By Catie Wark
Published on: February 25, 2021
A long-haired cat is not easy to care for. Many families are not educated on the grooming that is required for a long-haired cat when they purchase a cat from a breeder or adopt from a shelter. It is essential to start training your cat to be groomed as soon as possible. Grooming is one of the most essential parts of animal care and health and can save you thousands of dollars in vet bills.
One thing to remember while grooming is to keep yourself safe. Many cats can be desensitized to grooming using treats and positive reinforcement. It is a great idea to have a partner to help you, allowing one person to provide positive reinforcement through pets and treats while the other person brushes. However, some pets are more fearful and may require prescription medications to help calm them prior to grooming.
If your cat is vocalizing during any of the following grooming techniques, STOP– you do not want to push your pet to the point of biting or scratching. If you cannot safely groom your pet at home, contact your veterinarian to find out if they are able to provide grooming services for more fearful or strong-willed pets using mild sedation. If you do receive a bite from your cat during grooming, it’s very important to clean the area immediately with warm water and mild soap, then go to an urgent care facility as soon as possible for treatment. Cat bites can cause serious bacterial infections which could lead to sepsis.
Daily brushing is very important for your long-haired cat. This prevents matting and removes hair from their coat that could end up in their body as a hairball. You should have three types of brushes on hand: an undercoat comb, a flea comb, and a wire brush.
Prep the coat with a wire brush by brushing against and with the growth of the hair. Stay away from sensitive areas like the face or feet, as the wire could hurt them. Then, use the flea comb to comb the small hairs in and around the face and legs. The undercoat comb which has short and long teeth is used to brush out the body once more to release loose, shedding fur.
Be sure to brush more around the ears, armpits, and back legs, as these areas easily get matted. If your cat does get matted, do not use scissors to remove it. Bring your cat to a professional or gently use a clipper. We do not recommend shaving their entire bodies, because cats have long hair for a reason and they should be taking care of their fur. If they are not grooming themselves, see your vet about this hygiene issue. In the case of neglect, a cat may need a lion-cut to give them a fresh start.
Overall, a cat’s long-haired coat can be hard to maintain, but if you set out time every day in your schedule, your cat will be very thankful. Brushing is a perfect time to bond with them and can be extremely therapeutic for you and the cat if done correctly.