Most people will literally fight with their cat in order to perform a proper grooming session. It’s not really natural for your feline friend to let someone brush him, cut his nails or even brush his teeth. Most people will save the trouble and just go straight to a professional to let them handle the beast.
Even if this is a good solution, this can also be very expensive. By following our step by step guide on how to groom your cat at home you should save a lot of money, keep your cat beautiful and healthy, and build a stronger relationship with your cat.
This article will tell you how to:
- Cut your cat’s nails
- Brush your cat
- Clean his ears, teeth and eyes
- Bathe him, if necessary
What is cat grooming and is it a good idea for your cat
You probably already know that cats are amazing self-groomers! They spend an awful lot of time making sure they are perfectly clean. However, despite this natural cleaning habit, our small friends sometimes need a little hand to perfect the grooming.
- Nail trimming
- Frequency: Every 2 weeks
- Why: Essential especially for full time indoor cats, keeps them healthy, protects your family and guests, protects your furniture.
- Frequency: Once every week (or less) for shorthair / Once every day for medium long hair
- Why: Beautiful coat, avoid intestinal problems, detect problems, avoid a messy house, bond with your cat.
- Ear care
- Frequency: Very rarely (when dirty)
- Why: Eliminate wax, ear mites, ear infection
- Teeth Hygiene
- Frequency: As often as possible (every day would be perfect even if hardly doable)
- Why: Avoid plaque, tartar, irritation and other mouth diseases
- Eye care
- Frequency: Rarely (when you notice dirt/goop buildup in the corners)
- Why: Avoids infection, clogged tear duct
- Frequency: Very rarely (in case of a flea infection, self grooming problem…)
- Why: Part of a flea fight treatment or simply to refresh a cat that is a little under the weather and does not groom properly (depressed or sick cat).
All those grooming techniques will rarely be necessary “all at once”, it will depend on the situation and you are the one to decide. Nail trimming, for example, is essential for your indoor cat so it is mandatory to cut those sharp claws often. Brushing is mostly recommended for medium-haired cat for example but it depends on the length – you may have to groom him once a day or once a week. The necessity of cleaning a cat’s eyes is pretty rare but it’s important to know how to proceed…
Well, you got the picture. Grooming your cat is basically taking care of him by providing the care and affection he needs to look and feel his best.
How to groom your cat at home (STEP by STEP)
The number one rule of grooming is to make sure your cat enjoys it. It will require patience and perseverance but taking baby steps, you will reach your goal.
Pick a specific moment during the day and attract your cat in a specific area of your house where it’s both comfortable for him and for you. Start by giving him a treat (or several) in order for him to associate this moment with a positive feeling. At this point, you should not attempt to do anything else. Just welcome him into this new experience.
Once you have repeated this for a few days, proceed with what needs to be groomed but always with baby steps. Try to not force your cat but rather ease him into this new experience.
1. Nail trimming
- Sit your cat on your lap and give him a treat
- Press gently on top and bottom of his paws in order to extend the claws
- Observe your cats reaction (if he is calm, you may proceed, if not, try another treat)
- Clip one nail (white/clear part of the nail)
- Do not cut the quick – the slightly pink-colored part of their nail (it’s where all the nerves and blood vessels are)
It is perfectly ok to only do one paw a day! As long as kitty enjoys it, you will be the long term winner and spend a nice moment with your kitty. For a more in depth explanation, see this complete article dedicated to nail trimming or watch this informational video.
- Once a week, use a fine tooth metal comb to smoothly brush your beast
- Then, take a natural bristle brush to take off the dead hair and give it some shine
- Prepare your cat’s hair with a slicker brush, in a word “detangle” the beast! Brush slowly in every direction – first go with the movement and then gently the other way to get rid of nasty knots
- Enhance the brushing and detangling with a metal comb
- Give the final smooth and shiny look by using a natural bristle brush
Want to know everything about brushing and brushes? Check this out.
3. Cleaning ears
Remember that this should be a rare procedure and in most cases if you notice your cat’s ear tend to be dirty soon after you cleaned it, you will want to bring him to the vet for a check up.
- Grab 1-3 cotton balls
- Dip/dampen them (not soak) in cat ear cleaning solution
- Gently hold your cat’s head with the ear flipped back
- Wipe away the wax buildup by turning the cotton ball several times
For a more in depth explanation about cat ears, check out this article.
4. Cleaning teeth
Cats usually hate when you touch their teeth, so brace yourself!
- Simply brush your cat’s teeth with a special soft brush
- Start with his front teeth with a gentle circular movement
- Slowly make your way to the back
For more information about cleaning your cat’s teeth, you can check out this thorough article.
5. Cleaning eyes
- Sit your cat on your lap comfortably or find someone else to hold the beast
- Dip the washcloth corner into the clean water
- Gently wipe away any dirty and grime from your cat’s eyes (starting from inside corner of the eye and wiping outward)
Want to know more about cat’s eyes, check out our complete article here.
6. Bathing your cat
- Pour warm water over your cat, making sure you do not get any in his sensitive ears
- Use the flea shampoo/homemade mixture/shampoo and wash your cat for a few minutes. Insist on the neck area and near his tail
- Give your cat some treats along the way to make sure the experience is not too stressful for him
- Rinse your cat thoroughly by pouring warm water on him
- Dry your cat with a clean towel
Want to know why it’s important to bathe your cat when he has fleas? It’s here!
Final thoughts on grooming your cat at home
We believe it is simple to understand how to groom your cat at home. Simple and essential! As for everything, starting at an early age makes the process much easier. That’s what we did with our Yoda, especially for the nail trimming part. He is now habituated and is perfectly fine when we do need to proceed and cut his sharp claws. Remember, grooming a cat takes time! Be patient and tolerant with your little friend, do no forget his wild nature if he tries to run away at the beginning. Make it a habit to give him treats to reward him for his patience.
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