Grooming? The cat does it himself. Anyway, we see our furry friends sleeping most of the time. Or just while cleaning. We will show you why you should still support your cat with grooming, how to get a nice shiny coat and how best to do it.
Why should you help cats with grooming?
The question almost answers itself when you look at the facts about cat fur. There are a total of 25,000 hairs (or a few more or fewer) per square centimetre. With so much maintenance work, who wouldn’t like to be given a helping hand? Especially since the cat’s coat is not a uniform head of hair. It consists of the undercoat and the top coat as well as three types of hair that are of different lengths and have different properties.
The wool hairs are fine, soft hairs that form an insulating layer directly on the cat’s skin. They make up what is known as the undercoat, also known as the undercoat. The so-called guard hairs are somewhat longer and firmer. Their thickening below the hair tip gives the coat length and volume. Together with the guard hairs, they form the top coat that determines the color and pattern of the coat. The guide hairs can be erected with small muscles at the hair roots. They are responsible for cats literally bristling with fur, e.g. B. if they are threatened. Depending on the proportion and condition of the undercoat and top coat, the different breeds are assigned to one of the following three categories:
Due to this nature, the fur fulfills various functions. From isolation to protection from water and injury to threatening gestures. All this is only possible through the fur. Through the skin, it also becomes a mirror of the state of health of your four-legged friend. Injuries, parasites or even inflammation often show up as tangles, encrustations or bleeding spots. If the fur is dull and greasy in some areas, the cat cannot reach it when cleaning. An injury or painful joints, e.g. B. in old age, the mobility of the animal. An overall dull, greasy and foul-smelling coat can be caused by a lack of important nutrients such as vitamins and trace elements. On the other hand, a shiny, clean coat with a smooth coat of hair is a sign that everything is in order. Is your cat suffering from dull, greasy or maybe even scaly fur? Then you will find help in this article: “Dull cat fur – what to do?”
Given the importance and volume of fur, it is clear that good grooming is important to a cat’s well-being. However, old animals in particular are often overwhelmed and dependent on support from their humans.
Do all cats need grooming assistance?
Clearly it would be better. Because: A cat grooms itself for up to five hours a day to get its head of hair under control. She not only loosens knots and tangles by nibbling, but also licks the fur with her tongue so that loose hairs get caught on the small hooks of the tongue and are removed. The hair is swallowed and collects in a ball on its way through the stomach and intestines. It has to come out again, otherwise there is a risk of an intestinal blockage. So that this doesn’t happen, the cat keeps choking out the notorious hairball. This is not particularly nice for the cat or for us humans. It therefore makes sense for both of you if you support your cat with a comb and brush so that the loose hair does not end up in the stomach in the first place.
This is of course particularly important for animals such as Persian cats with particularly long and thick fur. The often extreme breeds can no longer cope with the large volume of fur on their own and tend to become matted even with extensive self-care.
But of course the principle is the same for all races and equally useful. Medium-length cats like the Norwegian Forest Cat and the popular Maine Coon will also benefit from your support, and even shorthair cats like the British Shorthair or Bengal would appreciate a little help. Especially twice a year during the change of coat. When the dense undercoat thins out in spring and builds up again in autumn, large amounts of hair accumulate.
Support with grooming not only protects your cat’s stomach, but also your clothes and sofa cushions. Any hair that falls out that the cat doesn’t clean away collects on them.
The more the cat is outside, the less you will have to help with grooming. Because when rambling through the bushes, one or the other tuft of hair on trees is stripped off. Nevertheless, there is still enough loose hair in the fur that can and should be removed during a cuddly grooming session.
What happens if grooming is neglected?
If fur care is neglected and the cat cannot keep up, the fur can no longer perform its protective function optimally. In addition, tangles in the fur can pull at the skin with every movement. A dirty, matted coat also quickly attracts unwanted visitors. And fleas and other parasites don’t want either you or your cat. In the worst case, the swallowed hair can also solidify into such large hairballs that it can no longer be vomited out. This seriously affects your cat’s well-being and can lead to an intestinal obstruction and surgery.
If you want to know more about matted cat fur, the following article will interest you: “Removing matted fur from cats – how it works!”.
What helps cats with grooming?
Basically what also helps us humans with our daily hair care. To brush. To brush. And brushes. However, shampoos and care products for cat fur have no place in cat fur care and are only indicated in absolute emergencies! On the other hand, it is correct to support the health of the fur through nutrition.
Brushing your cat – everything you need to know!
The many benefits of brushing your cat more than outweigh the 15-30 minutes it takes. Removing the loose hair keeps the coat clean and functional, contributing to your cat’s well-being. More importantly, it removes loose hair that doesn’t end up in the cat’s stomach, on you, or in your home. There are a few other benefits to brushing your cat regularly:
- Promotion of blood circulation in the skin;
- Acceleration of the coat change;
- Strengthening the bond between you and your cat.
