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Coat, teeth, ears and claws. The 4 Essentials of Cat Care

18 Oct 2021.

Felines may be independent animals, but they still need help from their humans every now and then. Are you familiar with the cat care essentials? Cat in a Flat breaks down the how, when, and why of brushing your kitty’s fur, cleaning their ears, and other basic cat care! 

Should I brush my cat?

Grooming is a big part of cat care. Kittens learn to groom early on, and adult cats spend several hours a day cleaning themselves. While it’s rarely necessary to bathe your cat, brushing their coat is important for overall cat care and health. 

Some cats need help with grooming, especially those with long fur. Depending on the breed, you’ll need to brush your kitty more often. A long-haired cat might need grooming once a day, while short-haired cats can be brushed every 2-3 days. 

Brushing can be a therapeutic cat care experience for both you and your kitty. It strengthens your bond and creates a greater sense of trust with your cat. You’re also helping Mr Whiskers get rid of excess fur, stimulate his skin, and give his coat a healthy shine. This translates to fewer furballs and a happier, healthier cat! 

For all our lovely cat sitters out there: make sure to get a clear understanding of your client’s cat care routines. It’s important to know before you start cat sitting how often your furry friend needs to be groomed, and how to do it properly.

How to brush your cat:

Clipping a cat's claws

Should I clip my cat’s claws? 

Clipping your feline’s claws probably sounds like one of the least pleasant parts of cat care. No doubt it can be tricky. Many kittens and cats don’t like when you handle their paws. And no cat owner wants to be on the receiving end of a swipe from an irritated furball! 

Whether or not you should clip your cat’s claws depends on if they are indoor or outdoor cats. If your kitty spends a lot of time outdoors, they’ll likely wear out their claws by scratching trees or posts. However, if your kitty is mostly indoors, you’ll need to take cat claw care into your own hands (or paws). 

Declawing might seem like a tempting solution to help stop your indoor feline from scratching furniture (or you). However, this is frowned upon by the veterinary community. Declawing cats is illegal in the UK, and is often compared to having your fingers cut off at the joints. Is it any surprise this can be a very painful and stressful experience for your fur friend? Declawing can also affect balance and cause psychological issues, which in turn may lead to an unhappy and aggressive cat

Although declawing isn’t the solution to your cat care woes, managing your furry friend’s claws needn’t be a major ordeal. Cats scratch to maintain claw health and mark their territory. Make sure you have plenty of scratching posts and pads around your home, and that you trim their nails every 10-14 days. 

How to clip your cat’s claws: 

Should I clean my cat’s ears? 

Most cats clean their own ears, so this is a part of cat care that owners rarely need to worry about. However, in some cases a kitty may be prone to wax build-up, ear infections, or is simply old or sick. This is when you need to step in to help them. 

Feline ears are very delicate and should be handled with care. Do not attempt to clean a cat’s ear the way you would your own, you could end up damaging it or making the kitty feel worse. And never use Q-tips for cat ear care. There is a high risk of perforating your furry friend’s ear drum or damaging their ear canal. Cotton swabs can also push debris further into the kitty’s ear. 

How to clean your cat’s ears:

Should I brush my cat’s teeth? 

A balanced diet is vital for your kitty’s dental (and general physical) well-being—which is why it’s not recommended to feed your cat a vegan diet. Brushing your cat’s teeth is also necessary to help reduce dental plaque, prevent bad breath, and improve Mr Whiskers’ overall oral health.

It’s never too late to introduce brushing into your cat’s dental care. Although it’s better to start from kittenhood, with the right technique you can acclimate your cat to daily brushings. 

Frequent brushing can also help manage FORL—a painful autoimmune disease that affects your cat’s teeth. Get your furry friend’s fangs checked by a vet regularly. It’s important to recognise signs of FORL early on so you can manage it more effectively. There is no way to prevent FORL, and no way to know if your cat will get it or not. But by establishing a dental hygiene routine you will save your kitty pain and stress if they do. 

Consult with your vet before you incorporate brushing teeth into your cat’s daily care. They can suggest proper techniques, and the right toothbrush and toothpaste for your feline friend. Never use toothbrushes or toothpaste intended for humans. The former can damage your kitty’s teeth, and the latter can be toxic!   

How to brush your cat’s teeth: 

Looking for more tips on how to keep your kitty happy and healthy? Learn to recognize the signs of a happy cat and how to minimise your cat’s separation anxiety while you’re at work.  

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