I was blessed with my kitties, because they love to be brushed. I like to see it as sort of a bonding time, and they love it because it feels good and they get a treat afterward. If your cats aren’t inclined to love a good brushing, I have compiled a list of ways to facilitate grooming that might make the process more pleasurable for both you and your cat.
If you walk down the grooming aisle of your favorite pet store, you might notice that there are tons of options for brushing and grooming your cat. What type of brush you need depends on the type of cat you have.
If you have a short hair cat, they rarely need to be brushed because their fur doesn’t mat up nearly as much. When I was fostering a short hair cat, I only used a comb to brush his fur. I think he was upset that his “brother” was getting all the attention and wanted to play along. Either that or he wanted the “cookies” afterward. A grooming glove would work in this instance: it’s a glove with rubber fingers on one side. You place the glove on your hand and stroke and pet your cat to get rid of excess hair.
If you have a medium-to-long hair cat, I would recommend getting a pin bristle brush. These are the brushes that look like a bunch of pins on a handle. My medium hair cat goes nuts over this one. For a special treat, I brush against the direction of the hair growth. Be careful with this method as many cats might not like this. My medium hair is a big boy that can take that kind of “abuse”. Be sure to clean out the brush and go over your cat’s fur a few more times to get a lot of the undercoat out.
There are lots of deshedding tools on the market as well. You might even see one next to the brushes that looks like a giant teardrop on a handle. I’ve never had luck with these kinds of tools, as they don’t really help “deshedding”. Plus, it’s scary looking and might freak your cat out. I do have a deshedder called “The Furminator” (www.furminator.com). These deshedding tools look like giant razors. There are many different sizes available (mostly for large dogs) but these are a sort of “one size fits all” type of deshedding tool.
How it works: grasp the handle firmly and make short strokes over your cat’s fur in the direction of the hair growth. DO NOT go against the hair growth; this will cause the hair to get tangled and rip out. Your kitty will be in pain and that is the last thing you want to do. I have found this deshedder actually works well at getting at the undercoat; whether or not it actually prevents shedding is a matter of opinion.
If your cat happens to get a mat (it might happen despite your best efforts to keep him groomed), there is an easier way to get it out than cutting it. I use an eyebrow brush! You can find these in the beauty aisle near the makeup brushes. One won’t set you back more than a few dollars. Find the mat in your cat’s fur and gently comb it out with the tiny brush. Your cat might get confused and think you’re playing, but keep at it. Pretty soon, the mat will be gone and your cat will be tangle-free.
Be careful not to overstimulate your cat while brushing him. You’ll know when it’s time to take a break when his tail starts to twitch or his ears go back. If you ignore these signs and keep going, you might just get a claw swipe or a bite.
I generally don’t recommend bathing your cat unless he gets super dirty. Giving your cat an actual bath in the bathtub might be traumatizing for him (and painful for you if he’s got claws). In the same grooming aisle, there might be a few options as far as dry shampoo goes. There are the pump style and “cat wipes”.
The pump style shampoos are generally foamy and can be applied to your cat’s fur without the use of water. This is a tricky situation as the shampoo feels wet to the cat and this could freak them out. Before applying the dry shampoo to your cat, make sure you have a pair of gloves handy and are enclosed in a small space (such as the laundry room or the bathroom). Start out by petting your cat and talking to him in a calm voice. It also helps to have a few treats on hand to make the job easier. After your cat is calm, start applying the shampoo in sections. Start out with the “dirtiest” section first, just in case your cat gets frightened and you need to stop. The gloves help in case the loose hair sticks to your hand. If you were able to apply the dry shampoo successfully, give your kitty a vigorous rub with a clean, dry towel. Free your cat from the room and he’ll finish the bath himself.
If the dry shampoo doesn’t work, you can always try cat wipes. These are just like baby wipes. You take one out and rub it over your cat’s fur. It doesn’t give him the “deep clean” that the dry shampoo does, but it does take away surface dirt. Your cat will take care of the rest.
I can’t stress how important it is to reward your cat for a good grooming session. After they sit through a brushing, give them a few treats and praise them for being good. Before each brushing, wave your grooming tool in the air and ask if they want to be brushed. Soon they’ll learn that once you grab a hold of the handle, treats are soon to follow.
Hopefully this article will give you some insight on great ways to groom your cat. If you’re unsure as to whether a specific product will be good for your cat, it never hurts to ask the staff at the pet store. Most of all, be patient with your kitty and reward him for a job well done.