Reasons grooming keeps your cat healthy
Many cat owners do not realise that their cat needs grooming. It seems that it is acceptable for dogs to be groomed but not cats. There are many reasons that your cat should be regularly groomed, even if you do not wish to take your cat to a professional groomer, you should at least give your cat a basic groom at home. Here are some reasons you should groom your cat and how it can help with the health of the cat.
If you own a long haired cat there is a good chance that the coat could get matted and tangled. This can be very uncomfortable for the cat, and if the coat is left to get very matted it will be impossible to brush out. Once the coat has become totally matted, you cat will then need a trip to the vets, who will sedate your cat in order to clip off the matts. A professional groomer will also have no other option but to shave off the coat to remove the matting. Leaving the cat with these mats will result in the coat pulling at the skin and causing sores.
To prevent matting you will need to regularly brush the coat, a good metal comb or slicker brush will help to keep the coat free from knots and tangles. Many cats dislike being brushed or combed, but if you brush regularly for short bursts of time your cat will become more tolerant.
All cats shed their coats whether they have long or short hair. By grooming your long hair cats you will help to remove the coat that has been shed and will prevent knots forming. Short haired cats shed a lot of coat, and this can be helped if you massage the cat with a rubber brush in a circular motion to help release the loose hairs. As cats lick themselves the loose hair is often swallowed, so by grooming your cat it can help to prevent hair balls. Most cats tend to shed all year round and often get a seasonal coat shed that can be heavier.
Dirt removal from coat
Most cats in the UK go outside, which means that they are covered in dirt and debris from outside. By brushing your cat regularly you are removing some of the dirt from their coat, preventing it to be taken into your home. Your cat will come home to sleep on your bed or sofa after it has been sleeping outside under a bush in the mud. Long haired cats often get twigs and leaves caught in their fur, so a quick brush out will remove any debris.
Grooming your cat is a great way to bond, building trust so your cat will allow you to examine the skin for any problems. Whilst grooming you will be able to inspect the coat and skin for lumps or bumps or any abnormal growths. So many problems go unnoticed for to long before they become visible, so by grooming you can act quickly if something is not right. Regularly grooming also gives you the opportunity to feel your cats body and notice any changes, such as muscle or weight loss.
Dander and dandruff
Dander and dandruff are not the same thing. Dander is particles of dead skin cells and dried saliva that sits on the cats coat after they have licked their fur. When people say they have a allergy to cats it is the dander causing the allergic reaction. Regular grooming will help to remove some of the dander from the cats coat, although will will not remove it all but will help reduce it. Dander is so small it can not been seen by the human eye.
Dandruff is larger flakes of skin that can be seen on the coat and skin. This is a result of a dead skin under a dirty or greasy coat. By grooming you can help the coat by removing the dirt and grease, cats with lots of dandruff may need a bath. Bathing can be difficult as many cats do not like water, so you may wish to send your cat to a professional cat groomer.
Why cats need nail clipping
When grooming your cat it is always worth checking your cats nails. Outdoor cats will use their claws to climb fences and trees, so they should not need to be trimmed. House cats will need a regular nail trim to prevent nails getting to long . Also check dew claws as they can grow long and curl round into the skin, the nail will continue to grow causing your cat pain as it grows into the pads. If your cats nail have grown into the pads then seek veterinary treatment as this may cause infections and need antibiotics. Always check elderly cats nails, as they become thick and brittle as they age and the nails are prone to breaking.
Fleas and ticks
Whilst grooming your cat you will be able to see if your cat has any flea dirt in the coat. This looks like black pepper on the skin and in the coat. Flea dirt is mostly seen under the chin or base of the tail, or by parting the fur to see the skin you may notice the flea dirt. The fleas are larger and you will see them moving and crawling around in the coat, use a flea comb to check through the coat to see if your cat has fleas.
Ticks will be noticeable in the cats coat, they are small round parasites that suck blood from the host. If your cat has a tick you can remove it with a tick remover tool or take your cat to the vet, do not pull the tick off as this will leave the head of the tick inside the cat and may cause infection. For more information about fleas and ticks click here
Flea and tick tools
Grooming is a great way to bond with your cat and build up trust. It is a great way to get to understand your cat and its behaviours. Do try and stay relaxed when grooming and do not force your cat, be patience and calm. Try to stick to a routine and invest in some good brushes and equipment.