It is not surprising that cats are naturally clean animals. Cats are known to use their tongue and paw to clean themselves, but this does not mean you can skip grooming your cat. There are so many cat parents that are unaware of the need to brush their feline friend or how often should they brush their cats.
If you do not know what you are doing, grooming a cat can be tough. At times it may seem that the grooming process is more stressful than it needs to be. Grooming may sound simple, but there are some risks to your cat involved if you are unaware of how to complete this care properly. Let us look more into the benefits, frequency, technique, and mistakes of brushing your cat.
Benefits of Brushing Your Cat
Surprisingly, there are a lot of cat owners out there that have never tried to brush their cats. What are the benefits of brushing your cat? Well, let us take a look at some of the key benefits that derive from regularly brushing your feline.
- Benefit #1: Cats constantly have dead hair embedded in their coats from shedding. This dead hair needs to be taken out of their coats as well as any dirt or dust.
- Benefit #2: Cats lick themselves often. They are diligent groomers, after all. If you do not brush your cat to remove all the dirt, dust, and dead hair, this filth gets ingested every single time they lick themselves.
- Benefit #3: The spreading of natural oils and increasing blood circulations occurs when you brush your cat regularly. This will give your cat a shiny coat and keep their skin healthy.
- Benefit #4: Mats and tangles occur when your cat does not get groomed. Infection, pain and more can happen to your cat if matting becomes a problem.
- Benefit #5: Bonding is more likely to happen between you and your cat if you are brushing them on a frequent basis.
How Often Should You Brush Your Cat?
Brushing your cat should be a great experience that your cat enjoys, especially when done correctly. One of the things you may be curious about is how often to brush your cat.
As expected, short-haired cats do not need to be brushed as often as long-haired cats. For a short-haired cat, you can expect to need to brush them two or three times a month. A cat with long hair shed their coats throughout the year. This may lead to your cat needing to be brushed once or twice every week. Daily brushing is better for cats that have denser hair or if they shed a lot.
Short-haired cats may go through shedding seasons. This is brought on by the length of daylight rather than the change in temperature. Given this, short-haired cats with less access to natural light may also shed year-round. Most cat owners notice more shedding at the end of winter and the beginning of summer. Taking notice of your cat’s shedding habits may help you better understand how frequently to brush them.
Due to common problems such as arthritis and back pain, the older cats will not be able to perform self-grooming as young cat. These older cats require more attention to brushing their coat, which may require you to groom them more often than what you did for them in their younger years.
A cat’s comfort is important. Therefore, it is okay to brush on an as-needed basis for those felines that would rather just not be brushed. You do want to work on building up your cat’s tolerance over time, though.
Although brushing can lead to a bond with your cat, too much brushing may also irritate the skin. If any skin problems exist for a cat, such as infections, allergic reactions, a ruined coat, or flea bites, less brushing is necessary, so you do not irritate that skin any more than it is. You should discontinue grooming immediately and take your cat to a vet if you notice your cat is losing a lot of hair, scratching a lot, or has a lot of dandruff.
On the other side, not brushing enough can lead to severe problems for your cat. The less you brush your cat, the more shedding will occur. This is not pleasant for you as much as it is not for your cat. Your cat may appear to be dirty if they are not being brushed enough as well. You may even experience that your cat is not as happy or playful. A groomed cat is a happy cat. Lastly, one of the biggest problems with not brushing your cat enough is hairballs. You may think hairballs are not that serious because cats get them so often, but hairballs do cause health problems such as causing blockages in the intestines. Again, grooming is key to a healthy cat.
Cat Brushing Techniques
Using the right brushes
A good technique with brushing your cat is making sure you have the right brush or comb. Some of the most common cat brushes include bristle brushes, combs, flea combs, and pin brushes. A soft-bristled brush is best for short-haired cats, while a pin brush is best for a long-haired cat. A regular pet comb with wider teeth at one end and narrow teeth at the other end is a metal comb that should be used on the cat’s coat after brushing it to locate any other remaining tangles.
Using cat treats when grooming
Motivating a cat with treats can make the grooming experience more acceptable. It is most important to use a treat your cat normally does not get so that it can work as a motivator and reward.
Start brushing your cat when they are young.
It is best to introduce brushing when they are a kitten. While holding the kitten gently, work a small soft-bristled brush or even a fine-toothed comb through their coat. Just start with fifteen seconds of brushing as the kitten becomes more comfortable with it.
Choose the right time
Be wise when choosing what time to brush your cat. Choose a time when your cat is curled up on you and is in a calm state. This is key to a quiet and relaxed brushing session.
Be Gentle, change brushes or comb when needed
Always brush the coat of your cat in the direction their hair grows. Cats do not like when a brush is moving through them in the opposite direction. Switch to a comb if you run into a tangle with the brush. Be gentle not to pull the hair and if the comb does not work, feel free to use a drop of hair conditioner.
Never cut a matt or tangle out of your cat’s coat. If the hair is pulled straight out to be cut, the skin will pull as the cat’s skin is very thin and flexible. This will cause harm to your cat that may result in medical attention.
Always follow up with a comb after brushing your cat’s full coat. The comb will catch anything you may have missed.
Cat Brushing Mistakes
We are human, and we make mistakes. Even when it comes to a simple task as brushing your cat. Just as we have discussed above, here are some mistakes that are made in the process:
- Thinking you do not have to brush your cat at all– Just because a cat can self-groom, it does not mean you should neglect to brush them, especially if they are older.
- You are not using the right brush for your cat- Always make sure you have the right tools before beginning.
- Trying to remove mats incorrectly– Always be gentle, cautious, and patient when removing any mats.
- You are making the grooming session unpleasant- Always use patience and understanding with your cat’s needs. A cat needs to be in a calm, positive, and acceptable state for you to continue with grooming.
As we have learned, brushing your cat regularly keeps them clean, healthy, and happy. Learning the benefits, frequently grooming, discovering the techniques, and knowing what common mistakes to avoid, will make for a better grooming experience for both your cat and you. As a bonus, you will discover that your bond becomes stronger.