Many cat owners find a cat’s independence to be one of their most appealing qualities. Cats can spend hours exploring, sleeping and grooming themselves. Cat’s do not need the level of care, exercise and mental stimulation that dogs require. When you leave your cat alone for a few hours they are also less likely to shred your favourite cushions than a dog suffering from separation anxiety. Cats are also less likely than dogs to jump into muddy puddles or roll around in some smelly unmentionables whilst on the daily walk. These hygiene tips for cat lovers should keep your feline friend looking great and feeling good.
In comparison to dogs, cats require far less in the way of grooming because they will instinctively spend hours grooming themselves. Cats have rough tongues that help them to remove dirt, dead fur and foreign bodies such as dead flees and their eggs. This grooming can lead your cat to swallow fur, which your cat will need to cough up in the form of fur balls. Whilst this isn’t pleasant it is entirely normal.
You can reduce the chance of your cat having fur balls by regularly brushing her coat with a suitable brush or comb. Depending on the length of your cat’s fur will determine how often they will need brushing.
We recommend that, if possible, you should start with a grooming routine whilst your cat is still young as kittens will accept grooming more easily than an adult cat.
Daily cat grooming tasks
Grooming long-haired cats
Cats with long fur will benefit immensely from a daily grooming routine. Brushing your cat will remove dead fur and stop tangled and matted fur. You will also reduce the amount of fur that your cat swallows, which may reduce furballs.
If you find that your cat has developed tight tangles and clumps of matted fur, you can buy a specialist tool from your vet that you can use to remove stubborn tangles.
Cat dental care
According to Ipsos, 73% of cat owners never brush their cats’ teeth. We hope that we can encourage you to consider adopting a dental care routine for your cat.
Daily brushing will:
- Reduce bad breath
- Prevent the build-up of plaque and tartar
- Maintain long-term gum health
- Reduce tooth decay
Weekly cat grooming tasks
You should check your cat’s ears weekly. I have found the best way to do this without getting scratched is to gently wrap a towel around your cat leaving just the head exposed. You can now wipe away any dirt and check on the health of your cat’s ears. A healthy inner ear should be light pink, odourless and wax-free. Your cat may have ear mites if you find dark smelly debris. If you suspect mites or the ears appear red and inflamed it is best to talk to your vet.
Grooming short-haired cats
As with long-haired cats, medium and short-haired cats will benefit from regular brushing. This will keep your cat’s coat in good condition, reduce fur balls and reduce matted fur.
Other cat grooming tasks
Bathing your cat
Cat’s don’t normally need to be bathed and they normally find baths particularly stressful. However, some circumstances may arise that requires you to bathe your cat.
Preparation is the key. Make sure you have the following items:
- Cat shampoo and conditioner
- Plenty of towels
- A grooming brush
You should partly fill a plastic bucket or sink with warm water. Don’t overfill as this will make your cat more anxious. It can help to enlist help so that one of you can distract the cat and keep control of her head whilst the other gently washes the cat’s body, tail and underside. You shouldn’t get your cat’s head or ears wet.
Cats can retract their claws and tend to extend their claws only when they are hunting, climbing or in self-defence. They will also extend their claws when they are scratching a post, either to sharpen their claws or to mark their territory. Consequently, a cat’s claws don’t normally come into contact with the ground and don’t wear down in the same manner as a dog’s.
Your cat may choose to use your furniture as an impromptu scratching post. Which can cause damage in a surprisingly short period. To help overcome this, you can provide your cat with a scratching post.
You may wish to confirm whether your cat’s claws are too long by speaking with your vet. If cutting the claws is recommended you should start off slowly. Our friends at PDSA have published a step by step guide and video on how to cut your cat’s claws.
Cleaning your cat’s belongings
Bowls and dishes
If you feed your cat dry food then you should clean their bowls every day. If you feed them wet food you should use a fresh bowl for every meal.
Cleaning your cat’s litter tray
You should remove any offending items from your cat’s litter tray daily and replace the litter weekly. Cats are clean animals and if they find a dirty tray, they may use the floor instead.
Care should be taken when cleaning a litter tray as cats can become infected with a parasite that causes toxoplasmosis, which is then spread in the cat’s faeces. Whilst the risk to people is relatively small, pregnant women should take care. If they get toxoplasmosis for the first time during pregnancy there is a risk to the baby.
Summary – hygiene tips for cat lovers
Cats don’t need as much care as dogs, which can be very appealing for some pet owners. However, implementing a grooming routine whilst your feline friend is still a kitten is a great way that you can ensure your cat looks her best. You can also use the time grooming to increase your bond and to keep an eye out for any conditions that may affect your cat’s health.