Cats usually shed more when the days become longer or shorter. If they lick shed fur, they can wind up vomiting hairballs. Vomiting is uncomfortable for kitty. Remember the last time you vomited? It felt bad, didn’t it? If the hairball is deep in the intestine, it can even become lodged there.
Brush your cat gently but throughly as often as you can.
If your cat has already vomited up a furball, try giving kitty Petromalt (available in fish, chicken or malt flavor) to ease the furballs out without the need for vomiting.
Poor doggie! This is the kind of damage that overly enthusiastic use of a Furminator can do to an animal. The Furminator has stiff metal ridges. If you use it carefully and for a minute or two, it’s fine for getting out undercoat. Just don’t get carried away!
Throwing up hairballs isn’t natural. If cats still lived outdoors, shedded fur would be blown off or pulled off. In the home, fur detaches, gets licked into the throat and is either vomited out, or accumulates enough to create an obstruction if it doesn’t pass through the body. Everyone has time for 15 seconds of brushing a day. For a short-haired cat, 15 seconds can mean the difference between hairballs and no hairballs. The volume of shedding fur usually increases dramatically in spring and fall.
I groom these two sweet-natured beauties once a month. (Jump to the middle of this post for links to grooming tools.) Even if your long-haired cat is another breed or a mix, you can use similar tools. If you are going to be grooming your cat monthly, it’s worth buying the tools and products. Grooming is a recurring part of the life of a long-haired cat. (If it’s not, it should be, because ungroomed cats lug around a lot of shedded fur and are coated with too much body oil.)
Chirp & Bambi’s owner is a responsible person who makes sure that her cats get the care they need to stay healthy, comfortable and happy. She combs them frequently, so that when I visit, I don’t have to subject them to intense de-matting. Lucky cats!
Some short-haired cats release a large amount of hair in the spring.
I removed this fur using the soft Love Glove. The cat purred during the grooming. This same cat is brushed four times a week, but look how much fur comes off! Now she won’t have to cough up hair balls or walk around with a coat that is twice as heavy as it needs to be in the warm weather.
Longer days and less sunlight mean it’s time to change fur coats. Your cat does not need to have a winter fur coat delivered from the fur vault. Their coat change is “do-it-yourself.”
Telltale signs that the feline coat change is underway . . .
Tufts of dull-looking fur poking out here and there.
More strands of fur decorating your sofa.
Increased puffiness of coat.
Increased licking and grooming, followed by increased fur balls on the carpet.
If your cat is shedding more, a grooming session will keep that fur under control. In nature, your cat would frolic and scamper through bushes and grass. Excess fur would be snagged on branches. Since cats now live indoors, we have to help them get rid of extra fur.
Cat groomers wash, shave or trim, and blow-dry cats. Our goal is comfort and cleanliness. We improve the lives of cats. Short-term, the cat may not appreciate the attention, to say the least. Cat grooming is physical labor. Groomers can be injured on the job, while slipping on wet floors, lifting a fat pet, being bitten or scratched.
Reiki is faith healing. Some groomers are drawn to reiki. I can see why. Reiki is clean and peaceful. No scratches or bites. No shampoo. No wet towels.
Owners can gain a sense of peace from watching their pet receive faith healing, aka reiki. That’s a gift to the owner. I’m guessing the cat appreciates the attention and affection.
The problem is that the actions that do help an animal aren’t so pretty and peaceful. Combing and brushing take time and effort.
I say, “Reiki is so flakey. Grab a comb and brush.”
If you are scared to trim your cat’s claws, that’s okay. Claws are pointy, so your fear is understandable.
If you are afraid to irritate your cat by combing through her fur, that’s okay. Some cats aren’t easy to comb.
YOU don’t have to do these things, but if you want to take good care of your cat, SOMEONE has to do them.
Those claws need to be trimmed. That fur needs to be brushed.
There’s no shame in calling a cat groomer. After all, most of us don’t sew our own dresses or make our own shoes. Most of us don’t bake our own bread. If it’s easier for you, and easier for the cat, go for it.
Speed. It’s a quality. Is it a value? Is working fast always better? No, of course not. When I feel the temptation to value speed over being gentle, patient and careful, that’s when I find out what I’m made of. Animals can’t talk. They can act out their frustration or discomfort, but they can’t tell you that you’re being a jerk.
What will I do when I feel time pressure? Will I brush a little too hard? Will I hold the cat too tightly? Will my body tense up, so that the cat feels nervous? Cats can feel the tension in your body, just as we can feel the moment when their body tenses up. We instinctively know that tension means trouble.
Will I reach my higher goal, which isn’t speed. It’s character development. Will I be the person I want to be? Will this animal be the vehicle — a better word is “guide” — taking me toward my best nature?
Everything we do is an excuse to develop. Stocking shelves in a warehouse is an excuse to develop, but the stakes are lower. If you work with animals and don’t aim high, the animals will pay a price.
Imagine what it would be like if a hairdresser pulled on your grandmother’s arms and legs while doing her hair. Would your grandmother be happy or upset? Would you feel good about the situation, or would you feel worried?
Grooming the older, matted cat poses challenges which are distinct from the challenges involved in grooming a young or middle-aged cat. Cats whose fur is matted require either de-matting with a comb/brush, or shaving/trimming the fur, in addition to bathing. Bathing relieves the skin of excess oil, dandruff and dirt. Trimming the claws is part of the health care process, since elderly cats can develop ingrown claws which penetrate the paw pad.
A younger cat may object to being groomed, but as long as the groomer is careful, discomfort can be avoided.
With an older, matted cat, discomfort may be unavoidable due to arthritis.
(Published in International Cat Care, “Arthritis and degenerative joint disease in cats.”)
I prefer to groom senior cats on a two to four week schedule, so that mats don’t get the chance to form. When shaving matted underarms and groins, it is difficult to avoid holding the elderly cat in a position that will put stress on their joints, since the skin must be stretched taut to avoid nicking their fragile skin.
The best option is frequent brushing and combing sessions with a cat groomer, so that the stresses of shaving can be avoided. Letting the cat live with mats is not an option. Mats pull at the skin, prevent air circulation, and create fertile ground for infection.
It is far easier to gently brush fur and comb fur than it is to complete a full body shave. Think of your grandmother (the nice one, not the mean one) . . . now call the cat groomer.