Can’t cats just groom themselves?

Published 11:35 pm Saturday, November 27, 2010

Cats just groom themselves, right? Well, that is not exactly true.

Instead of showering, try just licking yourself all over. How clean do you think you would be?

Of course, I am kidding and the illustration is not completely accurate, but it does hold some truth.

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While cats do some grooming themselves, they definitely do not cut their own nails.

If you have decided to keep your cat natural and not declaw him, you may want to keep his nails trimmed. This is a relatively easy task, but as with any grooming procedure, you want to get your cat comfortable with it early in life.

If one day you decide to grab your outside cat and cut his nails, prepare yourself for a fight. If nail trimming is not your thing, seek help from your veterinarian or professional groomer.

Bathing a cat is another experience all of its own. An adult cat that has never had a bath, can find the experience very stressful.

When a cat is stressed, they will take it out on anyone in their path. Not only can this be painful for you, it can be unhealthy and dangerous for your feline friend.

Sometimes a waterless shampoo is more practical. The only true way to get rid of unwanted oils and dirt is by giving your cat a proper bath. Again, it is best to accustom your cat to the ritual early.

If you decide to be a do-it-yourselfer make sure any products you use on your cat, is made for cats. This is especially important with flea products.

Never use a product that is made for dogs only, double check to make sure the label says for cats and dogs.

Some cat owners take grooming one step further and have their cat’s hair cut. That’s right, a cat haircut. Many owners of cats with long hair opt for a lion cut. A lion cut is cutting the body short, leaving the legs, tail, and head longer. It gives him the appearance of a mini lion.

There are some medical reasons your cat may need a haircut.

One that I commonly see is a matted cat. Older cats, especially, have trouble grooming themselves causing their back and other areas to become extremely matted. This can be prevented before it happens with a proper brushing routine.

If time has gotten ahead of you, a shave down is the only cure. If your cat has never been groomed and it becomes necessary, you will probably want to consult your veterinarian.

A veterinarian, unlike a professional groomer, has the capability to safely sedate your cat.

Grooming your cat will take patience, but in the end you will have a clean, healthy, happy cat.

Remember, every cat deserves to be treated like a show cat, and, yes,there are show cats.

Tony Barker

The BARKer Shop