Some tips for washing and brushing your cat
We talk a lot about dog grooming on the blog, how many pups have been bought during lockdown and how to keep them healthy, but what we often overlook is that many pet owners buy Gravitis products for grooming their cats - particularly show cats who don’t mind a blow dryer or a good brush down. Cats have also proven to be popular pets during the pandemic and those with longer coats need regular brushing to help keep the healthy. So this week we’re going to give some top tips for washing and brushing your cat.
Photo by Miron Cristina on Unsplash
Bathing your cat
Obviously cats are well known for being very clean. They groom themselves thoroughly and mostly take care of their own hair care needs. But if your cat gets very dirty or falls into something smelly or sticky you may need to give them a bath. The majority of cats are not particularly keen on water so it’s important to take care not to stress them and make sure that you are well prepared before you begin.
Unless your cat is covered in something really sticky, give them a good brushing first to remove and loose or matted fur.
Place a non-slip rubber bath mat in the sink or bath where you’ll be bathing the cat so that they don’t slip. Then fill the tub or basin with 3-4 inches of warm water. Use a shower hose on a gentle setting with warm water (not hot), or a plastic jug to wet you cat ready for shampoo. Take care not to get water into their ears and nose and be very gentle.
Although it might be tempting to use whatever you have in your bathroom, you should always use special pet shampoo rather than your own products on your cat as human shampoo can dry out your cat’s skin. Your local pet store should stock cat shampoo, or you can find it easily online. Gently massage the shampoo into the cat – some shampoos require dilution so check the bottle for further instructions. Work through from head to tail, in the direction of hair growth, making sure that you avoid the face, ears and eyes. If there is a particular spot that needs washing for example if your cat has something stuck to their fur, then pay attention to this area and repeat if necessary to remove stubborn substances, but work gently so as not to stress your cat.
Rinse thoroughly, either with a shower head using warm water and a low setting as before, or a plastic jug, taking care to ensure that all of the shampoo residue has been removed as it can irritate the skin or even attract more dirt if it has not been cleaned off properly.
You can use a flannel or sponge to gently wipe your cat’s face, using clean water.
Once you’re done, carefully wrap your cat in a large towel and dry them gently in a warm place away from drafts. If your cat is OK with noise then you can use a dryer on a low heat setting.
Make sure you keep rewarding your cat with praise and treats throughout, to make the experience as positive as possible.
Photo by Rebecca Campbell on Unsplash
Brushing Your Cat
Although your cat should be regularly cleaning their own coat, brushing them can help them along by removing dirt, grease and dead hair from their coat. Brushing also helps to remove flakes of dead skin and stimulates their blood circulation, to improve the overall condition of your cats skin. If you have a long-haired cat then you may find they need brushing regularly anyway in order to keep them free from mats and tangles but even for a short haired cat, one or two brushes per week will give them a healthy glow – and your cat will probably enjoy it too! Once your cat gets a little older you may find they are less able to clean themselves as meticulously as they might once have done so regular brushing sessions can really help to keep them healthy.
Photo by cottonbro from Pexels
Before you start brushing, check the condition of your cat’s coat. If they are healthy, the fur should have a natural gloss and spring back under your hand when you touch it. Take a moment to check for signs of fleas or ticks and any bumps or scratches that you may need to avoid with a brush. Regular grooming can help you not only to groom your cat but it helps you to keep an eye on them too and you will be able to spot any changes that occur more easily than if you were just stroking them every day.
If you have a short-haired cat, use a metal comb or rubber brush - like the one pictured here - to work through your cat’s fur from head to tail to remove dirt and debris. Work in the direction of their fur and brush their whole body, including chest and abdomen, concentrating on one section at a time.
If your cat has long hair, you will need to groom them more frequently in order to prevent knots and tangles. Start with their abdomen and gently comb the fur up towards their head. Brush the tail gently, working the fur out to each side. You can also use your fingers to tease out any stubborn knots. As long as you brush regularly then it shouldn’t be too difficult to keep the hair relatively-tangle free and it stops them from ingesting their own loose hair which can cause fur balls and other internal issues, however if you find that your cat still suffers with fur balls despite regular brushing then your vet may be able to help you to find a solution.
Photo by cottonbro from Pexels
Got any tips for washing or brushing your cat? Please let us know in the comments section below!
Main fluffy white cat photo by C. Z. Shi on Unsplash