Cat Grooming – Facts and Fiction
Many cat owners believe that because their kitty spends so much time cleaning herself, she doesn’t need a bath. This, in fact, is a myth; in other words, it is not true. There are many people who have such mistaken ideas about cat grooming, so we’ll look at some basic concerns that you may have. We’ll hopefully throw some light on them, so that you have a clear idea of your cat’s needs. For convenience, let’s assume that she’s a female and that she’s called Princess.
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It isn’t surprising that many of us are under the impression that cats do not need baths, after all, they spend hours licking and grooming.
However, there are some instances when a bath for your cat is advisable;
- Elderly, obese or those cats who have problems moving, may be grateful for your help in keeping him/her clean.
- Princess may have got herself so dirty that a bath may be required.
Understandably, you may be feeling a bit nervous about this, so here’s some advice:
- Give her a gentle brush before the bath. You may need to have a break between brushing and bathing, especially if she is not happy about either procedure.
- A bathroom is probably the best place to bathe a cat, as it is safe and probably quiet. Run some water into a tub, which is not too deep: it should just about reach her chest. Be careful not to get the shampoo into kitty’s face.
- Have some treats on hand and always speak in a calm voice.
- It is important to rinse her thoroughly.
BRUSHING YOUR CAT
You may also be under the impression that because Princess spends at least 15 % of her day grooming, she doesn’t need a brush. Brushing, in fact, helps to remove all the debris, like dead hair, grease and dirt, that may have accumulated in her fur and on her skin. It also gets her blood circulating and can reduce hair shedding. In addition, brushing gives you and Princess some time to bond.
If your cat is long-haired, daily brushing is essential to help remove debris, remove dead hair and help to prevent mats forming in her fur. For hairless cats, obviously they don’t need brushing but they have oily skins and need bathing weekly to remove excess oil and dirt. Baby wipes or a wet cloth can be used in between baths to ensure that kitty’s skin is kept clean.
CATS AND WATER
Again, many people believe that cats are afraid of water, which is largely untrue. Some cats like playing with water and will often drink from a dripping tap. Certain breeds, including Bengal Van, Turkish Van and Maine Coons, are not averse to an occasional swim.
Most cats, however, are not fond of water, which scientists believe is because their fur takes a long time to dry and is uncomfortable when it is wet. Wet fur is heavy too and it means that, if Princess gets soaking wet, she will not be as agile and she will be slower and therefore not as able to escape any perceived danger.
CAT GROOMING: SOME CHECKS
Just check Princess’s eyes occasionally to see if there are any problems or changes in her eyes, such as excess tearing and cloudiness.
Nail and Paw Care
Check Princess’s paws and nails carefully to see if there are any cuts.
Once a week, have a look at kitty’s ears to see if there’s any excess wax or dirt, or anything that worries you.
Again, there’s the myth that you don’t have to brush your cat’s teeth, which is not true. To help prevent oral disease and keep kitty’s breath fresh, regular tooth brushing, as with humans, is essential. As you brush you may also notice any changes and anything that may be of concern.
If you’re nervous:
If you are unsure about bathing or grooming your kitty, have a chat with your vet or a professional groomer about the best way to go about it. If you want to confirm any myths that you have heard about cats, you can always consult your vet.
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