Persian cats exude regal elegance, but their long coats require daily care. If you melt for the large round eyes and flat face but cringe at the extensive grooming, the exotic shorthair is your answer. He is essentially a Persian cat with a shorter coat, and thus requires less grooming.
Because of his rough, sandpapery tongue, you may think your exotic can essentially brush himself as he grooms to remove loose, dead hair and keep his coat looking fresh and clean. While this regular self-grooming does help keep his coat clean, his little tongue cannot get all the way through his thick coat. As the undercoat sheds, the hairs can get tangled and cause mats, even with your cat's regular grooming. Brush him at least twice a week with a metal comb, slicker brush or pin brush, to get through his entire coat and remove the loose hair before it mats.
Contrary to popular belief, you can bathe a cat. He may not like it, and will let you know he doesn't, but sometimes it's necessary. Exotics should get a bath once a month or so to remove loose hair and keep the coat looking healthy and clean. Start bathing him as early in life as possible so he'll learn to at least accept the chore, if not like it.
Run your hands through his thick, poofy coat as you wet him, to help the water penetrate through to his skin. Massage some cat shampoo into a lather, and work it through his coat, then rinse the same way you wet him – by running your hands through the coat to remove all the shampoo residue. Always blow him dry using a hair dryer on a low-heat setting and give him a quick brushing to finish the job.
Eye and Nose Care
Exotics have flat faces just like their Persian cousins, and with these smooshed faces come specific grooming issues to watch for. Your kitty's large eyes tend to tear excessively, causing tear stains. Wipe away any discharge or tear gunk with a cotton ball and warm water. That turned-up nose can cause breathing problems or allow water in when you bathe your pal, so clean his nose with a cotton ball, and take care not to splash water into his face as you scrub him down.
Ears and Nails
Cat ears are a haven for mites and infection, which can lead to hearing damage and injury from frantic scratching. Your exotic shorthair does a pretty good job of keeping his ears clean himself, but check them once a week to make sure they look clean and healthy. If necessary, you can use a commercial ear cleaner and cotton ball to remove excess wax and dirt. See your vet if his ears are red, swollen, or have an unusual discharge.
Offer Kitty a scratching post to keep his nails worn down, or have a groomer or vet show you how to cut them safely yourself if they get too long. Cat claws will bleed if cut too short, leaving the cat in pain and you with a few new scratches yourself as he scrambles to get away. Have a professional show you how to trim his claws safely.
Jane Williams began her writing career in 2000 as the writer and editor of a nationwide marketing company. Her articles have appeared on various websites. Williams briefly attended college for a degree in administration before embarking on her writing career.