Adopting A Kitten · What
you’ll need · Behavior
Issues · Grooming · Related
Grooming your new cat:
- prevents hair from matting,
- contains loose hair in the brush so that less is shed in the environment,
- ensures injuries are found before they become infected,
- identifies bone and muscle discomfort that should be discussed with your veterinarian,
- keeps your cat comfortable with being handled, and
- relaxes and soothes your cat.
Begin grooming slowly rather than aggressively so that your cat enjoys the entire process. Five minutes of pleasant brushing is better than 15 minutes of aggravation. If grooming is frustrating for you, ask professional groomers to show you the tricks they use to cajole cats.
Your cat’s coat will determine how much grooming it needs. Cats can have longhair, shorthair, curly hair, and no hair. The outer hairs are “guard hairs.” There is a middle layer of “awn” hairs, and an undercoat of fine down hair that mats easily. Guard hairs reach 5-6 inches in longhaired cats and 2 inches in shorthaired cats. Middle awn hairs are about ½ inch. Awn hairs and the undercoat provide insulation.
Shorthaired cats, such as the Siamese and Burmese, evolved in warm climates. These cats are often thinner and longer bodied than longhaired cats that evolved in cold climates. Himilayans are a good example of longhaired rather stocky cats. Curly or wire-haired cats include the American Wirehair, and the Rex cats—named after Rex rabbits that have short hair. Rex cats don’t have guard hairs or an undercoat, but they are covered by a curly awn hair. Because their coats are thin, these cats like sitting on laps or computers where it’s warm. Bald cats are not truly bald, but are covered with short velvety hairs. The bald or Sphinx cats have long bodies characteristic of cats evolving in warm climates. You’ll notice your bald cat has no whiskers.
Whatever the hair length of your cat, it will benefit from grooming, good nutrition, fatty acids, and products that prevent hairballs. Good nutrition ensures healthy skin, and the skin is where the hair follicles develop. Healthy blood supply and nutrients reaching the hair follicles ensures a strong, luxurious coat.
Supplements that benefit the coats include Omega 6 and Omega 3 fatty acids. Omega 6 fatty acids help prevent dryness, and Omega 3 fatty acids help prevent hot spots and extreme reactions to fleas. The best products combining both Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids are Be Well for Cats and Missing Link. Both Be Well and Missing Link are made by the same company, but the difference is that Be Well has organic flax and barley sprouts and Missing Link does not.
To learn more about your cat’s skin, visit the Solution Center section for information on skin, hairballs and fatty acids. Your cat will appreciate everything you do to help it have a healthy coat—whether it is a bald Sphinx or a luxuriously coated Himalayan.
The articles here were answered by a variety of pharmacists and veterinarians