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Grooming A Senior Cat

January 15, 2024

Cats are known for their cleanliness, among other things. This is one reason they are such great pets. Fluffy grooms herself regularly, often dedicating a significant portion of her waking time to keeping her fur clean, soft, shiny, and tangle-free. However, as your kitty ages, you might observe a decrease in the time she spends on grooming. Your senior cat may need some assistance in this area. A local Beaufort, NC vet provides advice on grooming senior cats in this article.

How Do I Brush A Senior Cat?

You know what they say – if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em! The key is to make grooming a positive experience for your pet. The ideal scenario here would be if Fluffy actually looks forward to her beauty sessions, thinking of it as a kitty spa day. However, if your kitty isn’t a fan, she might struggle. Forcing her to submit may get you scratched, and could end up making the process less enjoyable for both of you and harder next time.

Choose a moment when your kitty feels relaxed and cuddly. If she likes to curl up on your lap at night, that’s the perfect time to start. Begin by gently petting her, following the direction of her fur. Use just your hand at first, then slowly introduce the brush. Be extra gentle! Throw in some cuddles and sweet talk to keep Fluffy relaxed. 

Don’t be surprised if your cat starts purring – many kitties absolutely love being pampered!

How Do I Remove Tangles From My Cat’s Fur?

If your fluffy friend has long locks, consider getting a special detangling brush. These brushes are designed to work against mats. They usually work wonders on smaller knots. However, when it comes to those well-established mats, well, it’s a bit of a different ballgame. Combing definitely isn’t the magic solution for thick mats. You don’t want to force it. Older cats have delicate skin that can easily rip or tear.

For those tricky snarls, clipping them out might be the way to go. Use blunt-end scissors, and be super careful not to accidentally snip your kitty’s skin.

If your furball is prone to mats and tangles, consult your vet for advice. They might recommend more frequent brushing, or even suggest a trip to the groomer for some professional care.

Should I Cut My Older Cat’s Claws?

Declawing has mostly fallen out of favor as people realized that the surgery is more involved than once thought. These days, many opt for a simpler solution – trimming their kitty’s claws. This is painless and temporary, so it’s not exactly the most crucial decision you’ll make for your pet. However, there are a few things to keep in mind.

Firstly, if you plan to let your cat outdoors, it’s a no-go for nail clipping. Those little claws are Fluffy’s only defense! (Of course, we always recommend keeping older cats indoors for their safety.)

Another thing to consider is if your cat loves climbing to high spots. Clipping her nails might throw her off a bit, as it will put a damper on her ability to climb things. Fluffy could accidentally hurt herself if she attempts to jump onto the couch without realizing she won’t stick the landing. You may want to set out pet ramps or stairs.

Why Do Senior Cats Need Grooming?

Have you ever noticed your older cat looking a bit disheveled? Well, there’s a reason behind it. As your feline friend ages, she naturally loses some strength and flexibility, making it tougher for her to bend and stretch. This might lead to her having difficulty reaching her entire body when she’s cleaning her fur.

That isn’t the only issue. Many cats tend to gain a few extra pounds in their golden years. If your furry pal becomes a butterball, reaching her entire body will become a challenge.

There’s also the issue of increased oiliness. As your feline buddy gets older, her body chemistry will change a bit. Older cats might produce more skin oil than their younger counterparts. That extra oil may give Fluffy’s coat a greasy feel. Excess oil also increases the likelihood of mats and tangles, even in short-haired kitties. Certain medical issues, like diabetes or thyroid problems, can contribute to the issue. Ask your Beaufort, NC vet for more information. 

How Often Should I Groom My Senior Cat?

Fluffy’s beauty routine will ultimately depend on the type of fur she has and how thick it is. Longhaired cats need the most attention, but kitties with short fur still benefit from getting all that dust and dander out of their coats.

If your pet has short fur, she may only need to be brushed once or twice a week, just depending on how her coat looks. Fluffy furballs may need to be brushed several times a week. Ask your Beaufort, NC vet for specific advice.

Should I Bathe A Senior Cat?

Bathing Fluffy isn’t a must, which is one reason she’s such an easy keeper. Of course, the exception here would be if your pet gets something spilled on her fur. A bath may also be necessary if Fluffy is extremely soiled or matted. 

When it comes to bathing an older kitty, stick to the same rules as you would for any other cat. Ensure the water isn’t too hot or too deep. Cats have sensitive skin and can get scalded easily. Opt for lukewarm water, which should be no deeper than your kitty’s chest.

Only use products designed for Fluffy; human soaps and shampoos can be too harsh. They could end up stripping oils from her fur and potentially causing skin issues. Fluffy might feel a bit chilly when wet, so if she doesn’t mind, you can use a low setting on a blow dryer. If it’s cold, turn up the heater a bit to keep her warm as her fur dries.

Keep in mind that older cats are not as strong as kittens. If your pet isn’t a fan of baths, she might struggle. Handling a wet, unhappy cat can be a challenge. Plus, there’s a risk of slips and potential injuries. Be cautious and gentle. Sweeten the deal by offering your furry friend a special treat after her spa session. 

How Long Should I Groom My Cat?

We’ll leave this one up to Fluffy! Your cat will probably let you know when she’s had enough, most likely by just walking away. Don’t force your furry little diva to submit beyond this. It’s very difficult to brush or bathe an unhappy cat. This can actually be a bit dangerous, as it increases the risk of your pet slipping or falling. (Plus, the next time you try to groom her, she may retreat under the bed and give you that death stare kitties do so well.) 

What Else Should I Do To Groom My Senior Cat?

Some kitties need more attention than others. Fluffy may need her eyes or ears cleaned regularly. If she has long hair, you may also need to gently trim the fur around her bottom. Dental care is also important. Ask your vet for specific advice! 

Do you have questions about caring for a senior cat? Contact us, your local Beaufort, NC pet hospital, today! 

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