A few proper guidelines in overall feline grooming Cats are quite finicky creatures when it comes to grooming themselves from head to paw; but however particular they may be in cleaning themselves, they may require further assistance in order for them to look their best. Here are a few proper grooming guidelines from head to paw that you need to consider: Always schedule grooming sessions when you and the cat are both in a relaxed state. The best time to coax your cat into grooming is after every meal or exercise. If you get home tired from work, it is best to schedule it at another time. You’d want the cat to remember each experience positively, and it never helps if you’re prone to losing your temper. If your cat isn’t used to grooming, keep the first sessions short, not taking more than ten minutes. Gradually lengthen the next sessions once the cat has learned to accept them routinely. Brushing Proper brushing removes dirt and parasites from the cat’s fur. Brushing also helps spread the natural oils in the coat to make it sleek and shiny. Always start brushing with a coarse metal comb to remove matts and large clumps of dirt. This also helps arrange the hairs in one particular direction. You can now use a fine brush with soft bristles to remove any loose hair and finer bits of dirt. Take extra care when brushing its sensitive chest and belly. Another thing to consider when researching about proper grooming guidelines from head to paw is if you own a long-haired or a short-haired cat. Though both require brushing, short-haired cats don’t require as much compared to their long-haired counterparts. Brushing can be done at least once a week. Long-haired cats require daily brushing. They are more prone to matting, which is the tangling of the tips of their hairs that form large clumps. Though brushing the tips can loosen small clumps, extreme cases may require you to shave the entire coat off using a razor. Never use scissors to trim off the clumps as you may risk accidentally stabbing or cutting your cat when it squirms too much. Use short upward strokes on long-haired cats. Part the hairs of its tail in the middle, and brush outward to the sides. You can always opt for the assistance of a professional groomer if you don’t have time on your hands, but take note that these services can be a bit pricey. Bathing Always use a mild shampoo diluted in lukewarm water when washing your cat’s fur. Apply gentle massaging strokes as you lather up and completely rinse off the suds. Long-haired cats may require additional rinsing. Any residual shampoo may irritate the cat’s skin when it dries up. Avoid soaking the cat’s face and head, and never apply shampoo to these areas. Use a damp cloth instead to remove any eye secretions and wax build-up in its ears. Only clean the outer portions of the ear as you may risk damaging the cat’s ear canal. Nail clipping Your cat should be used to nail clipping at an early age. Gently stroke the cat’s leg up and down, and press each individual toe and the soft pad underneath to try to coax the cat to extend its claws. Cats are particularly fussy about their paws, and they don’t like being handled in these areas if they’re not used to it. Carefully trim at the point just before the tip curves. Avoid cutting into the quick, which is the pink area that contains the vein that drains blood from the nail. If you accidentally cut it, apply styptic powder immediately to stop the bleeding. Dental care Neglecting to care for your cat’s teeth may cause the build-up of bacteria and early loss of teeth. Cat toothbrushes and toothpaste may be bought in pet stores. Never use regular toothpaste as this has ingredients that may cause digestive problems should your cat swallow them. Keep brushing sessions short, using small gentle strokes to brush the outer portion of the teeth. Consult your vet if you chance upon gum problems such as bleeding, dark spots and sores.