We've all watched our kitties grooming themselves. Basic cat hygiene is an essential part of any mogs daily routine, and they seem to do a pretty good job of keeping themselves clean. But do our cats still need a helping paw from their favourite humans?
They certainly do! So here's everything you need to know about cleaning your cat, including tips on how to bathe a cat and the benefits of regular grooming sessions!
Are cats clean?
Your feline friend dedicates around 50% of their waking day to personal hygiene. A cat's favourite grooming tool is its rough, sandpaper-like tongue. They use it to clean their coats, as well as a few other places! Its barbed texture removes dirt and dead skin, reducing the chances of infectious diseases or matted fur. It also removes fleas and nasty parasites looking for a free meal!
How to care for your first cat?
Despite their meticulous approach to personal hygiene, our cats still need a helping paw. Brushing or combing their fur regularly has several health benefits. It smoothes out any tangles that could develop into awkward (and painful) matting; it spreads natural oils evenly throughout the fur; it helps you spot any fleas or parasites before they start to spread, as well as any lumps or bumps that could be the first sign of an underlying health issue.
Regular brushing doesn't have to be a chore, even when it comes to a longhaired cat. A few minutes each day is enough to keep the most long-haired kitty in good shape, while two or three weekly grooming sessions are ideal for short-haired felines.
What is the best way to bathe a cat?
Most cats don't need a bath, although there are some exceptions. For example, your cat might come home from their adventures covered in mud, or they may come into contact with a toxic substance. Elderly cats and sick cats may also need a little bath to help keep them clean.
Cats aren't very keen on water, and many of them absolutely hate it! In other words, bathing your cat can be hard work, especially in the beginning! Before you even attempt a kitty bath, trim your cat's nails. As we said, cats have a real aversion to water so you should expect some resistance!
After that, make sure you're using specially designed cat shampoos. Avoid using human shampoos and soaps; these may contain ingredients that are toxic for cats.
The kitchen sink is a better option than the bath as there's less room for kitty to escape! You'll also need a pitcher or a large cup and maybe a helper to hold your cat! Start running the tap and keep kitty distracted with a few chin strokes or treats. When you're ready, gently lower the cat into the bath, using the pitcher to pour small amount of warm water over their back. Never use hot water, and never pour the water bowl or pitcher directly over the cat’s head.
Softly rub the shampoo through their fur and gently rinse after a few minutes. Lift kitty out with a towel and start patting them dry. You can also use a hairdryer, but make sure its stays on a cooler setting.
What should you know as a first-time cat owner?
Cats are independent creatures. If they really don't like something, then they won't do it! So if your cat starts showing distress signals, then give up and try another day. If you don't make any progress after a few attempts, then contact a professional cat groomer.
How to clean my kitten's litter box?
There's one thing that cat's never clean, and that's their litter box! So, unfortunately, that job is up to you! Changing cat litter regularly is really important, especially when it comes to owners with indoor cats. Cat faeces contain bacteria and parasites that can cause serious health issues for cats, other household pets, and even humans.
Scoop out the litter and droppings at least once a day. Seal this is a plastic bag and dispose of outside, then wipe the edges of the tray with warm water and detergent. Empty the tray at least once a week for a full clean. Just remember to use cat-friendly products!
There are no set rules when it comes to basic cat hygiene. Your cat can usually keep itself clean, so it's your job to keep an eye on them and step in when they need some extra help. This includes a few extra grooming session, keeping their litter tray fresh, or the very occasional kitty bath!
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