Cat Grooming

Cats are fastidious and hygienic animals; they keep themselves clean. At times, however, they need some help particularly the long-haired types. Grooming makes the animal feel better as it stimulates the circulation and removes any debris and loose hair. Grooming can be pleasurable for the cat if it is done on a regular basis and the cat’s hair kept in reasonable condition, but it can easily turn into a fight if it is left until long hair becomes matted and knotted.
Matting can become so severe on the sides and belly that the cat needs a general anesthetic before the thick wads of hair are removed. In this case, there is no alternative but to take the mat off at skin level. Grooming tools required are a stiff brush, a metal comb with . close-set teeth, a smoothing glove or cloth and a pair of blunt-ended scissors. Place the cat on a table or bench, preferably out of the sun. Brush and comb the cat both with and against the lay of its hair. If the hair is matted, gently push the scissors between the skin and the hair mat and snip.
Sometimes a cat gets so dirty it needs a bath—though this must be approached with caution. Choose washing days at random; find the cat and lock it up before you prepare the bath or—invariably—no cat! Three-quarters fill a 10-litre plastic bucket with warm water. Use a recognized cat shampoo, preferably one that contains an insecticide; shampoos containing 20 per cent coconut oil are very satisfactory. Bath the cat in a confined area, such as the bathroom or the laundry, with the door shut. You will need two people. The first person should take the cat by the scruff of the neck in one hand and the back legs in the other and place it backside first into the bucket of warm water. The second person then runs his or her fingers through the cat’s hair to make sure that the skin is wet right up to and including the neck. This should be done quickly and efficiently. Remove the cat from the water, place it on a bench and lather with shampoo; after massaging the shampoo into its coat, return the cat to the water and rinse the shampoo off. If the cat is particularly dirty, the process may need to be repeated. If the cat reacts violently to this technique, wrap a towel soaked in water around it to wet its fur. Hold the animal firmly as you do this, leaving its head out of the towel. Again, you will need two people—one to wrap the around the cat while the other holds its scruff and the back legs. Once :he cat is thoroughly wet, remove the towel and lather its coat in the usual Talk reassuringly to the animal. After rinsing is complete, press any excess water from the coat using your hands. Rub the cat down vigorously a towel to dry the hair. In cold weather, do the job in a warmed room.
Short-haired cats should not be brushed. Instead, use a chamois or smoothing cloth, rubbing the hair with the lie towards the rear of the animal. This will bring out the sheen.
Long-haired cats that are being exhibited at a show should be washed with a good shampoo no fewer than three to four days before the show, as it takes several days for the natural oils to return to the coat. Newly washed cats will often have a dull coat. Pour Johnson’s Baby Powder liberally over the coat while brushing it back against the lie, towards the head. Do this daily until twenty-four hours before showing, when all the powder must be removed. Black cats should not be powdered, as it dulls the coat. Instead, rub some bran (warmed in the oven) into the fur twenty-four hours before the show. Once the bran has dried, comb it out carefully. With Persian cats, trim the hair around the tops of the ears to round off the outline.
Whatever other beauty tricks you use to make your cat look its best at a show, don’t resort to using blue rinses to produce a silver-grey Chinchilla, or black boot polish to darken the tips of the Seal-point Siamese. This is illegal and if detected may mean disqualification.