Cat Care and Grooming

April 02, 2018

Cat Care and Grooming

Cats are neat freaks. In fact, if you’re a cat owner, you know firsthand that your cat is a fastidious groomer. After all, it seems to spend most of its life either sleeping or grooming! A lot of people think cats need very little attention and care, and that really is not true. Regular grooming, cleaning the ears, nail trims, as well as brushing the teeth on a daily basis are very important things to do. Generally it is much easier to leave a cat with a self feeder for the weekend, but you have to make sure they have access to water.  Also, cats love things to be clean, so it is important to clean the litter box once or twice daily.

But as gung-ho as your cat is about keeping itself groomed and clean, the truth is that it could still use a bit of help from you.

 

LOOKING GOOD!

 

Grooming is about more than just keeping your cat looking good. Grooming your cat on a regular basis will also help you to keep an eye on its health. And grooming your cat can even help to prevent feline health i ssues such as digestive problems caused by hairballs. Regular grooming can also help to improve the health of your cat’s skin and coat.  

Grooming your cat does more than just keep your cat looking her best. It’s also an opportunity to bond with your cat as well as inspect her body for lumps, ticks and tender spots. Some cats require more grooming than others. Generally, the more fur a cat has, the more grooming she will require. Senior cats require more grooming because they groom themselves less meticulously as they age. If you acclimate your cat to the grooming process as early as possible, grooming can be incident-free. No matter whether your cat is a longhair, shorthair or no-hair, she will require at least some grooming periodically to keep her happy and healthy. If your cat simply won’t allow you to groom her, engage the services of a professional groomer. 

Brushing your cat based on the frequency is determined by the length and thickness of the coat as well as the time of year. Frequent brushing is essential to keep your cat from getting hairballs which can sometimes require surgery to remove.

Brush shorthaired cats once weekly and longhaired cats every other day. When the warm weather hits in the Spring, you may need to groom more often as your cat sheds her winter coat. As a rule of thumb, if you pet your cat and fur comes out, she needs brushing. For quality brushes you can try and search here: https://activefelinesolutions.com.au/ for designs that suits your cat’s character or gender. 

A brush that especially effective at removing hair, but care should be taken when using it. Don’t start by enthusiastically raking your cat’s backbone and drawing blood. Gently stroke her, then draw the brush across the very top of her coat without catching any hair in the teeth or bristles. Concentrate on getting her used to the feel of the brush or comb. Then gradually work the brush more deeply into the coat, stopping short of raking the scalp. Don’t force it, and stop when your cat has had enough.

If you have several cats with varying coats, you may need more than one type of brush or comb. Don’t assume that what works for one will work for all. You may have to try several different brush or comb types before finding one that works well on a particular cat.

 

Some cats have hyper-sensitive areas, especially on the back, so take care and watch your cat’s body language to ensure you don’t get bitten or scratched. If you notice her pinning her ears back, take a break and continue later. 

Mats – (densely tangled hairs) are painful to your cat and can restrict movement, so they should be removed as soon as you notice them (before they become impossible to remove).

If you brush your longhaired cat every other day, it will obviate the need to remove mats. But inevitably, every longhaired cat will develop them, and you’ll need to be adept at removing them without harming your cat.

The safest way to remove mats is with clippers. Have a helper hold the cat still while you shave away the mat. If you don’t have clippers you can use scissors, but exercise caution so that you don’t harm the cat. Before you attempt the scissor method, have a vet tech teach you how to do it properly so that you cut the mat and not your cat. Use scissors with blunt ends. Slide a fine-tooth comb between the mat and the skin so the skin won’t get cut. Once the comb is under the mat, cut the hair between the mat and comb, like so; If your cat has a number of mats, it’s much easier and safer to take her to a professional groomer.

But on occasion, your cat’s coat might become sticky or dirty to a degree that the old tongue-bath just isn’t going to cut it. So you’ll have to get involved. Fortunately, though, bath time doesn’t have to be a time of terror for the both of you – if you do it right. Some cats rarely need baths; some, like members of the Sphynx breed, need weekly baths. Bathing is easier if the cat has been accustomed to bathing since an early age. If she is not a frequent bather, you may need to prepare for battle. It helps if you have a helper so that one person can hold the cat while the other washes the cat. If your cat really hates bathing consider using bath wipes for cats (important: they must be made exclusively for cats, not other animals) to remove surface dirt. 

As a general rule, you should trim your cat’s nails at least monthly. This procedure is best done with a helper who holds the cat in his lap while you trim the claws. If your cat isn’t wild about this procedure, wrap her in a towel to immobilize her, exposing one paw at a time.

Many cats only need their front claws trimmed, so don’t feel you need to trim the rear claws if they don’t require it. If you snip the quick, don’t panic. Use a styptic to stop the bleeding, and calm your cat with a low soothing voice. If your cat begins to struggle too hard, take a break and finish later.

