Cleaning fur and claws is important for all cats, and they spend a large part of the day cleaning themselves. But most cats, especially the long-haired ones, need a little extra care from you as a cat owner. Here are some tips.
There is a lot to gain when it comes to taking care of your cat’s fur. First of all, it improves your relationship and gives you a better chance of detecting changes in your cat’s behavior and its general state of health. For a long-haired cat, regular fur care also reduces the risk of tangles and the amount of cat hair in your home. A short-haired cat does not have the same need for fur care but it will probably appreciate a little extra attention and cuddling on a regular basis.
Establish a routine
Study your cat’s normal washing behavior and start a daily routine based on it. Many cats wash themselves after eating, so it may be a good idea to introduce the routine at meal time. Start already when your cat is a kitten for the best opportunity that it learns to appreciate the handling. Exercise during short sessions and reward your cat regularly to encourage it. It is important to also check the cat’s claws.
Outdoor cats should be a little careful when cutting the claws, as they need them to climb and possibly defend themselves. But sometimes the claws grow obliquely and can damage the toes and pads and then they need to be cut. An indoor cat may need more regular hoof care as it does not wear its claws in the same natural way as an outdoor cat.
How to do it
Find a place that is comfortable for both you and your cat. Maybe it’s appropriate to have the cat standing on a table or you feel better on the floor. If the cat accepts it, it can be good to have it in your lap during fur care. Use a brush or comb.
Many cats do not like to be brushed on the hind legs, stomach and under the tail. Therefore, start by brushing the fur in the areas where most cats like to be brushed, for example around the head and neck. When the cat accepts this, you can gently move the brush towards the areas it is more skeptical of.
Claw clipping often requires training for the cat to accept it. Use ball pliers for cats and start slowly and gently, as well as reward with cuddles or something you know your cat likes. Make sure you do not cut too close to the pulp as it is painful for your cat and may cause claw clipping to be associated with something negative in the future.
Hard to reach areas
Long-haired cats easily develop tangles if they are not brushed regularly. If the cat has tangles in the fur, these need to be brushed out carefully. Use one hand to hold the felt and the other hand to brush it. This reduces the risk of the cat being bitten, which is painful. If the cat has large or extensive tufts, the only solution may be to cut or shave the tufts. Always be careful when using scissors or a clipper and do not hesitate to contact your veterinarian for guidance.
If you notice a change in the cat’s fur care behavior
If you notice a change in your cat’s fur care behavior, such as decreased or excessive washing, it may be an early sign of illness. Bald spots that can occur due to intense licking, or dermatitis, ie inflamed skin, can be the result of underlying problems. Likewise if the coat becomes dull, oily or mottled. Contact your veterinarian if your cat’s behavior deviates from normal.