How To Keep Your Cat Clean
How to Keep Your Cat Clean
Most cats are meticulous about cleaning their coats, which means that there’s generally no need to bathe or shampoo them regularly. However, all felines sometimes require a little extra attention to prevent their fur from becoming matted or tangled, and to keep their eyes, ears, and teeth in good shape. Get in the habit of brushing out your cat once a week or more, depending on the length of its coat. While you’ve got them sitting still, give their teeth a thorough brushing, and check their eyes and ears for signs of infection.
Grooming Your Cat
Brush out your cat’s coat once or twice a week.Most short-haired cats should be brushed out about every other day to keep their fur smooth and soft. The process only takes a few minutes, but is very important for your cat’s appearance and overall health. Consistent grooming helps to remove loose hair that can otherwise form knots and tangles.
- Long-haired varieties may need to be brushed several times a week, or even on a daily basis.
- The more frequently you brush your cat, the easier it will be to work out clumps of fur before they turn into stubborn mats.
Comb your cat’s fur to prepare it for brushing.A preliminary combing will make it easier to work the finer brush teeth through your cat’s fur. Stainless steel deshedding combs are especially useful when it comes to removing loose hair. Use the same technique you would use to comb your own hair—make sure that the comb reaches down to the skin and drag it slowly and smoothly along the length of your cat’s coat.
- Always comb your cat’s fur from head to tail, which is the direction that it lays naturally. Going in the opposite direction could tug on its fur.
- Many cats tolerate or even enjoy being combed, as long as you’re gentle and work slowly.
Brush out your cat using a stiff-bristled brush.When it come time to switch to a brush, choose one with firm, fixed bristles or short metal prongs. These are easier to work through dense coats and tend to collect more shed hairs. As you did before, work from the head down towards the tail, going over each section a few times until it’s soft and fluffy. Don’t forget to turn your cat over and brush their tummy, as well.
- While you're brushing, examine your kitty's skin closely for potential issues like wounds, fleas, lumps, or bumps. Also, look for signs of infection, like red or irritated skin, swelling, or discharge. If you notice anything out of the ordinary, take your cat to the vet for diagnosis and treatment.
- Failure to groom your cat’s coat properly can result in knots and tangles, which can cause discomfort or even lead to skin irritation or infection.
Break apart stubborn matted fur by hand.If your cat has lots of compacted clumps in its coat, it may be necessary to separate them manually before you can comb them out completely. Use your fingertips to gently pull and coax the hairs until they begin to loosen. Once you’ve teased the ends free, go to work on the clump with a detangler brush to speed things along.
- If you’re not having any luck eliminating large knots and mats, you may have no choice but to cut them out.
Cut out unruly knots with electric clippers.Slide the teeth of your comb between your cat’s skin and the troublesome knot, then lift the comb to pull the knot away from the skin. Use electric clippers to shear away the knot a safe distance from where it connects to the skin. If possible, keep your fingers between your cat’s skin and the clippers to serve as a protective buffer.
- Never attempt to cut a knot unless there’s room to fit your comb beneath it. It can be easy to accidentally nick your cat’s skin if it’s puckered up inside.
- It's generally best to avoid scissors, as the unprotected blades tend to make accidents more common. However, you might have more success with scissors if your cat is frightened of the sound of the clippers—just be sure to work slowly and cautiously.
Take matted long-haired cats to a professional groomer.Sometimes when a cat’s fur is particularly full, clumps can spread from one part of its body to another until they begin to grow into a single solid layer. In these instances, it’s best to seek out the services of a professional groomer. They’ll know the safest and most suitable methods for grooming your cat’s hair type.
- Consider taking feisty, anxious, or aggressive cats to the vet as well. Having them sedated will make the process much easier for both of you. Be aware, however, that anesthesia could present more of a risk to older cats.
- If your cat’s fur is prone to matting, inspect its fur and skin weekly since mats can cause skin infections.
Give your cat a bath when it gets extra dirty.If your cat has trouble grooming itself, or it’s gotten into something smelly, it may be in need of a thorough scrubbing. Fill your bathtub or a deep sink with a few inches of warm (not hot!) water and use a pitcher or detachable shower head to wet your kitty from neck to tail. Lather it up with a feline-approved shampoo, then rinse thoroughly until all traces of soap are gone. Once it’s nice and clean, wrap it in a plush towel and pat it dry gently.
- You may need another person to help you out with this task.
