Read these 29 Cat Care and Grooming Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Cat tips and hundreds of other topics.
Cat's don't like water; that is a well known fact. However, any cat can be trained to tolerate a bath. Use this method once a day, every day, and at the end of a month, you should be able to give your kitty a full bath without too much trouble.
First, the water must be warm, because a cat's normal temperature is higher than humans. A hot bath for a human is a normal temperature for cats. If the cat shivers, the water is too cold; if he pants, the water is too hot.
Second, choose a location that has a flat surface, so the cat will feel secure that he can stand easily. Add a towel or rubber mat to the bath surface so the cat won't slip, creating more panic.
Third, start with just enough water to cover his feet. For the first week, just dunk his feet into the water and immediately pull him out and dry his feet. Then give him plenty of treats and special attention.
Gradually increase the depth of the water, and the amount of time you 'dunk' him. Always give him treats and special attention after the 'bath.'
Finally, use only enough water to get him wet and rinse him; usually no deeper than his 'knees.' This should be enough water to give him a bath, without creating the panic of trying to swim. Also, don't leave his feet in the water unless you have to. Allowing him to stand on dry land (like the back end of a bath tub) will decrease his discomfort and make him easier to control.
A note of caution: don't use a sprayer, this will cause panic in the cat. Instead, use a plastic cup or glass to pour the water over his body.
Here's a good cat grooming tip if your adult cat hates to be brushed, but is a necessary fact of life, especially in the warm seasons. With persistance, consistancy and patience, you can train your adult cat to be brushed.
Make it a routine, if you haven't already, to pet/groom your cat. Every day at the same time, pet your cat or kitten for several minutes. That action alone will help remove hair and help straighten it.
When Kitty comes to you to be groomed/petted, start using an oven mitten or a cotton rag wrapped around your hand.
Eventually, purchase a groomers mit. That is a specialty type of mit used to help remove fur. Once Kitty is accustomed to the groomers mit, start alternating your touch with the groomers mit, with a brush. Put the mit on one hand, and a brush in the other; alternate between the two. Once you are at this level for a few days, you should be able to groom Kitty with the brush. Slowly decrease the number of 'pets' with the mit and increase the number of 'pets' with the brush.
Once Kitty is tolerating the brush, I would suggest you start with the mit and then switch to the brush in Kitty's daily routine. That will help him to feel like he is being 'loved' and not just brushed.
Cat grooming and matting - I do not recommend shaving a long haired cat or kitten unless the vet or groomer can see a need to; such as the mats are so bad that they are causing problems for your cat.
Cats need their fur to protect their skin from the sun, and other possible dangers. Since they do not perspire, removing the hair does not help them to stay cool. On the contrary, it could make them feel hotter since the sun will reach their skin.
It is best to brush your long haired cat for several minutes every day, and do this several times a day during the warm summer months. This will allow you to catch those annoying mats when they are small enough that you can easily trim them out.
However, once the mats have formed tight enough to be next to your kitty's skin, let a reputable-professional groomer or your vet remove the mats, since you could seriously injure your kitty if you try.
Here's some bathing cats advice: You have allergies, and still want a pet. The doctor says that weekly baths will help reduce the allergens on a cat. With this in mind, it would be best to adopt a young cat or a kitten so you can train her to take a bath much eaiser than an older cat.
Start the first week you have the kitten. Once a day dunk her feet into very shallow, very warm water. Then immediately dry her feet and give her a special treat and attention. The second week, set her down in the water and let her stand in it for a few seconds, then pull her out and dry her feet always followed by the treat. Towards the end of the second week, you should be able to completely wash her.
Don't use a sprayer at first, the splashing water will panic the cat. Use a plastic glass or mug to pour water over her body. Keep everything, water, soap, etc, out of her eyes and off her face. This will cause panic, and could irritate her eyes.
Cat training tip - Cats naturally groom themselves and can take offense when you try to help them.
Here's a cat grooming tip on how to get your cats or kittens comfortable with regular cat grooming - Try purchasing two identical brushes. Start brushing your cat with one of the brushes, when she reaches around and grabs that brush, let her have it. Then pick up the second brush and continue brushing. Whenever she grabs the brush you are using, just pick up the other one and continue brushing.
Eventually, your kitty will learn that you are not hurting her, and that this cat grooming actually feels good.
Cats Bathing - No Water - If your cat or kitten absolutely cannot tolerate being wet, try using a waterless or powder shampoo or give your cat a sponge bath with a damp towel.
Remember, the younger a cat is when you begin to bathe her, the more likely it will be that she will come to enjoy an occasional bath.
-Drs. Foster and Smith
Here's a cat grooming tip that will make a big difference in your cat or kitten's oral health. The key to getting your cat to tolerate having his teeth brushed is to do it in small steps over time and to be patient and encouraging. Try to brush several times a week with a child's toothbrush or a fingertip brush and a toothpaste designed for pets.
