Brush Up on Cat Grooming

Make it rewarding. Start by offering treats near the grooming location and tools. And choose a consistent time to start the routine. Once you’ve given treats for several days, you can pick up the brush and slowly introduce the routine. Let your cat come to the brush, reward with a treat, and then gradually increase the interaction until your cat allows you to brush or comb her head. Over time, extend the grooming down the neck and over other parts of the body. For shorthaired cats, start working with a comb, going head to tail. Then use a bristle or rubber brush to get the loose hair off. For longhaired cats, work from the long hair on the legs (to get tangles out) then brush upward to remove loose hair. Once your cat gets into the routine, decrease the amount of treats — except maybe for that one final tasty reward signaling a successful session!

Trim those nails. Cat nails are easy to trim since you can see the quick and only need to snip the clear tips. When learning to do nail trims, ask your veterinary hospital’s best “cat person” to share his or her strategies for successful trimming. And keep your expectations realistic because some cats won’t let you trim more than a nail or two at a time.

To begin, place a towel on your lap and hold your cat “turtled” upside down with her hind legs at your knees so she’s facing away from you. Place your forearms on either side of her body, and apply gentle and firm pressure, but not restraint. This position keeps her from escaping and will allow you to hold a paw in one hand and the nail scissors in the other. If you’re unsuccessful with the lap method, try placing the towel on a favorite chair and draping it and your arm over her to handle each paw while she’s upright.

Finally, if your cat doesn’t enjoy or accept these activities, even with your encouragement, leave grooming to the professionals. Ask your veterinarian if the practice offers grooming or can recommend a professional groomer in the area.

This article originally appeared in the Fall 2015 issue of HealthyPet magazine.

Join the Conversation

Like this article? Have a point of view to share? Let us know!