Not everyone who owns a cat considers cat grooming to be an important aspect of cat-care. While nearly every dog owner will tell you that keeping your dog well groomed is a big deal, cats are generally thought of to be self-cleaning. This is somewhat accurate, but it isn’t entirely true. While cats are exceptionally good at keeping themselves neat and clean, there are some cases in which grooming is important, and there are also times when grooming can make a big difference in the quality of your cat’s health.
The first thing to consider when it comes to cat grooming is your cat’s fur type. Cats with short hair generally require very little grooming – some quick brushing and petting is usually enough to rid them of excess shedding fur. If you have a long haired cat, however, brushing can be extremely important. Cats like Persians, Angoras, Himalayans, and Maine Coons have long and silky fur that becomes easily tangled. If left neglected, these types of coats can develop thick and painful mats of hair that tug against the skin and cause bald patches or sores. If a cat’s fur becomes severely matted in this way, sometimes the only option is to remove it by shaving it all off. However, you can save your cat’s beautiful fur from this fate with simple, daily brushing.
Long haired cats may need to be brushed more often, but your cat will benefit from brushing regardless of the length of her coat. If your cat is prone to hairballs, especially, try brushing more regularly. Brushing even a little every day can drastically cut down on hairballs, Which will be a relief both for you and your cat.
Whether long haired or short haired, cats do tend to do a pretty good job of grooming themselves; even if they can use extra help sometimes, the average cat can get along fine with very little assistance from you. However, there are always exceptions, and one exception to this rule is when you have a sick cat.
If your cat is grooming excessively – grooming to the point that she develops sores on the skin or bald spots – it is probably a sign that she is sick or over-stressed. On the flip side, another warning sign that your cat is feeling under the weather is that they will suddenly not groom themselves as regularly, or they may stop grooming altogether. If you notice that your cat is lethargic and doesn’t show any interest in taking care of their fur, take them to the vet and get them on whatever treatment plan they need to start feeling better. Kitties like to be clean, and when they aren’t, it’s a sign of trouble.
Elderly cats may become stiff in the joints, and have difficulty reaching all the places that used to be cared for quite easily. A sick cat may not have the energy to groom herself, as cats who are ill may spend almost all of their time sleeping. If your cat is sick or recovering from an illness, it’s important to help them keep up with their grooming – either do it yourself or hire a professional groomer. Not only will you be making your cat look better (and protecting your couch from an onslaught of shed cat hair!), but you’ll actually be helping your cat feel better, and likely recover faster.
Cats are clean creatures by nature, and they can become incredibly stressed when their coats are matted or when they aren’t able to groom themselves. Stress in animals – just like in people – is a detriment to good health. By keeping your cat well groomed throughout their life, and even (especially!) when they aren’t feeling well, you can lower stress and help speed recovery.
If you have any questions about your cat’s health and grooming, don’t hesitate to contact us today.