This article is written by Jesse from our Katikati clinic. 

Lots of people think that cats are low maintenance pets that only need the occasional brush. This can be true of some short haired cats but even they benefit from a weekly grooming session. Long haired breeds are a different story. Long haired types ideally need to be groomed once a day to maintain a healthy coat. Grooming is also a great time to bond with your cat!

Grooming short haired cats:
Short haired types generally only need grooming once a week, although this can change depending on the seasons and times of shedding. A soft bristle brush and a rubber de-shedding brush would be sufficient grooming tools for your short haired cat. The aim is to remove any dead hairs from the coat which will promote shiny, healthy fur and improved blood flow in the skin.

Jesse’s cat Leon.

Grooming long haired cats:
Long haired cats need to be groomed regularly; ideally daily to maintain a healthy, knot free coat. The biggest problems we see with long haired types are the build-up of dead undercoats, painful knots and hairballs.

Lots of long haired cats appear to be very poofy but most of the time this is due to a build-up of dead undercoat that the cats can’t remove on their own. Most domestic long hairs should actually have a coat that is soft and falls down like a waterfall rather than being thick and fluffy all over. Matting is also a massive problem we see very frequently. Matts cannot be brushed out and must be removed by electric clippers; most cats do not tolerate this without sedation. Matts are incredibly uncomfortable for the cat and can even cause significant bruising. Hairballs also pose a problem as the cats swallow dead hair and cannot digest it, it builds up in the stomach and is then vomited up (often onto the carpet). All of these problems can be avoided with regular brushing.

Recommended grooming tools:

  • A soft bristle brush
  • A metal de-shedding rake
  • A rubber curry brush
  • A metal comb
  • Claw scissors

Helpful tips and tricks:

  • Start your grooming routine when they’re young, as this way your cat will learn to accept brushing from infancy.
  • Try using different combs and brushes, and choose ones that are appropriate for the length of your cat’s coat. Bristles can be hard, soft, wire, or pin, and you can also use grooming gloves that you wear over the hand. Softer brushes tend to make cats more comfortable, so consider starting with soft brushes and working your way up to the harder ones, which tend to be more effective.
  • Keep brushes next to where your cat likes to nap so you can quickly seize the moment to groom your feline friend.
  • Use human toothbrushes for hard-to-reach areas such as the spots around the ears.
  • Start with gentle strokes to get your cat in the mood, and start with the back of the brush to get your cat used to the brush.
  • Make sure the room or space is silent, relaxed, and free of other stimulation such as playing children, other pets or excessive noise.
  • Give your cat treats afterwards so they will learn to associate grooming time with positive outcomes. Always end on good terms with a rub and treat.
  • Groom for short amounts of time and often. Long grooming sessions can over stimulate your cat.