Do Cats Need Grooming?
Updated: May 16
Most cat owners enjoy the fact that cats tend to be more independent than dogs. In our experience as professional cat sitters, however, we find that cat parents may be underestimating some of their cats' needs. At Hearts at Home Pet Sitting, we believe that cats need daily cat sitting visits while their humans travel. We believe cats need enrichment, exercise, and thoughtful engagement. And, today, we want to share why we also believe that the answer to the age-old question, "Do cats need grooming?" is a resounding "yes!"
Cats Need Brushing
Cats need brushing, especially longhaired cats that are more prone to matting than their shorthaired counterparts. While many cats might fight brushing time - likely because they are matted, causing brushing to be painful or uncomfortable - brushing is a basic care requirement for all cats. If cats are not regularly brushed, they can develop what is known as a pelt.
According to the National Cat Groomers Institute, "A pelt is a mass of fused together mats that form over a cat’s body. A pelt can be small, covering only a portion of a cat’s body, such as a hip or the belly. And a pelt can be large, covering nearly every part of a cat, even to up around the face and to the ends of the tail."
When disregarded and allowed to develop into a "turtle shell" or "body cast," pelts can require surgical removal. Yes, you read that right. Your cat could require sedation and a scalpel to remove the overgrowth of matted hair that has taken over its body. Pelting is painful therefore preventing pelts is a must for dedicated cat lovers.
Unbrushed cats can also develop hairballs, which form when cats ingest undigestible hair and fur and then regurgitate it for their guardians to discard. Hairballs can also pose health concerns. A cat that has been gagging on a hairball for extended periods should be seen by a veterinarian immediately to rule out hairball obstruction.
Cats Need Nail Trims
While most cat parents recognize that unkempt cat nails are razor sharp and potentially dangerous to our skin, furniture, rugs, etc., many cat guardians are not cutting their cats' nails often enough.
According to the Human Society of the United States, cats need nail trims every two to three weeks. They provide this guide to those that are a little nervous about trimming their cats' nails. Per VetStreet.com's Dr. Marty Becker, one of the main benefits of nail trims for cats is preventing painful broken claws that can result when a sharp tip gets caught in soft furnishings around your home.
Cats Need Baths
While bathing a cat may be a novel concept for many, there is a method to the madness. Of course, most furred and hair-covered animals don't need baths as often as humans do. Their hair type will determine the frequency with which cats need to be bathed.
Cats do a great job of grooming themselves most of the day. Yet, some cats have a hard time reaching certain areas of their bodies. Many cats will also groom preferred areas regularly while neglecting others, just out of habit. Senior and geriatric cats in particular have a hard time stretching to groom areas down yonder, areas often in most need of grooming.
Because poorly groomed cats can become greasy, matted, etc. it's a good idea to acclimate cats to baths when they are young. If you don't feel comfortable bathing your cat yourself, certified professional cat groomers are an excellent choice.
Keep in mind that regular bathing can also control shedding, which is a huge benefit to the whole family, especially those whose chore it is to vacuum or pick up hairballs.
Cats Need Haircuts
Longhaired cats need daily brushing to prevent matting, yet most cat lovers aren't providing that level of care. Shorthaired cats can do with weekly brushing but even that's easily forgotten when families get busy. Unfortunately, cats whose coats have been neglected will need haircuts to prevent pelts from forming.
Haircuts for cats are also considered preventative care because shorter hair tends to tangle less, leading to fewer mats. Regular haircuts for cats will make brushing easier, less painful for the cat, and less tedious for their owners.
The jury is still out on whether or not cats need haircuts in extreme temperatures. When deciding whether or not your cat needs a summer haircut, consider that haircuts don't have to mean shaving down to the cat's skin. Haircuts can simply involve taking an inch or two off of the coat to make the cat's grooming and care more manageable.
Cats Need Patience & Understanding
New experiences can be very stressful for our feline friends. When starting a new grooming regimen, whether it be at home or with a professional, take it one step at a time. Work together with your veterinarian and groomer to ensure that your cat is comfortable at grooming appointments, even if they need to be sedated.
Single-ingredient treats and treat pouches are a great way to encourage kittens and cats to accept grooming as a positive part of their care.
If you are looking for a professional cat groomer in our area, we highly recommend Purrocious Styles Feline Designs.
At Hearts at Home Pet Sitting, cat care is one of our specialties. We ensure cats are at ease, properly cared for, and content in our company. If your travel plans call for a cat sitter, count on us to keep your feline family safe and happy at home. We offer premier quality cat sitting in the Tabb, Grafton, and Seaford areas of Yorktown as well as Poquoson, Virginia. To learn more, please contact us by email at Hello@HeartsAtHomePetSitting.com or by phone at 757-745-9868.