Regular cleanings under anesthesia by your vet is important to address problems at the root line. Left unchecked, plaque buildup on teeth can ultimately cause infections that can lead to tooth loss, make eating painful, and puts your cats internal organs under pressure, therefore causing illness and premature aging.
Step by Step cat grooming methods for a long haired or Persian cat or kitten:
1. Use the wide toothed or a comb with alternating long/short teeth to comb the coat backward from the way it lies. For heavy thick coats, you may need to do this in small parts. Make certain you comb all the way to the undercoat to loosen and straighten and knots or tangles. Always use extra care when grooming the belly and rear sensitive areas.
2. Use a baby powder or unscented talcum powder next, to help the brushes ease through the fur by separating each hair. Sprinkle the powder onto the cat's coat and work in with your fingers. Never use a heavily scented powder as this could irritate your cat's sensitive nose, and/or cause allergic reactions.
3. Brush the coat well using first the wire side of the combination brush. Be gentle as the wire bristles can break delicate hair. Use short strokes that move out from the body in a fluffing motion.
4. Then use the bristle brush to lay the fur back to its natural lie.
5. Use the toothbrush to groom the facial area.
6. The slicker brush can be omitted, if desired. It is used mainly on the tail and back end to add the extra fluffiness for shows.
Paraphrased from: The Complete Cat Book, by Paddy Cutts
Your doctor has given you the information on how to live with allergies, and one of the recommendations is to bathe your pets at least once a week.
According to our members, the medical field has determined that humans have a hyper-sensitivity to the proteins in feline saliva. When a cat or kitten cleans itself, the proteins in the saliva remain on the cat's coat. When the saliva dries, the proteins flake off and cause the allergy symptoms.
Bathing your cat or kitten once a week will help remove these and other allergens. There are several products on the market to help remove the allergens from your pet's coat. Check with any pet store or your vet for recommendations.
Cutting cats nails and cleaning cats ears - Before her bath, trim your cat's nails and clean her ears. Use a cotton ball dipped in ear cleansing solution to clean around the outside of the ears. Check for an overabundance of wax, ear mites or other ear problems.
This is also a good time to check your kitty for sores, abscesses, lumps and other skin problems.
- Drs. Foster and Smith
Brushing your cat daily, will control the loose hair in your home, which will help control one of the allergens cats produce.
When cat's wash they leave proteins behind on their fur; when they protein dries it becomes an airborn allergen.
By brushing your cat daily, that will help remove loose hair and the protein on it.
A cat with a continuing odor problem may have a hidden abscess. Cats are very good at hiding problems, and you must be extremely careful to check for hidden lumps or bumps. If your cat goes outdoors, it is at risk of getting into fights with other cats (even females can fight) or being attacked by dogs or wild animals.
Sometimes abscesses or infection hide in the mouth. You may not see an obvious problem, but when your cat grooms herself, she's actually transferring bad-smelling bacteria and toxins to her fur. A good first step is a veterinary check-up. Your vet can look deep into the mouth and determine if there is an underlying issue, or if there is another medical cause. A course of antibiotics may be able to clear up the problem.
Brush your cat thoroughly before her bath, being especially gentle on the skin because it is thin and sensitive. Also, make sure to brush out any mats you may find. They are much harder to remove from wet hair.
A bit of cornstarch sprinkled on the mat may help.
After this step, you may want to wrap your cat's feet in stretch gauze tape (from your local pharmacy) to prevent her from scratching you.
My favorite choice of brush for domestic short haired cats is a flat 'slicker' wire brush. This type of brush will remove more hair in a shorter amount of time. Daily brushings will help control intestinal hairballs, reduce shedding, and create a time for bonding with your kitty. Multiple brushings every day is better during the warm months of the year, because cats will shed their winter coat.
Cats do not like to be restrained, so the less it feels like you're controlling her during her bath, the better. Speak in soft tones and use a few drops of a calming substance if she is very nervous.
Signs that your cat is anxious include ears and whiskers flat, tail thumping and open mouth panting.
- Drs. Foster and Smith
Try investing in covers for your fabric furniture pieces. I use my handmade quilts and crocheted blankets to cover my furniture (and to show off my work.) This way, I catch most of the loose cat or kitten hair of daily living, and pull the blankets off when company comes.
Hairless furniture, in an instant.
I wash these and my Kitties' 'special blankets' whenever I do the rest of the bedding.
To remove the hair from the couch covers, you will need to run them through the dryer. Most of the hair will not come out in the washer.
Before you bathe Kitty, get everything you'll need together before you pick her up.
Include a soft towel, nail clippers and a soft brush.
Use a grooming glove or fine-toothed comb for shorthaired breeds and a wide tooth comb and a soft slicker brush for longhaired breeds. Gather shampoos and conditioners formulated especially for cats, cotton balls and cotton swabs and ear cleaning solution.
Put a towel in the bottom of the sink so she doesn't slip.
