Looking after the coat
Grooming your cat will soon become a special moment of love and sharing between you and your cat. A beautiful coat is much appreciated by the cat and reflects not only in good health but also the care and attention you give. Brushing is essential to remove the dead hair remaining in the fur and to avoid your cat swallowing it. Too much licking runs the risk of causing it to ingest too much hair and fur balls forming in the stomach. Fur balls can cause vomiting and diarrhoea, and can damage your cat’s growth. Get your cat used to brushing by finishing a brushing session with a cuddle or a game.
Grooming short haired breeds
A weekly brush is usually sufficient. Before brushing, you can massage against the hair direction with a “toothed“ glove which will eliminate dead hair and stimulate the skin. Brushing is done with a soft brush, preferably with natural bristles, so as not to damage the coat.
Grooming mid to long haired breeds and Persians
A daily brush for a few minutes is often necessary in order to avoid the formation of knots and tangles and to eliminate dirt and parasites. A large toothed metal comb is the most suitable tool. You must always comb your cat in the direction of its hair and then against it so as to gently remove dead hair and eliminate small knots. When a knot is difficult, tease it out gently and patiently rather than pulling hard and risking tearing out a tuft. A comb penetrates the coat better than a brush but there is a greater risk of irritating the surface of the skin so be careful and choose your comb carefully. Areas situated behind the ears and ruff, which are inaccessible to the cat’s tongue and the most conducive to knots, require special attention. You should finish grooming with the tail, brushing along its length (with the hair and against the hair) in order to give it maximum volume.
Grooming during moulting season
During spring and summer (moulting season), brushing must be intensified. For long haired cats, you should use a rubber massage glove followed by a comb which will easily detach all the dead hair. For short haired cats, use a chamois cloth.
Cats frequently use their claws to mark out their territory. To avoid the resulting damage, without affecting natural behaviour, your cat can have its claws clipped. Before doing this yourself, ask your vet to explain which part of the nail you can cut without risk. Clipping the claws is not painful, although your cat is unlikely to enjoy it, meaning that it is important to get it used to this procedure early on. Choose a comfortable place and take the cat on your knees, holding its body between your thighs. After each clip, it is a good idea to relax the cat by stroking its tummy. “Guillotine“ clippers are ideal. You section the white tip of the claw without ever going close to the edge of the pink triangle which is the fleshy part at the base of the claw. If you go beyond this point, you may cause bleeding and sharp pain to your cat.
It is better to use small successive cuts than to make a big cut and reach the quick of the claw. The state of your cat’s claws is a true indicator of its health. When too hard or too soft, these are signs of possible deficiencies or bacterial attacks. If your cat is chewing its claws, it may be in a state of anxiety which could turn into a depression. Consult your vet if you are worried.
Not all cats like water, but bathing is necessary for looking after medium and long haired coats. So it’s best to get your cat used to water at an early age. Proceed gently, but with determination. The first time, try to get it used to water without scaring her. Start by dampening your cat using a flannel or sponge. If you get a hostile reaction, stop and try again the next way – just keep trying over subsequent days until it gets used to it.
Next, place your cat in warm water in a bath or basin while reassuring it by stroking and talking to it. Pour water over it gently from a bowl, making sure you don’t get it in eyes, ears, or on its head. Only ever use a special cat shampoo specially formulated for your pet’s skin and hair (available from chemists and specialist pet shops). Wash the coat gently, and rinse thoroughly with a bowl or hand shower. Pat it dry in a warm clean towel and keep your cat in a warm room until its coat is completely dry.
Some cats (flat-faced ones for example) have tears which can form a ring around the eye. You can remove this with a cotton wool pad impregnated with eye lotion. In case of weeping or unusual redness, consult your vet.
Cleaning the nose
A healthy cat must always have a clean wet nose. Some cats may have dry nasal secretions in the corner of their nostrils. You can easily remove these with a cotton wool pad or paper handkerchief soaked with previously boiled warm water. A dry nose means you should consult your vet.
Cleaning the ears
The basic rule is to touch them as little as possible. If there is a particularly obvious and unpleasant looking discharge, you need to consult your vet for a precise diagnosis. He will recommend the appropriate treatment and ear solution.