As a proud mama to two long-haired cats (one of whom has no teeth for working knots out of her coat), I know a thing or two about how much work can go into grooming. Sometimes it can feel as if shaving a long-haired cat is the best option– why not just get rid of the problem altogether, right? Unfortunately, it’s not that simple. Your cat’s coat plays a huge role in her ability to regulate her body temperature; it helps her stay cool in the summer and warm in the winter. Therefore, shaving should be a last resort. With a small daily or weekly time commitment, you should be able to quickly and easily keep your cat’s coat smooth and mat-free. Here are 9 tips to get you started.
#1 – Encourage good grooming habits from a young age
The easiest way to get your cat used to being touched and groomed is to start early. You’ll have a big advantage in the grooming department if you’ve adopted your new long-haired friend as a kitten or young cat. The sooner you can introduce brushing as a normal and safe activity, the easier grooming will be for the rest of your cat’s life.
#2 – Develop a regular brushing routine
Whether you’re grooming a kitten or older cat, one key ingredient to stress-free grooming is developing a routine. Devoting a regular portion of your day or week to grooming your cat will help you catch minor problems before they get big. It will also help your cat become familiar with the process, so she won’t be scared of the brush or feel like she’s being put in an unpredictable situation.
#3 – Use a brush or comb designed for long-haired cats
Using the right kind of brush can make all the difference when it comes to grooming. A brush for long-haired cats will be specifically designed to work it’s way through a thick coat. A brush that has been designed for short-haired cats will defeat the purpose by only brushing the surface of a long-haired cat’s coat. Our personal favorite is The FURminator tool.
#4 – Use a mat breaker
Mat breaking tools are smaller than grooming brushes, making them ideal for awkwardly-placed knots. A mat breaker will quickly and easily cut through tough knots so you can get the job done before your cat even knows what’s happening.
#5 – Groom your cat’s undercoat
No matter what kind of brush or tool you choose to use, make sure you’re working through your cat’s top coat to reach the under coat. Reaching both layers is the best way to remove loose hair and mats from a long-haired cat.
#6 – Feed a well-balanced diet
A well-balanced diet is an essential part of making sure your cat’s coat is healthy. If your cat’s coat is notoriously unruly or problematic, talk to your veterinarian about switching your cat to a diet that’s rich in coat-nourishing ingredients like Vitamin E and Omegas.
#7 – Pet more
Petting is a great way to stay in touch (literally) with the status of your cat’s coat and skin before problems get out of hand. Your fingers can also act as a comb to work out small tangles.
#8 – Hire a professional groomer
Some long-haired cats have more unruly coats than others. Don’t hesitate to hire a professional if you can’t reel it in on your own. A professional groomer will be skilled at efficiently removing mats, will have experience with fussy cats, and can provide you with hands-on tips to bring home with you.
#9 – See a veterinarian
In some cases, it can be a sign of and illness or injury if a cat isn’t grooming properly. If you suspect your cat isn’t feeling well, or if your formerly well-groomed cat is looking a bit raggedy, make an appointment with your veterinarian for a checkup.
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