Here is a cat grooming tip for your long haired cat: Owners of longhaired cats will attest to the absolute necessity of grooming your long hair cat daily. The dreaded mats are more than unsightly, they are a nuisance and difficult to remove-some requiring a trip to the vet with anesthesia and minor surgery.
There are 5 different types of cat grooming supplies suggested for long haired cats: wide toothed comb, wire brush and bristle brush combination, metal comb with both long and short teeth, slicker brush, and a toothbrush. Each tool has its own step and all are used in the grooming of a longhaired cat.
Recommended by Paddy Cutts in 'The Complete Cat Book'
You and your doctor have determined that you are allergic to your pet kitty, now you face the challenge of controlling the symptoms so you can keep him.
First of all, regular dusting and vacuuming are recommended to continuously remove allergens. Clean surfaces with a solution that is un-scented, or hypo allergenic to prevent irritation (simple solutions such as a baking soda/water combo, or even Simple Green).
Removing cloth window coverings and carpet are some of the more radical measures, since they trap allergens.
One last suggestion is to purchase an air purifier/filter for your home. Purchasing a purifier with an ionizer is recommended. All that cleaning and dusting will de-ionize the air in your home thus making it more difficult for human lungs to exchange the oxygen.
Cats and kittens suffer from upper respiratory ailments just as humans; allergies, colds, infections are just some of them. However, cats do not recover from them as easily as humans; they need a vet's assistance to recover completely.
If they don't see a vet, and get the proper medications, they will be sickly for a long time, possibly for the rest of their life.
You should take your cat to the vet for feline medicines to treat upper respiratory ailments. Some human medicines are poisonous to cats, and all of them are toxic in the high dosages for humans.
If you budget is strained, contact your local animal shelter/pound, ASPCA, humane society or rescue organization. They will have a list of low cost vets in your area, and in some cases, the non-profit organizations can help you pay for the vet bills.
You set out your best clothes for your night out on the town, and Kitty climbed on them to take a nap.
One easy means of removing the kitty fur is to use any type of sticky tape. Packing, office, and duct tape will work to pull the fur of your clothes without damaging the fabric.
You want to pet you kitty, but you break out everytime you touch her.
One easy way of petting your cat or kitten without touching her is by wearing gloves. You could even try a grooming mit available at pet stores or online through supply stores.
And with all allergies, be sure to check with your own medical doctor to confirm what is causing the allergy and the best means of combatting the symptoms.
You want to remove kitty fur from a cloth item that is too big to use tape, or you don't have the time, or you can't find the packing tape.
Just put the item in the dryer with a damp towel and run it for about 20 minutes. The dryer will pull the fur off and the lint trap will catch the cat fur for you.
Cats are creatures that love to climb and scratch things by nature, which is why providing your indoor cat with a cat tree is important. There are a couple easy ways to make a cat tree yourself if you don't feel like buying one.
Wood and Carpet
You can build your own cat tree using pieces of scrap wood and carpet, but you will need to come up with a design first. If you aren't too skilled at building things, keep your design simple. You will need wood, carpet, a drill, a table saw, an electric stapler, and a hammer and nails. You will be cutting the wood to meet your design specifications and covering the platforms with carpet; you may also wish to use PVC pipe for verticle supports.
Converting a Ladder into a Cat Tree
If you have a spare ladder on hand, you can turn it into a cat tree. The ladder will need to be the kind that is shaped like an inverted "V" with steps on both sides. You will also need plywood, hammer and nails, some canvas or denim (to create a hammock that will hang between the two bottom rungs) hanging toys and rope. You will be covering the plywood boards with fabric and laying them flat between two level rungs, nailing them into place to create platforms for your cat to climb and rest on. Wrap the rope around the legs of the ladder to make it double as a scratching post.
Although your cats are part of your family, and add to the comforting feel of your home, the odor of their urine is just unwelcoming. Each time you enter the house, the stench makes you feel like turning back. The steps below will guide you on how to get rid of cat urine smell.
Get Rid of as Much Urine as Possible
The moment you realize that your kitty has messed up outside its box, swing into action and remove the urine before it dries up. Simply blot the area with an absorbent towel.
Use an Enzymatic Cleaner to Break Down the Smell and Stain
This cleaner releases cultures that actually eat the urine, thereby improving the sanitary condition of the site, as well as the odor. It is important to do a proper job here, otherwise the cats will spot the area and soil it up again.
Use an Extracting Wet Vac in Cleaning the Area
This cleaner helps in rinsing the area. Avoid the use of steam cleaners as much as possible especially where you are dealing with a carpet. It is recommended that you use cool, clean water.
Top Up With a Baking Soda Air Freshener
Sodium bicarbonate is a component in the baking soda that acts as a powerful absorber of strong odors. Sprinkle it on the furniture and carpet after cleaning.
With these tips, that unpleasant odor will be a thing of the past.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|