- Place a rubber mat at the bottom of the sink or tub to prevent your kitty from slipping.
- Be careful not to get shampoo around your cat’s eyes or ears. A damp washcloth can come in handy for touching up these areas.
Brushing Your Cat's Teeth
Visit the vet for a dental cleaning if necessary.If you notice that your cat has red, swollen gums (particularly along the tooth line) or hard, yellow/brown tartar build-up, make an appointment with the vet. You won’t be able to sufficiently clean the cat’s gums by brushing them. The cat will need to be sedated by a veterinarian so the tartar can be removed both above and below the gumline.
Brush your cat’s teeth daily if possible.Just as you brush your own teeth twice a day, your cat’s teeth also need frequent cleaning. If you’re unable to brush your cat’s teeth every day, once or twice a week can still go a long way in preventing the buildup of harmful bacteria and tartar deposits.
- Part of keeping your cat clean is addressing its dental hygiene. When cats with dirty teeth clean themselves, they spread foul-smelling saliva all over their coats, which causes them to take on an unpleasant odor.
Use a toothbrush and toothpaste designed specifically for cats.Soft-bristled toothbrushes will be less irritating on your cat’s teeth and gums. Additionally, you’ll need a tube of feline toothpaste. You can usually find these items at your local groomer’s, pet supply store, or veterinarian’s office.
- A child-sized toothbrush or rubber finger brush will also get the job done.
- Never use human toothpaste to brush your cat’s teeth. The fluoride in human toothpaste is toxic to cats and can cause a variety of health issues, including digestive and bone problems.
Place your cat on an elevated surface.Sitting your cat on a table or countertop will keep you from having to bend, stoop, or crouch in order to be in a good position to brush its teeth. If you can’t find a suitable surface, cradle your cat with your non-dominant arm so you’ll be able to hold the toothbrush with your dominant hand.
- Keep a firm grip on your cat to keep it from squirming or trying to run away.
Brush your cat’s teeth away from the gumline.Pull your cat’s upper lip back to expose its upper teeth. Sweep the bristles of the toothbrush gingerly over each visible tooth, moving from the gums to the tip. Once you’re done, repeat on the bottom row, brushing up toward the roof of your cat’s mouth.
- Brushing away from the gumline removes tartar and food debris from your cat’s mouth rather than simply pushing it around.
Follow up with a feline-friendly oral rinse.For maximum protection, rinse your cat’s teeth with an antiseptic once you’ve finished brushing them. Squirt a small amount of the solution over your cat’s freshly-scrubbed teeth and gums, or use a cotton swab to apply it. A quality oral rinse will help keep bacteria at bay for up to 12 hours.
- Look for products containing the chemical chlorhexidine, which has been shown to be effective for killing germs and loosening hardened plaque.
- An oral rinse will get your cat’s teeth cleaner than brushing alone, but it’s not a necessity. Just make sure your cat has access to their water bowl after brushing to flush away any remaining traces of toothpaste.
Put your cat on a tooth-healthy diet.Feed your feline friend a combination of wet and dry foods. Wet foods are rich in the kinds of essential nutrients that your cat needs to maintain a healthy coat and teeth, and are great for an occasional tasty treat. The rest of the time, keep their bowl filled with dry kitty kibble, which will scrape and polish their teeth as they chew.
- You could also start buying dry foods that are specially formulated to promote dental health, such as Purina Veterinary Diet Feline Dental Health or Royal Canin Feline Health Oral Sensitive.
- Dental treats are another option. These work similarly to dry food, but contain additional compounds designed to clean and freshen your cat's teeth, gums, and breath.
Cleaning Your Cat's Eyes and Ears
Check your cat’s eyes and ears regularly.Healthy eyes will be clear and glassy, with little tearing or discharge.Similarly, your cat’s ears should be a light pink color with a thin layer of hair and no unusual buildup beyond a little bit of dirt or wax.
- Examine your cat somewhere with good lighting that will offer you a better look.
- Try to get in the habit of taking a look at your cat’s eyes and ears every few days. The sooner you spot something unusual, the less of a problem it will be.
Wipe away light discharge from the corners of your cat’s eyes.Wet a washcloth or cotton ball with warm water and use it to gently blot any crusted or discolored areas you find. Apply continual pressure to dried streaks and globs until they begin to soften, then wipe the remaining residue to clear it away. This should be done every 2-3 days, or more frequently as discharge and discoloration begin to build up.
- You’ll have a much easier time wiping away the normal sorts of secretions before they have a chance to harden.
