Cat Grooming 101 | Pet Palace Resort and Boarding

Cat Grooming 101

cat grooming 101

Have you ever struggled to groom your cat? You’re probably laughing at the very question. After all, who hasn’t, right? If grooming makes you and your cat gloomy, then you need to read our post. We’ll explain strategies for calming anxious cats, how to hold your cat still, what to do when your cat’s fur is matted, how to avoid getting scratched, and more.

Strategies for Calming Anxious Cats During Grooming

We all know that anxious cats can create a stressful grooming session, but being patient and using the proper strategies can make the process rather seamless. Here are some of our favorite strategies for grooming anxious cats:

  • Practice gradual desensitization – If your cat is new to grooming, odds are they are going to be curious about the tools you are using. One of the best ways to make them feel a bit less anxious about the tools is to let them sniff and explore them before use. Additionally, we suggest short grooming sessions to start with, then gradually increasing the duration as your cat becomes more comfortable.
  • Use positive reinforcement – Try using treats, praise, or their favorite toy to reward your cat’s behavior during or after the grooming session.
  • Choose the right tools – Be sure to use tools and brushes that are designed for cats. Also, you might want to try a variety of tools to see which ones your cat feels most comfortable with. After all, this will make the process a lot easier!

How Can I Hold My Cat Still for Grooming?

The best way to keep your cat still for grooming is to help them develop a positive association with the brush. So, we recommend you start out by just holding the brush while interacting with your cat. Let your cat sniff it and rub it if they want to, but don’t actually do any brushing.

After a few days, you can start stroking your cat with your hand while holding the brush. Again, you don’t want to actually brush your cat, you just want to use your hand. Once you’re finished, allow your cat to sniff the brush and then reward them with a treat or some extra petting.

In time, your cat will start to view the brush positively. Once that occurs, you can start moving it softly against your cat’s face. If your cat seems relaxed, you can even try gentle brushing along the neck or back. With time and practice, your cat will gradually get used to being groomed.

The important thing to remember is that you don’t want to rush this process. If at any time your cat seems uncomfortable, quit for the time being and slowly try again in a day or two.

How Can I Groom a Cat with Matted Fur?

To groom a cat with matted fur, you’re going to want to reach for a wide-toothed comb. Then, start working on the mat from the ends first. As you begin to untangle, keep moving closer, toward your cat’s skin. While you’re combing, remember to gently hold your cat’s skin down as you begin to work the mat out. Doing this will prevent uncomfortable, painful tugging.

If a wide-tooth comb doesn’t do the trick, you can also use something called a mat comb or razor comb. It’s a brush with recessed blades that will cut your cat’s fur while you’re brushing.

While you might be tempted to use scissors, we don’t recommend that because it’s too easy to accidentally hurt your cat.

How Can I Groom My Cat Without Being Scratched?

If your cat is especially nervous about being groomed, you might feel like scratches are inevitable. However, oftentimes a wrapped towel can help.

Simply lay a towel down flat and place a can of cat food on the towel. Once your cat lays down to eat, you can loosely wrap both sides of the towel around your cat’s back.

You can then shift the towel slightly to groom your cat’s fur while they eat. Just remember to try this process while you’re already relaxed or your cat will sense your anxiety.

Does Cat Grooming Reduce Furballs?

Absolutely! Cat grooming prevents hairballs by reducing the amount of loose fur they may swallow when cleaning themselves. The loose hairs they swallow can accumulate in their stomach, which is what causes the hairballs. Brushing regularly helps remove excess fur from the cat’s coat, reducing the amount of hair they ingest.

How Does Cat Grooming Change Throughout the Year?

Your cat’s coat may change throughout the year, so you might want to consider adjusting your grooming routine to accommodate this fact. This is especially helpful for outdoor cat owners!

  • Spring – After the winter, your cat may shed more to prepare for the warmer months. Regular brushing can remove any loose winter fur and prevent matting. If you notice your cat sheds a lot, consider a deshedding tool that will remove excess hair and reduce the chances of hairballs. Additionally, spring is the prime season for fleas and ticks, so be sure to practice prevention and treatment as your veterinarian deems appropriate.
  • Summer – By summer, your cat probably did most of their shedding and is ready to stay cool during the warmer months. Practicing regular grooming is still a great way to make them feel loved and reduce their hairballs.
  • Fall – Cats begin to thicken their coat for the chilly winter months. Be aware of spots that are prone to matting, like the area behind the ears. Don’t forget about flea and tick treatments as well!
  • Winter – By this point, your cat will have developed a thick coat. Monitor their shedding and check for areas of matting frequently. Groom as you deem appropriate.

How and When Should I Bathe My Cat?

Bathing a cat is not a necessary part of the grooming routine because most cats are proficient at grooming themselves. However, there are situations where a bath might be a solution, especially if your cat gets into a sticky situation, has skin issues, or is unable to groom themselves properly. Here are some reasons why you would want to consider bathing your cat:

  • Medical issues – Some cats have skin conditions or are unable to groom themselves due to an illness. In either case, a vet might recommend that you bathe your cat.
  • Accidents – If your cat gets into a sticky or messy situation, a bath is a quick fix that can get them feeling good as new.
  • Flea treatments – Some topical flea treatments need to be applied to clean fur and skin. Be sure to follow the instructions provided with the flea treatment.

When bathing your cat, be sure to use cat-specific grooming products. There are shampoos and conditioners that are formulated specifically for feline skin and don’t contain any irritants like strong fragrances or harsh chemicals.

What Can I Do If I Still Need Help Grooming My Cat?

If you still need help grooming your cat, it’s time to call in a professional. At Pet Palace, we offer lots of pampering and TLC during grooming sessions, making your cat feel like the member of royalty it is. Learn more now about the special cat grooming services we offer at our deluxe pet spa.

Be sure to contact us with any questions!

Lora Shaw

About the author

Lora Shaw

Lora Shaw is currently the Vice President of Operations at Pet Palace.

Categories: Cats, Pet Grooming, Tips for Your Pets