By Anisha Vengurlekar*

The need of grooming a cat is a highly underrated topic as most of the pet parents are of the assumption that their pet cats prefer to clean themselves on their own by licking and self-grooming. Cats do groom themselves but you can help keep their coat and fur in a good condition through proper grooming techniques. It is highly recommended to brush your long coated and medium coated pets once a week and the short coated ones every two weeks. Grooming makes one aware of any ticks, fleas, wounds, skin ailments or lumps your cat is facing and in turn makes it easy to monitor their health.

Brushing your cat’s fur coat is something which is always overlooked, but it is really important and should not be avoided. Regular brushing keeps your cat’s coat from getting highly tangled and matted as well as keeps a good blood circulation going. Shedding is the natural process of your cat loosing dead hair. Indoor cats can shed all year round. Regular brushing can minimize the inconvenience of shedding and hair balls. Hair balls are caused when your cat constantly keeps licking herself and in turn consumes quite some hair, which they cough or vomit out later orally or through their feaces. Hair balls also cause constipation and in rare cases, life threatening blockage! With the right brush, your kitty will feel like they’re getting a nice massage while you remove dead hair, stimulate new growth, and bring your cats natural oils to their skin.

Nail trimming is another area of cat grooming which is overlooked. Long nails aren’t just an eyesore, they are unhealthy and uncomfortable as well for your cat. Wild and Feral cats usually wear down their nails through their outdoor activities, but this is not the case with domestic cats; they require help. If the cat’s claws are not trimmed regularly, they can curl in on themselves and grow into the foot pad causing intense pain and discomfort.

Ear infection is another issue that arises very often when your feline’s ears are not cleaned regularly. Most of the times you observe your cat shaking their head or scratching their ears – this causes them discomfort as they try to remove dirt and a waxy build up. It causes inflammation and redness of the ear canals. With regular grooming, any issue can be caught on time and treated before it develops into a health scare.

‘Teeth brushing’ in cats is quite a cumbersome task if your cat is not used to it. Routine brushing, which takes less than one minute removes plaque from your cats teeth before it has had time to mineralize. It is a gradual process which requires patience. The first step in tooth brushing is to get your cat to allow you to insert something in their mouth. Dip your fingers in some meat broth and let your cat get comfortable with licking your fingers and then gradually rubbing your digits on their gum line. Then try the tooth brush but before inserting, let them lick the paste off so that they get used to the feeling of bristles. At first, you may have to content yourself with brushing just the fangs, slowly work your way to the back.

We firmly believe in the motto ‘start them young’, which basically means get your pets – be it a dog or a cat – used to grooming from a young age.  When you take your cat to a professional pet grooming salon for the first time, she is anxious and in turn gets into a predatory mode of fight, flight or freeze. Rewarding the cat throughout their first grooming session in the form of catnip, treats, and toys will formulate their positive attitude towards grooming; they are more likely to put up with the procedure without much fuss.  It is in the hands of groomer and pet parent to get their cat calm and comfortable with gentle techniques and soft talks. Grooming can be a pleasurable experience for your pet once they are aware that this is something which is done routinely. The main rule about grooming cats is – Be calm, Be quiet, and Be quick!

Many pet parents have this notion that cats are petrified of water and are not required to be bathed. We believe that bathing your cat once in 4–6 weeks gives them a thorough cleaning and keeps skin ailments, dry undernourished fur coats, and hairballs at bay. Most cats are neatniks and spend 50% of their awake time indulging in some form of self-cleaning and grooming, but a professional grooming session can be most beneficial in long run for the overall good heath of your feline. Pair your cat’s professional grooming session with an oatmeal spa bath or a deep conditioning treatment, every pet can enjoy an indulgence once a while and why not!

A well-groomed cat is a happy and less anxious cat. Every pet parent believes their pet is the most beautiful in the world and they are absolutely right.

*Author is the Founder Groomingtails, a pet grooming parlour and spa situated at Koregaon Park, Pune.

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