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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4. Start with the front paws, pressing on the footpad to unsheathe the claw. Salzberg says this gives her more of a sense of control to begin in the front. "I think it's easier,'' she says.

5. Clip only the clear, hooked portion and avoid the visible, pink quick, the vein that runs the length of the nail. Clipping the quick will make it bleed and is a painful experience for your cat. If you do cut into the quick, use styptic powder to stop the bleeding.

6. Move on to the back paws, talking to your cat while you work. The whole clipping procedure should take only a few minutes, Salzberg says. "People are amazed. Before they know it, it's over. The more confident you are, the better you can do this job."

Brushing and Combing
The amount of grooming you need to do varies with each breed. Therefore, when looking for a cat, consider the time you are willing to devote to its grooming regimen. Persians and Himalayans, such as Woobie, Maximillian and Ling-Ling, need daily brushing and combing to keep them mat-free. If you're unwilling or unable to put this amount of time in, pick a shorthaired breed or arrange to have your cat professionally groomed.

Salzberg says you should brush and comb out the cat to eliminate mats before you bathe it. "Once the mats get wet, they're beyond brushing," she says. "These cats have to be shaved down."

Gentle brushing encourages a cat to welcome your touch. "I work on building trust," Johnson-Bennett says. "I find out what the cat likes. I may hide a currycomb in my hand and run it over the cat's head. This gets it used to the feeling."

Cats require the most brushing in the spring, when they shed their winter coats, and in the fall, when they grow a new one. During this season, even cats that are fastidious groomers need your help in reducing hairballs, says Drew Weigner, DVM, of The Cat Doctor, in Atlanta. "When cats groom themselves, they ingest hair and develop temporary blockages in the stomach. Then they throw up. It's a common complaint."

Although hairballs are simply unpleasant for 99 percent of cats, some develop serious intestinal blockage requiring surgery to remove. Hairballs can adversely affect older cats, which often have other illnesses. Vomiting may cause them to become dehydrated or to stop eating.

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