I groom my cat every day. It’s so easy to brush her coat while we watch television together. Honestly, I think she likes it as much as I do! She lies on my lap and seems to wiggle along with the strokes of the brush, stretching to expose the areas that need to be combed. This activity allows us a little time to bond each evening, and the brushing keeps Diana’s coat looking amazing.
While daily brushing is fantastic for preventing knots and mats, additional grooming tasks are needed to keep cats happy and healthy. These include tooth brushing (daily if possible, weekly at a minimum), bathing, nail clipping, and more. How often should you groom your cat? Consider the following:
Lifestyle—If your cat is an indoor cat, your job will be easier than caring for a cat that goes outdoors. Roamers tend to get wet, dirty, and pick up leaves and debris on their journeys. Inspect your cats every day for dirt, parasites, and injuries. A cut left untreated could become infected and turn into a major concern.
Coat type—Cats with long hair should be brushed one to two times per day to prevent knots and mats. Cats with short hair have grooming needs too. Brush your shorthaired cat at least once per week to prevent hair from getting into your carpet and furniture.
Feline Behavior—Cats are known for their propensity to groom themselves; they dislike being dirty. When the paws are moistened with saliva, cats will thoroughly brush the hair covering various parts of their bodies. Some cats groom themselves often and rarely need to be brushed by their people. Others don’t groom as much and will require an extra brushing from you.
Grooming Tolerance— Plan to trim your cat’s nails every ten days to two weeks. For resistant cats, offer a few CANIDAE® cat treats during the session and talk to your cat in a calming voice. If after several tries your cat resists your efforts, leave the nail trimming to your veterinarian or a professional cat groomer.
Bathing—The National Cat Groomers of America recommends bathing your cat every four to six weeks, or when the coat appears oily, sticky, or stinky. In the bath, make sure your cat feels as secure as possible, providing a rubber mat for footing. Fill the sink with a few inches of warm water, and have a plastic cup nearby for rinsing.
Gently apply a shampoo made for cats, and be prepared for your feline friend to resist—possibly using the claws to deliver a message. Wipe your cat’s face and ears with a wet cloth and dry with an absorbent towel.
With regular grooming sessions you can teach your cat to tolerate bathing and other grooming procedures. If you cannot meet your cat’s needs, turn to a professional groomer who has developed skills and insights that will help your cat relax and even enjoy the session.
If you’re new to grooming, there are a few essential tools you’ll need to keep your cat looking and feeling her best. For advice, read our article on, “10 Essential Cat Grooming Tools.”