Having trouble with Kitty’s coat?
Wondering how/when to start grooming?
Oscar, a beautiful Siberian Silver Tabby.
Oscar hasn’t always looked so good. He was a rescue cat. He was found in a dreadful condition and his coat was very badly matted. He certainly landed on his paws when he was homed by his current owners. They relocated from Australia to Galway and so did Oscar who holidays here from time to time.
When should I start brushing my cat?
The best time to start brushing your cat (like everything else) is when he/she is a kitten. This should really be part of his socialisation process, regardless of the type of coat your cat has. Most kittens don’t moult fully the first year and we can be fooled into thinking they won’t need brushing at all. As a result many of us don’t start brushing as early as we should. Some cats are more than capable of taking care of their own coats. Others need help, particularly long-haired cats and even short-haired cats who are elderly, arthritic or infirm. Some overweight cats find it difficult to groom too, particularly the area at the base of their spine as their belly gets in the way!
If you discover that your cat’s coat is getting matted it is best to take action straight away. The first time a cat sees a brush he may consider it to be a weapon (or a toy) if we approach him wielding it. I have found the best way to start brushing a cat who is not accustomed to being brushed is to secrete the brush in my hand. The easy way to do this is to use a brush that has a strap around the back of it which fits on around the back of my hand.
These brushes have no handle. I start by stroking the cat on his head and around his face with my free hand and then alternate it with the brush hand. If he tries to look around to see what I am doing I show him my empty hand and stroke him again with the empty hand until he relaxes again.
Little by little
A good way to start is to do a little (one or two strokes initially) when your cat is eating. If you make a habit of just a couple of strokes each morning or evening when Kitty is starting his meal you will easily keep his coat in a manageable condition.
If a knot appears (usually around the face/neck area) try to tease it out whilst sitting with Kitty or just give it one or two goes with the brush and then leave it until next time. As with humans if we tug at kitty’s hair it hurts! If knots appear around his “nether regions”, it is best to be VERY careful. Most cats prefer to look after this area themselves! It can be very dangerous to use scissors, but you can buy battery operated clippers. The trouble with clippers is that they make noise and Kitty might not like that!
Never try to pin down your cat and force grooming on him when he’s not in the mood. You won’t win and neither you nor your cat will be happy afterwards!
You may be the lucky one who has a cat who enjoys it. Many cats really enjoy a good grooming. Dougal would follow me to the ends of the earth when I have his brush in my hand. Ted isn’t bothered with it but will tolerate brushing while complaining loudly.