Frequently Asked Questions - Maintenance Grooming
Have questions about how to maintain your cat's coat between grooms? Hopefully, the answers are below.
My cat hates to be brushed. Any advice?
A general approach to dealing with cats is to assume your cat is thinking "what is in this for me?" which means that the best way to get a cat to do anything is to reward positive behavior and ignore negative. In terms of brushing, this means rewarding them for letting you brush them. Start with really short sessions and if your kitty lets you brush a few times, give them a reward (a treat is the best - use ones you can break up into small pieces so you aren't over feeding). If your cat gets up and wanders away, let them, but don't give a treat. Your goal is to make them decide that staying and getting brushed is more rewarding than leaving. This method will require a lot of patience and persistence from you, but it can help.
Of course, cats are complex and individual creatures and that won't work with everyone. I tell people whose cats are prone to knotting to use any small brushing window to get problem areas. So, if your kitty always mats on their back by their tail, brush there first.
Finally, if your cat is really adverse to brushing but has problems with matting, some people opt to just keep their hair short.
What sort of brush do you recommend? Are Furminators good?
Yes, Furminators do a good job on most cat's fur. They aren't cheap, so I recommend borrowing one from a friend if you can, just to make sure it will work for your kitty. If it does, they are worth the investment. There are other brushes out now that are similar - they are also good.
Beyond that, the type of brush that's best depends on your cat's coat. If you have a short hair, a regular slicker brush is usually fine. Longer haired cats - especially ones with matting issues - need a brush that gets down to the base of their fur. I often hear that "the mats just appeared overnight." Matting forms underneath the top layer and if you are just using a slicker brush on that layer, you're likely to miss the mats when they're small. So, while it does seem like they came from nowhere, they've actually been growing under the guard hairs for some time. That's why I also recommend a metal comb if you have a long haired cat. It allows you to find mats when they're still small.
Note: if you find tiny knots and want to cut them out with scissors, put the comb between the knot and your kitty's skin. Don't pull up on the mat - just cut along the comb. Cat's skin is quite thin and flexible, so if you just grab a knot and pull it away from the cat, there's a chance you will cut their skin along with their hair.
How do I get my cat used to nail trims if he/she absolutely hates it?
First, try getting them used to having their paws touched. If they're good with that, start getting them used to having their nails extended. As with the brushing advice above, only do a little bit at a time and offer rewards (treats or petting and vocal praise) very frequently to start. So, if your cat lets you extend one nail without snapping, they get a treat. The goal here is to get them used to this motion when nothing is going to happen in addition to teaching them that having their paws touched is a good thing. Finally, when you are going to do an actual nail trim, keep in mind that for the first little while, you may only get one paw (or even only a couple of nails) at a time before your cat has had enough. Again, offer rewards when (and only when) they cooperate - after each nail to start with and then gradually extending that to after every other nail and hopefully, eventually, once per paw. When they do try to run away, let them go and try again in a few minutes. The less trapped and stressed out they feel with nail trims, the easier it will be for you in the long run.
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