Vomiting up hairballs once in a long while is okay. Vomiting them up once a week, or even once a month, is too much. I don’t know about you, but I don’t enjoy throwing up. My guess is that your cat doesn’t either. If your cat lived outdoors, shed fur would be pulled off or blown off by wind, branches, sand, rain and so on. Living inside, your cat winds up eating much more fur than is healthy or comfortable.
Cat grooming really isn’t about show cats and superficial good looks. It’s about health and comfort. If the cat looks more beautiful afterwards, that’s a bonus, but it’s not important, unless you think looks are the most important thing in life. I know you don’t think that:)
“These bits of skin contain a protein called FelD1 that is responsible for the allergic reaction. FelD1 is found in a cat’s urine, sebaceous glands, and saliva. When a cat licks their body, the protein attaches itself and dries, and when the dander flakes off, the allergen becomes airborne.”
So a protein called FelD1 (Felis domesticus allergen I) is the problem for people who are allergic to cats. Some cats have less of this protein, but that’s a whole other topic.
What can you do? Avoid or minimize contact with FelD1.
Don’t let your cat on the bed.
Don’t rub your face and hands against your cat’s body, unless you’re going to wash afterwards.
Keep a clean house.
Don’t keep the litter box in an area where you spend a lot of time. Don’t use a dusty litter. Keep the litter box scooped.
Bare floors are better than carpeting. Don’t choose upholstered furniture.
Bathing and brushing at least once a week. If you can’t bathe your cat, wipe your cat down with a hypo-allergenic pet wipe or a wet washcloth as often as you can. You have to do it at least once a week. For real. See below for study.
My opinion is that shampooing is going to be more effective at decreasing dander than just soaking a cat in water. Why? Shampooing makes cats less oily. Allergens stick to oil. How do I come to that conclusion? Everything sticks to oil. I don’t need a study to prove this:)
I’m better at shampooing than most owners, so what makes sense is to schedule a bath once a month or as often as you can, while wiping the cat down as often as you can.
“How to hold a cat who is wiggly” is a hot topic among readers of my blog. People come to this site in search of answers.
The image below will help you to understand the logic behind safe and comfortable cat restraint. I often review this book. Since I spend my work hours handling cats, knowing their anatomy definitely helps.
First, notice that cats walk on their fingers and toes, both of which are called phalanges.
Walking on their toes gives cats grace and lightness.
Second, notice that cats crouch when they walk. The front legs (humerus, radius and ulna) are in a wide V shape, as are the rear legs (femur, tibia and fibula).
The crouching walk is part of what enables cats to perform an explosive jump, propelling them from the floor to the top of a cabinet. They are perpetually in a pre-jump position. There is power in those bent legs, particularly the rear legs. Cats use rabbit-kicks to pummel opponents during battles and play time.
If you look at photos of runners at a starting line, you will notice that they are in a similar position to the cat below. They are poised for explosive movement forward or upward.
Keep feline anatomy in mind so that you won’t be surprised if your cat suddenly leaps up and out of your arms. If they are positioned to be able to successfully kick at you, you’ve probably already lost your chance to restrain them.
I know that holding on to a wiggling cat seems like it shouldn’t be that hard. All you do is grab their scruff, right?
Not so fast there, little buddy.
Cats use their ENTIRE body. Not only that, they easily move three-dimensionally.
Humans use our hands mostly, and occasionally our feet. We usually move forward, backwards and sideways. We usually don’t spin and flip, unless our name is Jackie Chan. So we don’t really understand cats, because they truly live in another dimension.
Holding on to the scruff stabilizes one small portion of the cat’s body. The rest of the body is free to flip, flop and spin, with claws out! That gets messy.
Quietly and quickly pick up your cat. Don’t talk or hesitate. Just pick up your cat, one hand under the belly, one hand on the scruff.
Hold your cat close against your body at your waist height.
Don’t squeeze the scruff or twist it. You’re holding, not punishing.
So many people hold their cat at arm’s length. Understandably, the cat doesn’t like being suspended in the air with nothing to hold on to. Close is better.
If you can’t do it, don’t feel bad. Just call a groomer.
When cat fur gets coated with cat skin oil, the fur can feel stiff or gluey. All that’s happening is grease + fur = stiffness. To fix the situation, you can use ball-tip scissors and carefully, CAREFULLLLLLY, trim off the oiled-up fur. The skin underneath will still be oily, so you can use a wet wipe made for cats/dogs. That will help a little.
If you’re feeling adventurous, you can use a diluted degreaser like Dawn or Palmolive — unscented original versions, diluted heavily — to wash the greasy skin and fur. Be SURE to rinse, rinse, rinse and rinse some more because you don’t want your cat to lick that soap.
A common place to find stiff, oiled-up fur is between the shoulder blades. I can’t believe how gluey and sticky this area can be. Very hard to degrease without washing a few times.
If fur is dry, that’s different. Could be that the fur was washed with a degreasing shampoo too many times in too short a time. More likely it’s not related to grooming but to some other situation. I’m not a vet, so I don’t know what would cause dry fur. I’ve never seen dried-out fur on a cat. I’ve seen oily fur many times.
Sitting inside watching the snow — yes, it’s pretty! — while breathing in dander, dandruff and cat fluff? Windows closed. Heat pouring out of vents. Dry skin and dry nose. Perfect time for major allergy flare-ups.
Grooming decreases shed fur, cleans off dandruff, and washes away dander (temporarily). If I had cat allergies, I’d be on meds and would have my cat groomed at least every 3 months. If you can’t schedule a cat grooming, try wiping your cat with fragrance-free cat wipes. Do that once a day.
Cats whose coat thickens up in the winter are at maximum puffiness now. I like a puffy cat as much as the next person. The problem is that under the cute puffiness, problems can lurk. Mats form under floofiness. As fur starts to shed more during the approach to Spring (March 20th), fur can mat into hard lumps.
Beware the floof!:)
Grooming experience, education and training:
graduated grooming school
house call veterinary nurse administering medications and fluids
managed busy animal shelter
emergency animal rescue in Chapel Hill, NC
internship with “big cats” at The Bronx Zoo
post-baccalaureate biology honors program at CUNY
hundreds of hours of volunteer service at animal shelters, and more. . .