Cats are groomers. They use their tongues to clean their hair, face and paws. Yet they need our help to make life a little easier. Think hairball, mats and dirty fur! Grooming a cat early in its life eliminates stress later on. Proper grooming equals a content kitty.
Time to Brush and Comb - Brush and comb your cat regularly. Brush weekly for all cats. Some longhairs might need brushing daily. Always brush in the direction of the fur, front to back. A 4 ½-by-1 inch comb is recommended in either fine or coarse.
Watch for shedding. Groom your cat much more when you see the brush is loaded with hair or the sofa needs a haircut. Better to get the hair on the brush than in the cat's stomach, which can result in a hairball.
Look for mats. Extra grooming care is needed to remove these tangled clumps of hair. Carefully feel around the mat so you don't pull the kitty's skin. Take your grooming comb and begin detangling the hair. Try one area at a time until it freely combs out.
Time to Clean the Eyes - Look for stains and crusty buildup around the lower part of the eyes. This is from tears that dry with the air. This area needs cleaning. Run warm water on a washcloth and squeeze off excess. Gently wipe the buildup away from the eye. Try not to touch the eye itself. If the crust is hard, you might have to do this several times to loosen it up.
Time to Bathe - Purchase animal shampoo. Your cat might not like this, but there are times when the kitty needs a bath. See your veterinarian for mild eyedrops that keep the soap away from the eyes.
Take the eyedrops and apply them before the bath. Follow the label's instructions. Fill a plastic wash bin or sink with 3 inches of warm water. Grab a cup and stand your cat in the water. Hold the kitty gently.
Pour several cups of water over your cat until the hair is completely wet. Be careful not to pour the water on your cat's head and ears. Squeeze a small amount of shampoo on your wet washcloth. Wash your cat's body with the cloth. Lightly clean around the face but not the eye or inside-ear area.
Rinse off with the cup several times while soaping the cat, then replace the water. Add about 3 inches of fresh water to the wash bin.
Dip your cup in the water to continue rinsing off the soap. Refill with fresh water as needed. Stop when you no longer see soap running off with the water.
Dry with a towel. Gently blot away the water. Some cats allow a hair dryer for drying. Use the low setting, drying from front to back. Brush or comb long-haired cats after drying.