End the session by rewarding your cat with treats and praise. 

Check your cat’s ears twice a month for dirt and wax buildup (and ticks if your cat spends time outdoors). Some breeds (like the Devon Rex) produce more wax than others and require more frequent cleaning.

To clean your cat’s ears, enlist the aid of a helper to restrain her. Wrapping her in a towel will help. Clean the ear lobe using a cotton ball moistened with warm water to gently remove dirt, wax, and debris. After most of the debris has been removed with the cotton ball, carefully use a Q-Tip to remove anything that remains within the cartilage of the ear. Never poke the Q-Tip into the ear canal.

Only clean the parts of the ear that are visible. If there appears to be debris inside the ear canal, have a vet remove it. 

Keep your cat safe by keeping them indoors, safely confined to your property, or walked on a harness and leash. Doing so is best for you, your cat, and your community. Here are other ways to keep your cat safe and secure:

 

SECURED AT ALL TIMES!

Always use a cat carrier when transporting your cat. Take a look at here, https://activefelinesolutions.com.au/, I got one that fits perfectly to my feline.

Make certain that all windows are securely screened.
Keep the washer and dryer closed, and check inside before each use. (Some cats like to climb in these appliances if they're left open.) Get into the habit of ensuring that drawers, closets, and cupboards are uninhabited before you close them—a kitty may be lurking inside. 

Outfit your cat with a breakaway collar and visible ID that includes your name, address, and telephone number. No matter how careful you are, there's always a chance they may slip out the door. Your cat is more likely to get home safely if they have a collar and ID. Also, be a good citizen by complying with any local cat licensing laws.  

 

PEEK A POO!

  

All indoor cats need a litter box, which should be placed in a quiet, accessible location. In a multi-level home, one box per floor is recommended. Avoid moving the box unless absolutely necessary, but if you must do so, move the box just a few inches per day. Keep in mind that cats won't use a messy, smelly litter box, so scoop solid wastes out of the box at least once a day. Dump everything, wash with a mild detergent and refill at least once a week; you can do this less frequently if using clumping litter. Don't use ammonia, deodorants or scents, especially lemon, when cleaning the litter box. If your cat will not use a litterbox, please consult with your veterinarian. Sometimes refusal to use a litter box is based on a medical condition that required treatment. Most cats will prefer the litter box to other parts of the house because of the texture of the litter. But, there are still steps you need to take to make sure you're offering the litter box as the best place to use the bathroom. Don't frighten or startle your cat when it's using the box, or it may form a bad association with the box and start avoiding it. Buy a large box, even if you have to spend a little money on it. Cats are more comfortable in a larger (in area, not height) box.

 

 SCRATCH TO STRETCH!

 

Cats need to scratch! When a cat scratches, the old outer nail sheath is pulled off and the sharp, smooth claws underneath are exposed. Your cat needs a scratch board or scratching post, scratching is a normal part of cat behavior, and there's no way you can train it out of them. If your cat still has its claws, he'll need one or two scratching posts to keep him from scratching up furniture, wood work, and so on. By providing a post, you  allow the cat to indulge in normal, healthy behavior. Cutting your cat’s nails every two to three weeks will keep them relatively blunt and less likely to harm the arms of both humans and furniture. Provide your cat with a sturdy scratching post, at least three feet high. The post should also be stable enough that it won't wobble during use, and should be covered with rough material such as sisal, burlap or tree bark. Many cats also like scratching pads. Cat lovers usually goes here: https://activefelinesolutions.com.au/ for their sratching posts and pads needs.

 

YUMMY FOR MY TUMMY! 

Cat food comes in a vast array of types: dry food, semi-moist, and canned are the common types. Dry food is easily and efficiently stored, but cats go wild for the taste of semi-moist and canned foods. The latter types can add more fluid to the cat’s diet than dry foods. In general, food type comes down to owner preference.  Like other animals, cats have some specific nutritional needs. They are "obligate carnivores," which means they need animal proteins to avoid severe health consequences. Ask your vet for suggestions about a good quality food. Cheaper products may not provide enough nutrition to keep your cat happy and healthy.  In general, cats are fed according to age, weight and activity levels. They prefer to eat frequent, small meals throughout the day.  Follow your veterinarian's recommendations closely and make sure your cat gets plenty of exercise, as obesity is one of the biggest health issues facing cats today. Obese cats are more likely to develop diabetes when they approach middle age. Extra weight also contributes to arthritis, heart disease, and other health problems in cats.  

 

BE TRAINED 

Training - It's true that cats usually have their own ideas about how to do things. Even so, a positive approach can teach most cats not to scratch the couch, eat plants, or jump up on the kitchen counter. With repeated, gentle, and consistent training, your cat will learn the house rules. Don't ever yell or hit your cat.