No More Fears: Follow These Quick and Simple Cat Grooming Tips

All you need is a dose of confidence and our experts' tips to make your cat shine.

By Kathy Swanwick | Posted: Fri Mar 30 00:00:00 PST 2001

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Johnson-Bennett initiates grooming sessions with her own three domestic shorthairs while they're stretched out in the sun. Sometimes she even plays soothing music to relax them further. She pets and talks to her cats while she brushes their coats, checks ears, cleans teeth and clips claws. She stops as soon as she notices them tense up, even if it means certain tasks, such as clipping nails, must be performed over the course of two days or bathing is put off for another day. 

"I know my cats, and I know what makes them fidgety," Johnson-Bennett says. Whatever routine works best for you and your cat, do it quickly. "Make it over before the cat even knows what you did," she says.

The following step-by-step tips and advice help ensure pleasurable grooming sessions - for both you and your cat.

Nail Trimming
Salzberg sees many cats with a low tolerance for grooming. However, thanks to her speed and gentle touch, she's only been bitten once in more than 20 years of work. She starts by clipping their nails, which she recommends doing once a month. "This eliminates scratching and lets us know if the cat is manageable," Salzberg says.

Keep in mind that few individuals can clip their cat's claws as quickly as a professional, so you may need to do one or two paws a day according to the cat's stress level. This strategy takes more time, but it is a better solution than holding the cat down and trying to clip all the claws at once.

"The cat will remember the struggle the next time it sees you coming with your clippers and head for safer territory - out of your reach," Johnson-Bennett says.

Follow these steps for effective nail clipping:

1. Start young. Kittens tolerate new procedures more easily than adult cats and will become accustomed to the procedure.

2. Approach your cat with an air of confidence, using a small pair of clippers designed specially for cats.

3. Get a partner to help hold your cat, or use a grooming noose to keep it on the table or countertop. Holding your cat gently by the scruff of the neck, the way its mother would carry it, immobilizes it while you work.

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