are products available that you may find very useful. These include dry or no-rinse shampoos for cats. These products can also be used on ill, pregnant and even old cats that despise bathing. They are alternative ways of cleaning cat’s coat without wetting your cat. They are non-toxic products which are sold in pet stores in Broken Arrow in powder, foam or in liquid form.
If you intend to use dry shampoo, simply sift the powder into the cat’s hair coat. Leave the powder on the coat for a few minutes to give it a time to absorb the dirt and oils. Afterwards, brush the powder away. However, if you want to use the foam or the liquid form, you simply have to apply the product to the hair. Then work up a lather and then towel dry the coat.
Other ways of caring for your cat’s hair coat
It is also important to keep your cat’s hair coat free from external parasites such as fleas, lice, ticks and ear mites as these parasites can compromise your cat’s hair condition. You can ask the vet in Broken Arrow of the available measures to prevent your cat from getting these parasites.
Aside from combing/brushing, bathing and parasite control, nutrition is also a factor in having a healthy hair coat. Well-nourished cats have shiny and vibrant hair coats. Supplements such as EFA’s (Essential Fatty Acids) help in maintaining healthy coat and skin and can be given to your cat. Be sure to ask your vet for the correct dosage before giving these supplements.
For more information on how to care for your cat’s skin and hair coat, ask your vet in Broken Arrow or set an appointment by calling (918) 258-0040.
Keywords/Tag: Broken Arrow, cat brushing, cat combing, cat bathing, cat coat care
Cat nutrition for a healthy coat