The question ‘should I groom my cat?’ is a common one amongst cat lovers, and the answer depends on each cat’s individual needs, and their physical and mental wellbeing. Plus, your own confidence in handling your beloved feline.
A great quality in cats is that they’re fairly self-sufficient. There’s no walking required, unlike a dog (although you can obviously walk your puss if that’s what they, and you, like to do. Our daughter does, and takes him to the park to play, but hey, that’s another story…). You don’t need to let your furry friend in and out of the house if they have a cat flap to use (even if they do prefer their human to open and close the back door for them upon demand). They have a fairly straight forward diet which requires little preparation. And, they require minimal equipment and care – a comfy bed, feeding bowls, a cat tower or two, litter trays, toys, vaccinations and health checks at the vets.
So, when it comes to the question ‘should I groom my cat?’, there’s often a difference in opinion from cat owners across the country and abroad. And that’s because there’s many factors involved. Some cat owners are adamant that the cat can keep itself pretty clean by self-grooming (providing them with the perfect excuse to cough up a fur ball, quite often on the only piece of pale carpet in the house…).
For some cats it’s absolutely true that they can do a pretty good job of keeping their coat in top notch condition and looking purrfect. But, not all cats either want, or are able, to do that. And for those cats, and their owners, a grooming intervention of some type and level becomes necessary.
When might I need to groom my cat?
Firstly, it’s good to groom your cat just because. You love your cat, your cat loves you, and so what could be better than you both relaxing together, cat on lap being groomed. For those cats that love a fuss and being the centre of their human’s world, grooming is a win:win. It helps you bond, and stroking a cat is proven to be great for our own mental health. Plus, there’s a bonus for the human in that it helps to remove excess fur which, if left, is likely to appear in the form of a furball that you’ll most likely discover whilst walking bare foot to the bathroom in the middle of the night. (We’ve all been there…)
So, other than grooming for pleasure, why else might you need to groom your cat? Well, if your puss is short-haired, in good health and lives mainly or solely indoors, grooming needs are minimal as a short-haired coat is a little easier to keep clean and free of mats.
The indoor cat is less likely to gather dirt and debris in their fur, such as mud, leaves and some form of goo whose origin is always a mystery. And the hair is less likely to get tangled and matted. A healthy, nimble and flexible cat can lick its fur quite easily, even in those hard to reach areas, often spending hours doing so.
Problems arise when the cat:
- Has long hair that can easily tangle and mat
- Goes outside and gets its coat messy
- Is elderly and / or has health problems (e.g. arthritis) which makes it difficult to reach those difficult areas to keep clean
- Has an illness and / or is on medication which can affect the condition of the coat and skin
Who should groom; a professional or me?
If your cat needs a groom, there’s two main choices: to groom the cat yourself, or to call in a professional cat groomer. Both have their merits and the choice needs to be the best one for you AND your lovely feline friend. The cat’s welfare is ALWAYS paramount without exception.
I want to groom my cat myself
If there are no obvious problems, such as serious matting or skin issues, you can absolutely groom your cat yourself. If you use the right tools, and cause no harm, injury or excessive anxiety for the cat (or you!), then why not?
For a short-haired cat with no mats, just ten minutes in the evening whilst puss relaxes on your lap will keep him or her looking smart and gorgeous. And, feeling the fur and body regularly gives you the chance to check puss for anything unusual, such as a lump, bump, bite, injury or pest infestation.
If you start grooming your cat as a kitten they’ll get used to being handled which means future vet checks, or visits to or from a professional groomer, will be a little easier for all concerned (i.e no human body armour required!).
But, a word of warning – if you find a mat in the fur you MUST be very careful. A cat’s skin is very thin and if you pull a mat too hard, or if it’s matted tight to the skin surface, you could tear the cat’s skin and cause an injury.
Plus, if the cat really doesn’t like you grooming it, and becomes aggressive and / or overly stressed, then stop – it’s not going to end well, either for the cat or for you, and will do more harm than good.
I want a professional groomer to groom my cat
Call in a professional cat groomer if the cat has long hair, is matted or has a dirty coat, doesn’t like you grooming it, or if you don’t like to groom him or her yourself (or don’t have the time, tools or confidence to do so).
A cat groomer knows their stuff – they have the right equipment for the task in hand, they’re experienced and are trained to do the absolute best thing for the cat’s physical and mental wellbeing. Yes, there’s a cost involved – but it’s worth it. They’re an amazing source of helpful advice and guidance and, as they’re either mobile, have their own salon, or a combination of both, you can choose a groomer that meets you and your cat’s needs.
So, the answer to ‘Should I groom my cat?’ is yes, but how is up to you and your cat.