In general, we all know that cats tend to be pretty independent. Unlike our canine pals, they don’t need to be walked—but do they need to be bathed regularly, like dogs do?
What other steps are involved in the grooming process to keep your cat clean and comfortable? Thankfully, Germantown Vet has the answer!
Cat Grooming Basics
The first thing to acknowledge is that cats are naturally self-cleaning creatures. Chances are, you’ve seen your kitty groom his or her own coat more times than you can count! This common practice is usually what makes cat owners think they don’t need to groom their kitties, but despite their consistent cleanliness, they will still need you to help them out from time to time with the grooming process.
A lot of the grooming regimen you’ll put in place will depend on the type of coat that your cat has. Whether you have a hairless cat or a fluffy one with a long, luxurious coat will determine how much emphasis you need to put on grooming them (as well as what kind of grooming you’ll be doing).
Should You Bathe Your Cat?
Typically, you won’t need to bathe your cat very often unless he or she gets particularly dirty for some reason. Usually your kitty can handle washing their hair on their own! But if you do end up needing to give your cat a bath after they’ve gotten into something stinky or sticky, be sure to schedule baths when your cat is at its calmest—either after mealtime or playtime should do the trick.
Be sure to brush your kitty before the bath! Use a vet-recommended shampoo, being careful to keep it out of your cat’s eyes.
How Often Should You Brush Your Cat?
Brushing your cat is crucial for keeping his or her coat free from dirt and dead skin cells, and will help your kitty shed less. Brushing your cat weekly (or twice a week) is recommended to keep a shiny, healthy coat! It will also give you the opportunity to make sure your cat’s hair is healthy and shiny—you shouldn’t encounter any bald spots, bumps, or wounds. And keep an eye out for fleas!
Brushing is especially important if your cat has long hair. The longer your kitty’s hair, the more likely it is to get tangled! You can prevent tangling by brushing your cat every few days—waiting any longer than that could allow her hair to get really tangled, which would be painful for you to brush out and may result in an unfortunate haircut for your kitty.
Regular brushing sessions also help relieve your cat of coughing up hairballs, since they’ll clean up less hair with their tongue during self-grooming sessions.
Should You Trim Your Cat’s Nails?
Your cat’s nails should be trimmed every two weeks or so. If you’re not comfortable trimming his or her nails on your own, you can contact Germantown Vet to help you out (we actually offer complimentary nail trims as part of our bath special).
However, if you want to trim your cat’s nails on your own, the first step is to make sure your cat is comfortable with you handling his or her feet. Practice by pressing on his or her toe pads, causing her nails to pop out, several times before you actually use the clippers! Make sure you give your kitty a treat every time they allow you to successfully play with their paws before the actual nail trimming.
Once you’re actually trimming his or her nails, sit your cat in your lap facing away from you, and press on one of his or her toe pads until her nail extends. Trim only the sharp tip of the nail, release his or her foot, and give your kitty a treat right away! Repeat this process with all of your cat’s nails.
An important note: NEVER cut the pink part of your cat’s nail, which is where the nerves and blood vessels are. This area, called the “quick” of the nail, is incredibly sensitive. You should snip only the very tips (white parts) of your kitty’s claws.
If your cat resists, don’t push it! Never raise your voice or punish your pet when attempting to get them comfortable with a routine like nail trimming. You want to make sure they don’t negatively associate your reaction with the process!
If You’re Not Sure About Grooming Your Cat, Call Germantown Vet
Though we hope you feel comfortable enough to regularly brush your cat, if you’re uncomfortable bathing your cat or trimming his or her nails on your own, you can always contact Germantown Vet for help! We even offer a 20% discount off baths on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, which include a complimentary nail trim.
For any other questions you have about grooming or caring for your cat, call Germantown Vet at 240-252-7467 or contact us online today!