Cat Grooming 101

By PetMD Editorial on Nov. 13, 2008

If you have a cat, then you’ll know a cat’s grooming habits put even the most glamorous Hollywood star to shame. Skip grooming school and learn how to properly groom your cat from us.

Cats spend a good deal of their waking hours grooming themselves. Of course, even with their natural skills, cats can benefit from a little human help every now and then.

Regardless whether you have a fancy cat like a Persian or a regular ol' Shorthair, cats require hair brushing, not only to remove tangles, burs and dander, but to remove that extra hair your cat keeps leaving you in the form of hairballs. To be effective, brushing should be a daily routine for you and your cat. There are plenty of different tools on the market -- brushes, combs, gloves, etc. -- so choose wisely and ask your friends what works best with their cats.

Nail clipping is also important for cats, especially indoor cats. It is best to get your cat used to it while it's young, but it really is never too late to start. If you’re new at nail clipping, get advice from your vet on how to do it properly without injuring your cat. And if you just don't feel comfortable clipping your own cat's nails, that's fine. Just get your vet to do it on those regular wellness checks, or have a cat groomer do it for you.

What cat home beauty salon would be complete without a full dental workstation? No, we’re not talking about using abrasive teeth whitening pastes to give your cat that brilliant red carpet smile, but a little teeth brushing can go a long way. It removes plaque and tartar buildup, and it is a great way to monitor the cat's dental health. There are quite a variety of toothbrushes made specifically for cats, along with flavored cat toothpaste. Just make sure you don't ever use human toothpaste on your cat.

Some might say cats and water just do not mix. In this case, we've got to disagree -- it's necessary for little kitty to get a wash, even if it's just once in awhile. But be ready for a fight, the claws and fangs may even make an appearance. Use cat-specific shampoo and recruit a family member or friend to hold the cat down while you do the washing. Having trouble? Don't fret. This duty can also be left to the expertise of a professional.

Whether you go for the budget grooming at home or splurge on a professional groomer, there is one thing for certain, your cat will look bright and shiny at the end of the process.

Image: Nicholas Kennedy Sitton / via Flickr

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