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How To Care For Your Cat: Grooming, Nails, and Teeth

Cats will have similar grooming requirements depending on the type of coat they have. Most cats are very concerned with cleanliness and will often spend hours grooming themselves. Shorthaired cats, in particular, seem to need very little grooming. You may brush them in order to aid them in loosening dead fur or removing detached hairs from the coat. Because cats lick themselves, they may ingest a great number of hairs on a daily basis. This can cause problems in some cats and your veterinarian may recommend a hairball remover.

Brushing your cat regularly is a good idea. Not only does it aid the cat and reduce the amount of hair shed in your home, but it will give you the opportunity to physically feel over your cat. Any problems like lumps or bumps or external parasites can be identified by such a process and may be called to your veterinarian’s attention or removed before they develop into more serious problems. It will also give you a period of quiet bonding with your animal that you both may look forward to. Generally cats will need to become accustomed to grooming. This may be done most easily when they are kittens. You should brush them and handle their paws and teeth regularly. Older cats who are not used to being brushed may take some time to get used to the idea. Use patience and be gentle; a cat will remember a bad or painful experience for a very long time.

A rubber or natural bristle brush may be used for short-haired cats. They may be able to be groomed as little as once each week. Long-haired cats will need to be groomed more often to prevent them from becoming uncomfortably tangled or matted. You may wish to use a comb or a wire pin brush. These may have soft bases, and the pins may come in different length and different spacing. Some have plastic heads that will prevent the pins from scratching your cat’s skin. If your cat is very matted, you may wish to try to work some of the mats out using a wide toothed comb, a mat splitter, or a bath in crème rinse. In extreme cases, some cats may need the matted fur shaved.

You may wish to have a groomer help with matted fur. Some people may wish to make regular appointments with a groomer rather than brushing their cat at home. Even if you do regularly groom your cat yourself, you may wish to see a groomer if you plan to show your cat. When choosing a groomer, you may want to consult your veterinarian or people you know. Ask them for recommendations and personally examine the groomer’s shop before you bring your animal in for an appointment. Be sure that it is clean, and that the grooming implements are clean. The groomer’s shop should not smell unpleasant and many experienced cat owners will ask which products the groomer will be using on the cat or which types of cats he or she has had experience dealing with.

Although cats regularly bathe themselves with their tongues, from time to time you may need to bathe your cat. It may not be a good idea to bathe your cat on a regular basis, as this can irritate or dry its skin. Some people may wish to bring their cats to the groomer for bathing, as it can be a formidable task. Most cats do not like to get wet. If you are bathing your cat at home, you should try to make sure that the water is neither too hot nor too cold. Submerge your hand in the water. It should be a comfortable temperature and feel gently warm. Many people will try to bathe cats in their sinks, as the animal may be easier to control or confine in a smaller space. Some people prefer to use their bathtubs or another free standing tub or bucket. Before bathing your cat, if it will allow it, you should squeeze a few drops of waterproofing ointment into its eyes and place a cotton ball in each of its ears. This will prevent potentially irritating bath water and products out of your cat’s sensitive eyes and ears. You should also brush your cat thoroughly in order to remove loose hairs that may reduce the effectiveness of cleaning products as well as clogging your drain. Before shampooing your cat, drench its coat thoroughly in water.

Although some people will use baby shampoo on their cats, it is important to use a shampoo specifically formulated for cats. Human shampoos may irritate feline skins. Also, cats will generally lick their fur after a bath, and human shampoo can leave toxic residue. Cat shampoos are commercially sold and specially formulated to be non-toxic and gentle to your cat’s skin. No matter how non-toxic the shampoo claims to be, however, it is still important to rinse all of it out of your cat’s coat. Coat conditioners and crème rinses may also be used while bathing your cat. They may also aid you in detangling the fur of long – haired cats. Because some cats have sensitive skins, you may wish to test the product you plan to use on your pet on a small area of its body before dousing your cat in the product. If your cat does develop a problem with the use of a product, you should discontinue using it and consult with your veterinarian. Be sure to read and follow package instructions unless otherwise indicated by your veterinarian. After bathing your cat, be sure it stays warm. This may be one reason why you may not wish to bathe your cat out of doors.

Cold, wet cats can become stressed and therefore more susceptible to infections. Also, a wet cat out of doors can become quickly muddy. Cats with long hair may need to be combed gently and well after a bath to prevent matting and tangles. Short-haired cats are often effectively rubbed down briskly with a towel to remove the majority of the moisture from their coats. Some people will choose to blow dry their cats, especially if they have show animals. Many cats do not like the noise a blow dryer makes and may become nervous. Be sure that the air is not too hot for your cat. They may also try to rub themselves over your carpet or furniture. For this reason, it might be best to keep your cat in a room where it cannot do damage by getting anything else wet. After its bath, the cat may spend hours licking and preening in order to get its fur back into place.

In addition to skin and coat maintenance, there are other areas of your cat’s body that may need to be tended to. These include nails and teeth. Although cats usually do a very good job of keeping their claws in good shape, kittens may have sharp little claws or pointed hooks on their claws. Some veterinarians will clip these off when they are vaccinating your kitten. Normally, you will never have to trim your cat’s claws. If for some reason you must, use care. Some people prefer to use a file. Simply purchase a file or cat nail clippers at your local pet supply. You may wish to have two people present when attempting to trim your cat’s nails; one to restrain the animal, and one to trim. Some styptic powder may also be kept on hand along with some cotton swabs. Many cats may struggle violently; often this is due to the cat’s being upset at the restraint than because it is unwilling to have its nails touched. Because cats’ claws are retractable, you will have to extend the claw in order to clip the nails. To do this, hold the paw gently but firmly. You should place your forefinger under the largest pad of the cat’s food and very gently roll your thumb down over the top of the paw. Or, use your thumb to press the pad and your fingers to roll down the toes.

Generally, this will aid you in exposing the claw. The goal in trimming your cat’s nails is to trim off the very tip of the nail, or, in kittens, the sharp hook. If you cut too far into the cat’s claw, you may harm your pet. There is a sensitive area running down the middle of each nail that can bleed if you cut into it. This will not seriously harm the cat, but can cause pain and certainly will not make your animal receptive to a future nail clipping. Also, it may impair your cat’s ability to climb trees or even walk if you cut its nails too far down. The nails will quickly grow out again, and your cat will be able to move normally within a few days. In order to prevent discomfort to your animal, however, you should clip only tiny amounts off the nail little by little until the sharp tip is removed. If for some reason you do plan on clipping your cat’s nails regularly, you will find it easier to achieve such a task if your pet is used to having its paws handled. In order to accustom your cat to nail clipping, handle its paws when you are being affectionate with it.

Your cat’s teeth may need regular cleaning and brushing, just as yours do. This will become especially important in older cats who may begin to suffer from tooth decay. Cats with dental problems may stop eating and suffer from starvation and nutritional disorders. You can help maintain good dental health by brushing your cat’s teeth at home. Cat toothpaste and toothbrushes are available, and brushing your cat’s teeth on a regular basis will help accustom it to having its mouth touched, making the process easier. It is not advisable to use human formulated toothpastes for such a purpose, as these can upset your cat’s stomach. Your veterinarian may recommend regular dental cleanings and exams at a clinic. He or she may also show you the proper way to brush your cat’s teeth or help you determine the interval at which you should do this.

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