Friday, June 4, 2010

Do You Groom Your Cat?

A common belief is that cats groom themselves so you don't need to bother with grooming them. While it's true that most people don't take their cats to the groomer's like dog owners do, cats do need occasional help with grooming. Regular brushing or combing helps control shedding and hairballs. It also reduces allergens flying around in your home.

Little Vixen is 22 now, so she doesn't really groom herself very often, other than washing her face after eating. She has an arched comb that I think is her favorite thing I've ever bought her. Almost daily, I'll see her combing her face on it. Sometimes, she even feels good enough to bat around her newest catnip toy. (Thanks, Yeowww! catnip, for returning some of the kitten to my senior girl!)

But she still gets mats in her hair, especially around the hip area where she has some pain and doesn't like to groom. She complains and gives me the "demon growl" all the while I'm combing her there, but I get out wads of old, dead undercoat hair, as the photo in today's post illustrates. That's all from this morning's grooming! I find it best to hold her in my lap with one hand firmly around her chest so she can't get away. Then I use the other hand to hold the comb, using my thumb to remove the hair from it when it's full. The part she hates most is when I flip her onto her back to comb her stomach area. That's when she tries to claw and bite me, but keeping her claws filed helps avoid serious injury. She doesn't have many teeth left, so her bite isn't what it used to be, either! When her hips are achy, she also complains rather loudly as I do those areas.

I also like to use a waterless shampoo on her during grooming to give her a fresh, clean smell and condition her coat. Older cats can get dry skin that flakes off into dandruff, especially toward the base of the spine area. I've also tried wipes. While those also give a clean, fresh smell, they don't seem to condition her coat quite as well. They sure are more convenient, however! While at the Global Pet Expo in March, I got samples of several companies' waterless shampoos and have been testing them on her. There's one I like better than the others for its light, clean fragrance. Vixen doesn't care for any of them, natch! More to come on the specifics of that when I can get some of them onto the retail site.

You'll find brushes, combs, and all the grooming tools you need for your cat at As you can imagine, long-haired cats call for different grooming tools than do short-haired ones. If you haven't taken a look recently, click on the links in this paragraph to shop grooming products now!

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