Grooming your cat should never be considered a chore; instead, consider it quality time with additional benefits because cats who enjoy being brushed and petted are more likely to be sociable and pleasantly interactive with everyone in the household.
Why is Grooming So Important?
While cats may spend up to three hours a day grooming themselves, most of the time they’re just doing a lot of superficial licking to keep their fur clean. This means they still need regular help from a pet parent (you!) to keep fur from matting, to keep the growth of fur between their toes under control, and to keep their nails trimmed.
By being hands-on and helping remove loose hair you are preventing it from being ingested causing hairballs and, possibly, even intestinal problems. And, you are more likely to spot any potential skin problems or fleas.
Despite the fact that young kittens don't shed until they are around three months old, they still enjoy being brushed with a very soft brush (even a baby’s brush) and benefit from the interaction. It’s also a really good idea to play with them by touching their paws, splaying their toes and gently massaging their paw pads. All this will stand you in good stead for when your kitten grows older and needs regular manicures. The same can be said for petting your kitten’s ears, gently touching their lips, and tickling her under the chin. You are simply paving the way for the day when you may have to administer medication.
Adopted an older cat? The same touch-and-feel routine applies. Older cats who may not have experienced much hands-on attention may take a little longer to come around. In this case, consider treats a part of your grooming “tool kit” and dispense a treat when you start and also when you end the session so that your cat learns to associate these sessions with a tasty bonus!
Where Should I Groom my Cat?
There’s no correct place to groom your cat. Ultimately, she will decide where she enjoys it the most. It could be in her favorite pet bed, on the carpet, even on your lap while you watch TV. You will definitely have more success and get more done if your cat is in charge of the location.
Ideally, a kitchen counter is a good height on which to work. Place a towel on the surface so that she feels secure and won’t slide around. Don't try and do too much in one session. Again, let her dictate. She will leave when she has had enough!