Cats try to groom themselves, but their standards of what cleanliness probably doesn’t line up with their owners! Most cats would be happy to be left to stay clean through licking themselves, but sometimes owners need to intervene.

Grooming a cat can be an unappreciated task. However, there is a correct way to go about grooming a cat that should minimise the time you spend doing it while keeping your cat’s fur and nails in perfect condition. For some breeds of cat, grooming is absolutely essential. Pure Breed cats will often come with complex grooming needs and even short-haired mixed breed cats need a bit of grooming attention.

This can get complicated when you consider the vast array of grooming gadgets and conflicting advice on how to keep your cat clean. Training your cat to endure the grooming can also be a struggle. There are some methods you can use to make your grooming routine isn’t causing them unnecessary stress. Grooming a cat can be a comfortable experience for both of you.

There is also the small matter of a cat’s nails. Cat scratches hurt. You can try and train them not to indulge in this behaviour but most cats will eventually end up scratching by mistake. Some owners even resort to cruel practises to try and alleviate this problem. There is a responsible and kind way to trim a cats nails. The grooming requirements on each cat start with which type of cat they are.

Grooming Needs of Different Cats

Grooming a Cat - sitting in the garden

Each cat is different and has different grooming needs. Pure breed cats can have widely different needs. Before committing to one of these breeds of cat, you should spend some time researching their needs to ensure you can meet them. Mixed breed cats are a little simpler, but even their needs depend on their type of fur.

Short haired cats should be groomed around somewhere between once a week or every two weeks. This will depend on their activity level, cats that are prone to getting into mischief could end up needing more grooming. It is important to check your cat for fleas and try to remove any loose hair.

Longhaired cats have even more grooming requirements. These cats need to be groomed daily to keep their fur in top condition. You should choose a time when they are relaxed to brush their hair as it can be stressful. Longhairs will quickly acquire matted fur if they are not treated, so you should try and make sure that you’re keeping on top of their requirements.

Every type of cat will need some grooming of their nails regardless of their fur, but this can be quite tricky. Grooming a cat isn’t something they tend to enjoy, this applies to pretty much every breed. so it may take some time to train them to behave while you go through this. You can help this process by gradually increasing the length of time you spend grooming them in each session. You should praise your cat and give them a treat at the end of the session, but be sure to stop if your cat has had enough.

Grooming a Cat with Shampoo

cat in a tree

Most cats have very little tolerance for baths. If you’ve ever tried you’ve probably seen their reaction. So it’s a good thing that most cats will not require a bath regularly. Cats who have gotten fleas or a specific condition that relates to their skin may require some bathing. In these cases, you should follow the instructions to treat this condition. Otherwise, your cat should be capable of cleaning themselves. However, sometimes things happen and a cat will need help grooming themselves. Despite being naturally cleanly, cats are capable of getting themselves into an awfully dirty condition when outside playing. Sometimes climbing up trees will get them so dirty, that a bath is absolutely unavoidable.

Bathing your cat is likely to be a stressful and difficult occasion. They will not approach the bath well. Try and keep your cat calm and reward good behaviour throughout the process. You can use shampoo while bathing your cat, but you have to do so carefully. You shouldn’t ever use shampoo for humans on your cat. These contain all sorts of ingredients that are good for us but disastrous for a cat’s skin. It can dry them out and cause major problems.

Bathing a cat - Wet Cat shampooing

Photo by @K-nekoTR

If your cat has a specific skin condition, then you should get shampoo that will help with this. There are specific shampoos for cats with dry skin, ones containing Aloe Vera are usually quite soft on them and will help ease the condition. If you use the right shampoo, a wash can get your cat looking and smelling better than ever. You should still avoid bathing them unnecessarily.

What Equipment Do You Need When Grooming a Cat?

grooming a cat with a grooming brush

Photo credit Hateli brush

There is a lot of equipment on the market for grooming a cat. It can be tempting to think that all you need to smooth out your grooming routine is more equipment. However, most cats don’t like grooming and no amount of specialist tools will change this. There are some options for equipment that will make aspects of grooming easier, but each is useful to different types of cat and their fur. Even if a tool is useful for your type of cat’s grooming needs, it won’t necessarily be for your specific cat.

Grooming Gloves can work wonders with certain types of animals but are useless for others. It really depends on your cat’s hair. Most short-haired or medium-haired cats won’t have long enough fur for a glove to be particularly useful in removing their malting fur. They are quite useful for a lot of breeds of dog, and some long-haired cats. This isn’t a good tool for every type of cat. Grooming a cat will depend on the type of fur your cat has, there isn’t a one size fits all solution.

cat grooming gloves

Cat grooming gloves by OMORC on Amazon

A FURminator is a fairly fancy looking tool that promises to make grooming a cat a breeze. These tools are very useful and do work well. It does a good enough job of removing hair but the brushing isn’t ideal, you’re still better off doing this by hand. It does however do a good job of removing your cat’s fur to try and minimise loose hairs scattered around your house. Shedding is an unfortunate necessity of having a cat around. Tools like a FURminator will help make it easier on you, but there isn’t a solution to stop a shedding cat from shedding. A few loose hairs is just something that’s unavoidable.

Trimming a Cat’s Nails

Grooming a Cat - cat with paws in the air

Cat claws are sharp and can really hurt. Pet owners who are used to grooming their dogs might be tempted to keep clipping away at their cat’s nails to keep them in good condition. Cat’s nails are a little different to dogs. Owners can shorten their cat’s nails, but they should be careful not to over shorten them. Declawing cats entirely is a cruel practise that shouldn’t be done, no matter how much your cat’s nails get in the way.

To trim your cat’s nails, you should first get them sat with you in a relaxed state. Choose a place where they feel comfy and secure, make sure you’re not catching your cat while stressed. You should also get them used to having their paw massaged to ensure the claws are fully visible. Using a clipper to trim your cat’s nails will take some training. The first thing to do is to get your cat used to the sound of the clipper. Once they are accustomed to hearing this sound while relaxing, they will react less erratically during grooming. To get your cat used to having their nails clips, reward them after clipping each nail. Clip one in a session at first and work your way up until you can do all nails within one sitting without any incidents.

cat nail clippers for cat grooming

Cat nail clippers by Harzara

Only clip the sharp end of the nail. Going any further into a cat’s claw is painful and damaging to the cat. Scratching posts will also help keep their nails healthy. If your cat’s nails are a problem, you should cut them every two weeks or so, but do not get them de-clawed.

Grooming A Cat

cat with closed eyes

Grooming a cat can be very stressful for both you and your pet. The important thing is to keep your cat’s comfort and happiness in mind. You should work your way up to giving them a full groom. If they can’t sit comfortably for the entire time it takes to deal with their fur or nails, you should only do a little bit and then reward them. This will gradually teach them that there is nothing to be afraid of when it comes to grooming.

Each cat has different grooming needs. Shorter haired breeds have much less active grooming needs, but they will shed a lot more. This in of itself can cause problems. If you’re willing to use some tools to remove this fur it can make things easier. Alternatively, you can just hoover a lot! There are a lot of products on the market that try to convince you that they are the key to an easy grooming routine. Most of them are unnecessary. All you really need to groom your cat is a few basic items like a brush, cat shampoo, and nail clippers. Other things like a FURminator can make your job easier, but they aren’t essential. As long as you train and reward your cat for good behaviour, then grooming a cat should become a little easier.

cat scratching the sofa with nails

Photo by Adriaan Bloem