- Be careful not to get too close to the eyeball itself. Scratching it could cause permanent damage.
Use a cotton ball to swab the inside of your cat’s ears.Go over the outer recesses of your cat’s ears with a cotton ball to remove as much dust, wax, and other debris as possible. Avoid going too deep—a good rule of thumb is to clean only what you can see.
- Start taking a peek inside your cat's ears on a weekly basis, and giving them a quick swab if necessary.
- Never use a cotton swab or any other implement that could damage your cat’s ears.
- If your vet recommends an ear cleaner, you can use that to clean your cat’s ears. However, never put water in your cat’s ears, as it could cause an infection.
- Don’t attempt to flush your cat’s ears with drops unless specifically instructed to do so by your vet. Cats tend to be sensitive to the effect of fluid on the ear canal.
Inspect your cat regularly for signs of infection.Occasional discharge is perfectly normal. Redness, swelling, and strange odors or secretions are not. If your cat exhibits any of these symptoms, book an appointment with your vet right away. They may need special treatment for their condition to improve.
- Mild inflammation may also cause your cat to shake its head or scratch at its ears compulsively.
- Other symptoms of a possible eye or ear infection include excessive discharge, loss of vision or hearing, and unusual behavior, such as changes in mood or activity.
Showing Attention to Sensitive Areas
Use cleansing wipes to freshen up your cat’s coat.Every now and then, your kitty may get a little dirty, but not enough to require a real bath. When this happens, simply give it a quick once over with a moist cat wipe. A few strokes will leave your cat’s fur soft, shiny, and smelling good.
- You should be able to find cat wipes at any major pet supply store. In addition to the ordinary variety, they’re sometimes available in hypoallergenic and scent-free formulas, as well.
- Most cat wipes are made with mild natural cleansers, which means they’re safe to use even on cats with sensitive skin.
Keep your cat’s claws trimmed.Hold your cat firmly but gently on your lap or in the crook of your arm and take hold of one paw. Press down on the pad to make the claws extend. Then, clip the sharp tip of each claw just enough to blunt it. When you’re done, give your kitty a treat to reward it for its good behavior.
- Your cat’s claws will likely need a light trim every 10 days to 2 weeks.
- Be extremely careful not to cut down into the “quick,” or the light pink part of the nail. There are many blood vessels sensitive nerve endings there, and clipping it can be painful.
Wipe down your cat’s paws as needed.Use a damp towel or cat wipe to remove dust and dirt from your feline’s feet. Make sure you get in between their toes and in the area around their paw pads, as well. This should be done at least twice a week, or more frequently if your cat spends a lot of time playing outside.
- Your cat’s paws will be less likely to pick up debris if you clean and vacuum the floor of your home regularly.
Inspect your cat for messy hindquarters.Sometimes when old, overweight, or long-haired cats go to the bathroom, their stool can get stuck and harden in the fur around their back legs. The best way to deal with this is to wet a washcloth with warm water and wipe down the area, lightly pulling at the hair to loosen as much dried waste as possible.
- You could also use a couple scented cat wipes, which have the added benefit of being disposable.
- Get in the habit of checking your cat’s rear end every time it uses the litter box.
- Keeping the hair around your cat’s backside neatly trimmed can help prevent future messes.
- Do your best to make sure your cat is comfortable, relaxed, and at ease before you brush it out or go poking around its eyes and ears.
- Take your cat to the vet for a full checkup once a year. This is also a good time to get them tested for other unseen health risks like heartworm or respiratory infections.
- Pay special attention to older cats. As felines age, they become less capable of keeping up with basic grooming, and their coats can quickly become knotted and unkempt as a result.
- If you’re not confident in your ability to clean your cat the right way, leave it to a professional groomer or veterinarian.
Video: How to Keep the Litter Box Fresh & Clean! Easy Ideas for Cleaning Up After Your Cat (Clean My Space)
How to String a Recurve Bow
HOT SPOT: JW Marriott Marquis Hotel Dubai, UAE
21 Slow Cooking Tips
The bodyweight fat blasting workout
London receptionist sent home for not wearing heels (yes it is still 2019)
3 Gifts to Buy Any Accessories Addict ThisYear
How to choose right food for health
How to Dump a Nice Guy
Cheryl Fernandez-Versini Calls Out The Double Standards’ Women Face When Being Called Underweight
4 Easy Steps to Applying Fake Lashes That Dont Look Fake