Groom Your Cat Without Getting Wounded

by on September 23rd, 2011 at 7:05 am

Cat GroomingLet’s face it: Cat grooming is a challenge. Cats do what they like. They’ll sit in your favorite chair or jump up onto your dinner table. They’re not terribly cooperative.

You may even find kitty’s tail sprawled across your dinner plate after you set the table. That’s my personal favorite.

But cats like cleanliness. Your cat probably licks himself regularly and plants himself on your freshly laundered towels. So, grooming isn’t entirely out of the question. Besides, grooming is important if you want to keep your cat comfortable and healthy.

Your number one grooming task will be hair care. I say that because it’s time-consuming…and possibly hazardous.

Bathing

To get started with cat hair care, you’ll need basic knowledge of bathing and brushing techniques, as well as a set of professional grooming tools.

Daryl Conner, vice president of the Professional Cat Groomers Association of America, notes that he washes cats.1 “Trained cat groomers bathe the cat, removing oil and dander from the coat,” he says. “Clean coats are better able to shed out completely.”

So, if you can help your cat shed properly, you might be able to remove dead hair before he swallows it. If your cat swallows fur, he’ll deposit a wet clump of undigested hair onto your favorite rug. That’s not a nice sight!

In the book, Guide to a Healthy Cat, author Elaine Wexler-Mitchell recommends using either baby shampoo or specially-formulated pet shampoos, as well as placing a mat or towel in the bottom of a sink or tub that’s being used for cat bathing.2 She also advises readers to trim a cat’s toenails before starting the bathing process. Good idea. I don’t fancy the idea of plucking nails from my arms.

In the book, The Cat Bible: Everything Your Cat Expects You to Know, author Tracie Hotchner tells readers not to spray a cat with water directly.3 She also recommends filling a plastic squeeze bottle with half shampoo and half warm water and using the warm solution.

If you fear the prospect of wetting your cat profusely, pick up some pre-moistened cat wipes from your local pet supply store. It’s an alternate way of bathing your cat without incurring the wrath of his claws.

Hair Brushing Tools

Among the available tools for brushing cat hair are the slicker brush, flea comb, pin brush, and metal-toothed comb.

In the book, The Natural Cat: The Comprehensive Guide to Optimum Care, authors Anitra Frazier and Norma Eckroate recommend using the slicker brush only for short-haired cats.4 The authors also provide specific advice for how to use the brush. “In order to avoid pricking the cat with those sharp little needles of metal, be sure that you always keep the handle low and close to the cat’s body,” they say.

The flea comb serves the exact purpose that you would imagine.  “If you notice any flea dirt in the coat, a fine-toothed metal comb makes a dandy flea-removal instrument, handily trapping the parasites and their excrement in the closely spaced teeth,” says Karen Leigh Davis in her book, The Cat Handbook.5

The next tool in your grooming arsenal is the pin brush. In the book, The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Getting and Owning a Cat, author Sheila Webster Boneham says this brush is good for long, thick fur.6 So, if you own a Himalayan cat, you’re in business.

The metal-toothed comb is a great all-around grooming tool. Use it to brush your cat from top to bottom.

Choosing the right comb isn’t always easy, though. But Darlene Arden has some great advice in her book, The Complete Cat’s Meow: Everything You Need to Know About Caring for Your Cat. She says, “A fine comb is for cats with smooth or fine coats.” She also says that coarse combs can be used for coarse-coated cats that have short hair.

Keep in mind that grooming your cat is a great bonding experience. If you groom him regularly, he’ll get used to it and even look forward to it. So, be patient. And remember that if you brush your cat gently enough, he’ll let you keep all your limbs. That’s cause for celebration!

Furball Dr.™  helps avoid furballs in cats by maintaining healthy digestion.

Sources:

  1. Daryl Conner, “What Do You Mean Cats Need Baths?”  Professional Cat Groomer’s Association of America
  2. Elaine Wexler-Mitchell, “Guide to a Healthy Cat,”  Howell Book House
  3. Tracie Hotchner, “The Cat Bible: Everything Your Cat Expects You to Know,” Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
  4. Anitra Frazier and Norma Eckroate, “The Natural Cat: The Comprehensive Guide to Optimum Care,” Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
  5. Karen Leigh Davis, “The Cat Handbook,” Barron’s Educational Series, Inc.
  6. Sheila Webster Boneham, “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Getting and Owning a Cat,” Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

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