Incidentally, cats should not only be supported by brushing twice a year during the change of coat. Long-haired cats should not only be brushed daily at these times. For cats with medium-length or short hair, brushing every other day in spring and autumn is sufficient. But brushing is also part of the regular care of your pet and represents a form of interaction that is good for you and your fur friend. The best thing is not to wait until the fur looks unkempt, the cat sheds a lot of hair or the debris in the litter box resembles strings of pearls. Once the cats are used to the procedure and you bring a little time and love with you, you can’t brush too much.
“Cats shouldn’t only be brushed at the time they shed their fur. If you brush your cat regularly, you contribute significantly to its well-being of the cat. Take your time brushing. Start at the head, then work your way down your back or sides. It is important that you never brush against the direction of growth!”
In order for the joint grooming to be a success, however, you should make sure that you choose the right brush for your cat. There are a variety of models that perform different functions and are therefore better suited to some breeds than others.
Regardless of their purpose, good brushes and combs are characterized by the fact that they feel good in the hand, are not too heavy, and are easy to clean. In addition, if the right model is used correctly, it should not be possible for injuries to occur if the cat moves unexpectedly or if too much pressure is exerted. Products that are suitable for cats and dogs are particularly great for households with several fur friends. Some can even be used on horses. Cheap plastic combs, however, charge the fur and can give the cat and owner an uncomfortable smack. This can spoil the cat’s grooming by its human in the long run. So it is better to avoid these. The same applies to brushes that are intended for a completely different structure of human hair.
In order for joint grooming to be a pleasant time for both parties and to achieve its goal, even small kittens should be accustomed to brushing and combing as early as possible. Whereby the wider brush is more accepted at the beginning than the sharper edges of the comb. Start at the head and slowly work your way down the back to the tail. Then the sides, legs, and paws. Not every cat likes to surrender completely when lying on its back. If the cat doesn’t like having its stomach brushed, you can reach under the standing cat from above and comb its stomach until it has had enough.
Brushing is also a good opportunity to check your furry friend for tangles, burrs, ticks, and injuries. You can only think about scissors or a bath if you come across heavy matting and large-scale soiling, for example from oil, and careful cutting out or wiping does not help. When in doubt, it is better to have the vet do it than traumatize you and your cat. After all, you want to continue to support and pamper your darling with grooming.
Incidentally, at the end of the normal care program, it is advisable to stroke the fur several times with a damp hand. A little moisture won’t frighten your cat. On the contrary, most cats welcome extra stroking. The last loose hairs lying on the fur are removed. And every removed hair does not end up in your cat’s stomach, on the floor, or on clothing! A cat used to the grooming ritual will look forward to spending time together.
Cat can’t be brushed – how to get cat used to the brush?
Does your cat bite when you comb it? Then you have to get used to brushing step by step. It works like this:
- Choose a time when you have time and are relaxed. Then the cat isn’t stressed and doesn’t expect anything “evil”.
- Avoid noise and generally ensure a quiet environment. Keep calm yourself too.
- Place the brush and comb on the floor or in your lap and let the cat become acquainted with it. You can also leave them on the floor for a few days so that your kitty can examine them again and again.
- Start with short, gentle brushing sessions. It is better to have several short brushing taps during a brushing unit than one long brush in a row. You can gradually extend and intensify the units. This gives the cat a sense of achievement and improves its self-control. She sees: “I can take it!”
- If possible, train daily to maintain and build on your progress.
- Reward after brushing. Whether you give a treat or click. The cat should associate the spa time with something positive. Some cats prefer their treat while brushing, while others get too distracted by it. Pastes that are licked slowly and also contain important nutrients for grooming are good.
Tip: Brush & stroke every second
Stroke once when brushing, then brush once and repeat every second. In this way, the cat associates brushing directly with relaxation.
As is so often the case with cats, you prefer to go the indirect route when brushing. Cat won’t brush? Then try to introduce your cat step by step with these instructions. Cat brush with tricks!
Support coat care with nutrition
Prevention is better than treatment. In the case of fur care, too, the way to health is through nutrition. A high-quality feed with a high proportion of proteins and without poorly digestible or harmful additives such as grain, sugar, flavor enhancers, and the like is a basic requirement for the health of your pet in general. Of particular importance for the coat are omega 3 and 6 fatty acids, especially during the change of coat, as well as vitamins, copper, and zinc for the skin. The veterinarian can help determine your cat’s exact needs. Many of these substances are already contained in high-quality lining.
If the coat is dull and greasy or smells unpleasant and other causes can be ruled out, dietary supplements can be used to ensure an increased supply of these substances.
Bearing in mind the occasional hairball that comes with every cat, cat grass and pastes are a good resource for your cat. You can learn more about cat grass in our post: “What is cat grass? Do cats need cat grass?” They help bind the hairs in the stomach and make the bun strong enough to be vomited out. This is particularly important for house cats that have no access to grass in the garden. And for your house plants, which otherwise have to be used. (And just in case: Of course no poisonous plants in the cat household!).
Brush cat? Yes, please! And as often as possible. This not only protects your sofa covers and clothes. Much more important: You help to keep your cat healthy and strengthen your bond through the wellness time together. And how does your fur care look like? What does your four-legged friend think of being brushed? How often do you help your cat with grooming? Let us know and leave a comment!