WHY SHOULD YOU GROOM YOUR CAT?
While dog grooming is considered a must, the grooming of our feline companions is deemed unimportant, even though they sleep on our beds, play with our children and generally, as all cat owners and lovers know, take control of the entire home. What better point can be made for grooming our furry friends? A regularly groomed cat is a healthier and happier cat which sheds less and rarely suffers from hair balls.
“Cats groom themselves” – true, but they do so to keep their bodies cool and to remove debris and loose hair, which consequently results in the development of hair balls. Also, let’s remember: saliva is not soap!
GROOMING AT HOME VS PROFESSIONAL
I would advise every cat owner to regularly brush their cat at home.
Home grooming, for a starter, makes cat used to be touched with objects such as brush or a comb, which is a good thing. What is not so good is that many times owners repeatedly brush over the same area; most often it would be the back, along the spine, because their pet feels comfortable with this and allows them to do it. I have seen quite few Persian cats with heavily matted bellies but neatly brushed and almost bald backs.
The benefit of professional cat grooming is twofold: on one side, it is beneficial for cat’s health as it is the only way of fur balls prevention and it certainly brings out your cat’s natural beauty. On the other side, as regularly groomed cats shed significantly less, it greatly reduces the amount of cat hair on your clothes and in your homes as well as the amount of dander (made up of dried saliva and dead skin cells) which is one of the major environmental allergens.
Even short hair cats get greasy fur, which stands up in small clumps and can often be covered with tiny white flakes – dandruff, which is not to be confused with dander (invisible to naked eye). Dandruff, much like in humans, is unsightly and persistent condition. In most cases it can be tackled by regular grooming which should include nice moisturising baths. However, considering that dandruff is caused by skin dermatitis, in cases of severe skin flaking I would recommend visit to a vet who could rule out any possible underlying issues.
Cats remove the top layer of hair by licking and swallowing (resulting in regularly hacking up fur balls); the very fine hair of the undercoat stays untouched. Instead of sleek and shiny, cat’s fur obtains almost sheep like appearance. On top of that, whenever you stroke it, an enormous amount of hair sticks to the palm of your hand and flies around, landing on your floors, clothes or furniture. If you ever watched your cat sitting in a sunny spot and vigorously scratching, (as they do – scratching is normal behaviour unless excessive) you have certainly observed a thick cloud of hair lifting up in the air and then slowly falling down on your carpet. This is bad enough in a single cat household, but can you imagine how awful it must be where multiple cats share living space with their human companions! Have you ever had a chance to look into a washing machine drum of a multi-cat household? No? You would be surprised.
Another feature of cats’ fur is that it absorbs smells easily; as a groomer, I often come across cats that give out a whiff of cigarettes odour or someone’s last night dinner.
Cats’ fur can easily get matted, especially in long-haired or older/overweight cats who find hard to reach certain parts of their bodies. The intimate areas of long haired cats, being indoor or outdoor, often are urine stained yellow and smelly. Persian or Chinchillas are notorious for having permanent tear stains.
When a smallest particle, like a tiny clump of litter or a loose bit of a grass gets stuck in cat’s hair, it forms a knot that actually gets worse when cat repeatedly licks over it in attempt to remove it. One of my own cats tends to constantly bring in dried out slugs tangled in her hair. If these tightly tangled mats of hair are left untreated they will continue forming on top of each other until beautiful cat’s coat becomes a pelt. Thick pelt is heaven for fleas and many other skin parasites.
Matted hair is not only aesthetically displeasing, but it is very unpleasant, even painful for a cat. Wet hair gets matted easier, so the outdoors cats are more prone to mats than indoors cats. Longhaired coats, especially those with very fine hair are more likely to get matted than those with shorter and thicker hair texture.
In elderly cats matting often occurs either due to hyperthyroidism that changes hair quality making it easier to knot, or due to arthritic stiffness which makes it difficult to cat to lick hard to reach areas, such as hips or back. Depressed cats, even if young and healthy, sometimes stop grooming which can lead to matting even is shorthair cats.
Mats cause major discomfort and even pain as they are very close to the skin and cats need our help to with prevention and treatment. Cat’s skin is almost as thin as a cigarette paper and very easy to cut or rip, which is why it is the best to leave mats removal to a professional groomer or a vet and never try to cut of mats with scissors.
- In conclusion, even when your cat licks itself enthusiastically all over to remove debris and lose hair, it does it with a saliva, so that does not make it clean.
- Different breeds have different grooming requirements
- In long-haired, elderly or overweight cats unsightly and painful hair matting can easily occur. You can avoid your pet having a matted coat by grooming regularly at home, or by bringing your cat into the salon on a regular basis.
- Properly introduced, a thorough de-greasing bath and blow-dry will bring out natural beauty of your cat’s coat, help preventing hairballs, matting, lower allergens and significantly reduce shedding around your house.