Cat Grooming: Brushing is Key
Drs. Foster & Smith Educational Staff

Grooming Needs
Cat lovers especially enjoy their pets' penchant for cleanliness. Cats are extremely fastidious groomers, spending a large amount of their time washing. Because of this, cat owners often think their pets require no additional grooming. However, even short-haired cats can benefit from regular grooming.

Gentle brushing is key. It helps clean the fur, distributes natural oils to moisturize the skin and coat, reduces hairballs, results in less hair for you to vacuum up, and lets you bond with your cat. Grooming is essential for obese or arthritic cats who can no longer clean themselves properly.

Grooming is a very natural part of a cat's life. Kittens are washed by their mother, and adult cats socialize by grooming each other. It is generally easiest to acclimate cats to grooming when they are young, so try to start as soon as possible. Pick a time when your kitten is naturally sleepy, such as when he is well-fed and has just finished a rousing play session. Let him lay on your lap, and gently stroke him with a soft, short-bristled brush, extending the length of time as he gets used to it.

If your cat is apprehensive about being brushed, try spraying the brush with Feliway before brushing. Or, try the Love Glove which lets you stroke away loose hair while your cat barely notices.

For short-haired cats, a simple slicker brush may be the only grooming tool you need. Longer-haired cats often have a thick undercoat that needs more attention. Matbreakers are effective at removing tangled hair. Undercoat grooming tools like the FURminator® gently remove excess loose hair from the undercoat, and help keep new mats from forming. Explore a variety of grooming tools for the solutions you need to speed and simplify grooming, while making it as stress-free as possible for your cat.

Grooming sessions also give you a good opportunity to gently examine your cat's ears and mouth, as well as her overall skin condition. Once your cat is accustomed to being groomed, you will both enjoy spending this time together.