Do you own a cat, or are you considering getting one? Here are seven of the most commonly asked questions about cats to help you take care of your kitty.
Question: Do cats really need baths?
Answer: Cats are known for their fastidious grooming, so why would they ever need a bath? Well, there are many reasons. Your cat could be older, arthritic, or overweight and have trouble reaching certain spots on their body. They could get depressed or sick and not groom as often as they should. What if your kitty encounters something stinky? Or what if you have allergic guests coming over and need a way to reduce your cat’s dander? Your best bet is to get your cat used to taking baths from a young age.
Question: How often do I need to groom my long-haired cat?
Answer: Persians, Ragamuffins, Siberians, and other medium-to-long-haired cats have gorgeous coats, but they usually don’t come that way. Their coats need regular maintenance to prevent mats and hairballs. Whether you need to groom her coat daily, weekly, or monthly will depend on the individual cat’s needs. In general, the softer and more cottony your cat’s coat, the more it will need to be brushed and groomed. If you have the time and are willing to make an effort, you can groom a long-haired cat at home. Otherwise, you should seek out a professional groomer.
Question: Can I use a human hairbrush on my cat?
Answer: It may seem convenient to use your own hairbrush on your cat, but it probably won’t be very effective. Human hair brushes brush only the top coat; they don’t reach the undercoat. This is especially important for long-haired cats, who can develop mats if their dead undercoats aren’t brushed away.
Question: Is it possible to trim my cat’s nails without getting scratched?
Answer: Yes, you can usually trim your kitten or adult cat’s nails without getting clawed. And the earlier you train them, the better. If you have a kitten, begin by teaching them to lie on their back. As they’re lying on their back, feed them treats. Once they’re comfortable lying on their back, get them used to having their paws handled by gently squeezing their paws while giving their treats. That way, they’ll form a positive association with being handled. Progressively build up to actually using the trimmers when they’re totally at ease with their paws being handled.
Question: How can I keep my cat’s fur under control?
Answer: If your cat’s fur is taking over your home, try to brush them every day. That way, their fur will stick to your brush, not the floor or sofa. Plus, you won’t have to vacuum up so many hairballs.
Question: Can I prevent my cat from coughing up hairballs?
Answer: Cats can be so good at grooming themselves that the fur they swallow turns into a clump, called a trichobezoar (or hairball), in their digestive tract. If you’re lucky, the hairball will come up (and you won’t step in it). If not, you may have to take your cat to the vet to have it surgically removed. One way to help prevent (or at least reduce) hairballs is to brush your cat every day to remove excess fur.
Question: Can I use dog shampoo on my cat?
Answer: In general, you should not use dog products on your cat. Dog shampoo that’s formulated to combat fleas can be risky for felines, even if it contains only natural ingredients to repel the parasites. Ask your veterinarian to recommend a cat-friendly shampoo.