Unlike dogs, cats enjoy keeping themselves clean, and spend up to half of the time when they are awake grooming themselves. They use their tongues to keep their hair smooth and shiny, and the saliva also helps to keep their skin healthy.
As a cat owner, you should also play an active role in helping your cat to stay clean and tidy. Vets recommend that you groom your cat regularly, using a brush or comb suitable for the length of your cat’s coat. This will help to make sure that no knots or burrs build up in your cat’s fur, and also helps to remove any old hair.
Time to groom?
How often you groom your cat depends on a number of factors, such as the length of your cat’s hair, whether they are shedding, your cat’s state of health and its age. Vets recommend that long-haired cats are groomed once a day, whereas short haired cats only need to be groomed a few times per week. Older cats, cats that are overweight, or cats that are ill may need a bit more help to groom themselves. During periods of shedding, try to comb your cat’s fur as often as you can, to help them to avoid swallowing too much hair whilst grooming.
Grooming your pet should be enjoyable for both of you, and it’s also a good way to bond with your cat. However, some cats really don’t enjoy the experience of being brushed at all. In this case it’s best just to brush them only when really necessary, such as if their fur shows signs of being matted or dirty.
Even the most meticulously groomed moggy will occasionally suffer from hairballs. These occur when the cat swallows hair as they groom themselves, and the hairs form clumps in their digestive tract. Hairballs can cause cats a lot of discomfort. Most hairs pass through the digestive tract and appear in the cat’s stool, but the hair that remains in the stomach collects into a ball, which can cause vomiting, gagging or even constipation.
If you notice that your cat is suffering from hairballs, there are certain products that can help, such as:
- Anti-hairball snacks
- Cat malt paste
- Cat grass (especially for indoor cats)
- Hairball control cat foods
And if you’d like to give your cat’s fur an extra boost, why not try out one of these special skin and coat supplements? Your cat’s coat will be looking glossy and gorgeous in no time!
You should always consult your vet if you are concerned about your cat’s health.