Alison Laurie-Chalmers, Senior Consultant, Crown Vets Inverness
Cats are very clean, fastidious animals and they generally spend up to half their day grooming themselves. Also they use grooming as a way of bonding with each other in multi-cat households. Most cats generally enjoy the extra attention of a gentle grooming session with their owner.
It’s a good idea to get your cat used to being groomed from a very early age as part of their early socialisation and gets them used to being handled. Start off with really short sessions to get your kitten used to being brushed. Then gradually build up the time you spend grooming them, until they are relaxed and happy to be touched all over their body. All cats need regular grooming but long-haired cats definitely need more coat care than short-haired cats. You should groom a long-haired cat once a day and short-haired cats two or three times a week. Buy a brush and comb that are suited to your cat’s hair length and type to help keep your cat’s coat in tip-top condition. If you notice any changes in their skin or coat or if they seem itchy and uncomfortable, they may have fleas and/or skin allergies, so do then arrange an appointment with your Vet for a check-up. Remember flea infestations can occur in the cleanest of homes. If you have a long-haired cat you’re probably already familiar with the need for daily grooming. If you have a short haired cat, regular grooming is still as important as frequent brushing will cut down on coat shedding and on the amount of hair getting ingested through the action of self-grooming and so avoiding a build-up of intestinal "hair-balls”. Also the act of grooming distributes natural oils which help maintain good skin and coat health and you can address small tangles before they turn into severe matts. Grooming also enables you to check for any evidence of skin or ear problems or for external parasites such as fleas and ticks. Severe matts can cause dermatitis and pull on the skin and eventually cause tearing of the skin. Matts around the cat’s tail and anal area can become encrusted with faeces and/or dried urine causing skin irritation and discomfort in this area.
If you brush your cat on a regular basis, then good tangle-free coat maintenance shouldn’t take long. Grooming shouldn’t be torture sessions lasting 30 minutes! If you are struggling to groom large matts out of your cat then do arrange an appointment with us, as "de-matting" can be done as a procedure under a safe sedation.