Long haired cats are gorgeous! Who doesn’t love the sight of that soft flowing fur? If you have a long haired cat or are planning to bring one into your family, you will want to learn the basics of grooming a long haired cat. Show cats don’t look as good as they do without any work! Good grooming cat keep your cat healthy and looking great.
Tip #1: Get the right tools for grooming long haired cats.
Cat hair is a little different than human hair. For many cats, especially long haired cats, there are actually 2 layers that make up the cat’s coat. There is a short, soft undercoat that acts as insulation. It helps to keep to keep the cat warm during winter months and it can help keep the cat’s body cool during summer months. This is also the part of the coat that tends to shed the most heavily. Over the top of the undercoat are the guard hairs. These hairs are longer, sometimes more coarse, and prone to tangles.
To care for both parts of the coats of long haired cats, you will need 5 tools:
- A wire slicker.
This tool has shorter, softer bristles. It is used for general brushing in and detangling.
- An long toothed undercoat brush.
This type of brush has long teeth and short teeth. The long teeth reach down to the cat’s skin while the shorter teeth target the undercoat hairs. This pulls out the dead undercoat hairs that are already falling out. The FURminator (affiliate link) does an excellent job with removing undercoat as well.
- A shorter toothed undercoat brush.
This brush should be used after the long toothed undercoat brush. It will fine tune the job you did with the previous brush.
- A flea comb.
This is useful if your cat has fleas, but also to help brush the areas of the coat with shorter hairs. The face often has short hairs that are not easy to groom with other brushes.
- A mat splitter.
This is a tool with a blade or set of blades that are used to cut mats down into smaller, more manageable sections.
Tip #2: Do a good check of the cat’s body.
Use both your hands and your eyes to check your cat’s body over. Look and feel for wounds, fleas, ticks, bumps, tangles, mats, objects caught in the hair (like burrs), etc. Be very careful when grooming areas around wounds – they could be painful! If you find anything that concerns you, call your veterinarian. Your veterinarian can play a key role in eliminating any parasites your cat has picked up. Also, skin irritation is often caused by food allergies in cats. A trip to the vet could help you to create a wellness plan for your cat that reduces food allergies.
Tip #3: Brush the whole cat.
Long haired cats have a lot of hair! It is important that you groom all of the hair and not just the easy to reach places. Make sure to get around the cat’s ears, the hair around the cat’s anus, into the cat’s arm pits, the areas where the legs meet the body, and in the fold where the cat’s leg bends. All of these places can become tangled, matted, or dirty.
Brushing long haired cats can take a few minutes. You need to brush the hair in every direction to ensure that the tangles have come out. Work on small sections of hair at a time. You can tell that your brush is getting all the way down to the cat’s skin when you see parts form in the hair.
Tip #4: Involve a professional cat groomer.
For the most part, grooming long haired cats can be done at home. However, if there are severe tangles or mats that won’t come out easily, it is best to see professional help. A cat’s skin is fairly thin and it isn’t attached to the muscle in the same way a dog’s skin is. You could hurt the cat by pulling on the skin to cut off a mat. A professional cat groomer will be able to shave this off in a way that will cause no harm to the cat.
Do your homework when choosing a professional groomer for your cat. Make sure that your groomer has experience with cats. Asking for information about the groomer’s training or for referrals is not rude. Some cat groomers will be able to make home visits or will have cats-only hours at their salon. You can even check with the National Cat Groomers Institute of America to see if there are any of their graduates working in your area.
Tip #5: Get in the habit of daily grooming.
As with many things, prevention is the best cure for tangles and mats. Long haired cats need to be groomed daily -even if it is just a few minutes at a time. Daily brushings will make it very difficult for mats to really build up. Grooming sessions will not have to be very lengthy if there are no tangles or knots there!
Regular grooming will also help long haired cats to get used to the process. Many cats enjoy being brushed, but there are a few areas that they many not be used to being touched. If your cat is struggling with you when it comes to grooming, just do short grooming sessions. A little bit is better than nothing! You can extend the grooming process as the cat becomes more tolerant over time. If you have the ability to start grooming the cat while he/she is young, that is optimal. Older cats may take a little while to adjust to the routine. Just be patient with your kitty.
What do you do to keep your cats well groomed?
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