If your cat is traditionally a low-maintenance, independent feline, you may not be aware of the importance of good grooming beyond the occasional hairball hack-fest.
I grew up with dogs, so as a new cat owner a few years ago in a dogless environment, I was astonished at how low-maintenance my new fluff friends were. The basics of food, litter box care, vet visits, and occasional pet and playtime based on their queenly whims seemed minuscule compared to the constant attention required for dogs. It took me some time to realize that cat grooming was still an important factor–and not nearly as difficult as some would make it seem.
The image of a cat freaking out as it is dropped in a bathtub is a popular one from comics, but not especially accurate. This may surprise some, but cats *can* be trained to tolerate most things you need to do to care for them, and may even enjoy them after awhile. Regular, attentive grooming will make both you and your feline friend far happier together, strengthening your bonds, relieving stress for both, and aiding the household hairball situation.
But how to groom a cat if you aren’t used to doing so? Trust me: it’s not too hard. Here are eight tips for doing just that:
Photo Credit: Rebekah Valentine
1. Start young, if possible
While this won’t apply to those who have had a cat for awhile or who are adopting an adult cat, if you can get a cat as a kitten, you can very easily shape it into the adult cat you want it to be. Kittens are amazingly tolerant of activities adult cats may sometimes dislike, such as receiving baths or even being picked up and cuddled.
Cats typically go through a moody adolescent phase similar to humans’ where they suddenly hate anything and everything you do. During this time, it’s important to keep your habits with them consistent. If you want them to be tolerant of you bathing them, brushing them, or clipping their nails, continue to do these activities through this frustrating time. Don’t get discouraged! The phase eventually passes, and if habits were started early and kept consistently, your adult cat will be much more tolerant of its good care. It may even enjoy it! This last part applies even if you are trying to start new habits with an already-adult cat. Consistency is key.