Anyone who has a cat knows they are meticulous groomers. Most cats will spend a large part of the day grooming themselves but sometimes they may need a little extra help – for example, if they have been injured or if longer hair becomes tangled. So you should get your cat used to being handled and groomed as soon as possible (the sooner you start, the easier it will be for you in the long run).
It’s best to groom your cat when she is tired and relaxed. If your cat doesn’t seem to like being groomed, just start with a little every day and her tolerance will soon increase. Be sure to lavish lots of love and praise on your cat after each grooming session – she may even start to view the grooming sessions as a special treat.
If you have a long-haired cat, use a comb to groom her hair. Start with her favourite places (usually the chin and head) then progress to other areas. If you run into any matted areas, you may have to cut them out using a pair of blunt tipped scissors.
If your cat is short-haired, you can groom her with a rubber brush. Remember to wet or dampen the brush before you start grooming as this will help to catch loose fur and keep it from flying around.
Should your cat need a bath, ensure you have some pet friendly shampoo. Then close all windows and doors and make sure the room is warm.
If your cat is scared or overwhelmed by the size of your bath, try using a bowl or sink instead. About 4 inches of lukewarm water is plenty – or just above your cat’s paws.
First, clean your cat’s ears before you put her in the water. Swab her ears with a cotton bud which has been moistened with warm water. Only clean the visible parts of your cat’s ear and never attempt to clean the ear canal.
Next, comb or brush your cat before you bath her – this will help to work out any loose fur.
Put on a pair of rubber gloves, then pick your cat up by the scruff of her neck and gently place her in the shallow warm water.
Wet your cat’s back, belly and legs. You may want to use a small plastic cup or jug. (Be warned that many cats will panic if you try to use a shower or spray attachment.)
Apply the pet shampoo and massage it gently to distribute it evenly all over your cat before rinsing. Don’t apply too much shampoo or it will just make it more difficult to rinse off. It has been designed not to irritate their eyes and ears, but try and avoid these areas anyway.
After rinsing, ensure you have a nice warm towel to dry your cat. If your cat is not afraid of the noise, you can blow dry her. Or, simply snuggle her dry in the towel.
Don’t be surprised if she starts to groom herself again straight afterwards, it’s just her way of getting her fur the way she likes it.
Remember, don’t bathe your cat on a regular basis as this may disrupt the natural balance of oils in her skin and fur – but an occasional bath is fine, for example if she has rolled in something dirty and can’t clean herself.