Properly grooming your cat's coat is essential if you want her to be healthy, happy and look her best. Neglecting to groom your cat or improper grooming might result in an unhappy kitty with a permanent bad hair day. To avoid this, learn how to correctly groom your cat's coat.
Brushing your cat's coat helps to distribute natural oils, eliminates dirt, reduces loose hairs floating around the house and minimizes hairballs, tangles and mats. If you have a short-haired cat, a weekly brushing is sufficient. Brush a medium-long haired cat two to three times a week and brush long-haired cats daily, because they're prone to mats. Brush your cat after play or feeding time, when she's in a relaxed state. Start with short, five- to 10-minute grooming sessions and extend the duration as you see fit.
A stiff bristle brush is ideal for grooming short-haired cats and a long-toothed metal brush is best for medium- or long-haired cats. You might have to try different combs and brushes to find out what your cat likes. When grooming, run the comb or brush against the direction of the hair growth to help loosen the dead hairs and then brush in the direction of the hair growth. Work from your cat's head to her tail and make sure to be extra gentle around her chest and belly area. Your cat should never feel any pain as you brush her coat.
Tangles and mats can make your cat's relaxing grooming session a stressful experience. Constant tugging and picking at her coat might upset your pet companion. If you come across tangled or matted hair, use your hands to separate the knot as much as you can and gently comb out the hair. Use a mat rake or mat-breaking comb if you have one. Avoid using scissors to cut matted hair and if your cat has severe matting, consider taking her to a professional groomer.
Cats constantly groom and wash their coats by licking themselves. Surprising your cat with a daily bath is not her idea of a good time and can result in a dull, dry or flaky coat. Cats only need to be washed sporadically -- wash her if her coat is visibly dirty, greasy or oily. Quickly dip your cat into warm water to moisten her coat and lather cat shampoo according to the packaging instructions. Thoroughly rinse off the shampoo with water. Alternatively, use cat bathing wipes if the use of water appears problematic.
Grooming your cat from a young age makes it easier to groom her as an adult, because she'll grow used to the regular grooming sessions. If all goes right, it'll be something both parties look forward to. If you've been properly grooming your cat and her coat appears dull, talk to your veterinarian to determine whether a health condition is to blame. Your cat's diet might also affect how her coat looks. To avoid a mineral or vitamin deficiency, feed her quality food that contains fats, carbohydrates and proteins.
Kimberly Caines is a well traveled model, writer and licensed physical fitness trainer who was first published in 1997. Her work has appeared in the Dutch newspaper "De Overschiese Krant" and on various websites. Caines holds a degree in journalism from Mercurius College in Holland and is writing her first novel.