Some long-haired cats, especially Persians, end up being anesthetized in order to have matting shaved from their coats. Vets are understandably unimpressed by this. A cat whose coat becomes out of control will be miserable; he is unable to groom himself and his skin cannot breathe. Cat owners should learn how to remove mat-prone undercoat to prevent distress to the pet.
Many owners are aggressive in pet grooming in order to control a non-compliant cat. Rather than overpowering a pet, however, it makes far more sense to teach cats to enjoy the experience.
Tips for Effective Grooming
- Start when the cat is young, and groom gently and slowly.
- Achieve a little each day rather than leaving it and trying to do too much.
- Allow the pet to walk away if he wants to. It must never feel like a “big person, little person” fight. It is unfair to use size and strength against cats.By all means bring a cat to the grooming session but never hold him against his will.
- Cats respond well to verbal and tactile encouragement. Use a cat’s name and an animated, excited voice when grooming.
- Healthy rewards like small pieces of chicken or poultry treats can be set aside for grooming exercises. Make sure treats are healthy; this means additive-free and not likely to cause dental disease or obesity. Treats bought from veterinary suppliers or feline specialists are preferable, or you can prepare something yourself.
- Invest in the correct grooming tools. Brushes with bristles must never be used since these create static. Use metal combs or rakes; many of these are designed for dogs, but cat websites will advise on suitable tools for cats, and a long-haired cat owner can never have too many different rakes and combs.
Owners must not worry if they cannot achieve everything in one grooming session; few cat owners can. Achieving small amounts of progress every day is enough, and not making an enemy of a cat is more important than perfection.
Tools for Grooming Long-haired Cats
- Undercoat stripper tool: this tool has curved, sharp blades. It looks dangerous but is surprisingly safe and easy to use when instructions are followed. This is the most effective single grooming tool in long-haired cat grooming, removing large amounts of undercoat with ease. Detailed user instructions are essential, however, and owners must take time to read these.
- Shaver or mini-clipper. This is a battery version of the powered shaver a vet uses. Mini-clippers are invaluable for clipping matted areas before ongoing coat maintenance. Every long-haired cat, especially woolly-coated Persians, develops matting that cannot be addressed by combs and rakes. There is nothing inhumane about shaving; learning how to do this at home is kind, since it saves cats the risk of anesthetic.
- Fur exterminator tool. Many manufacturers make a fur exterminator tool. It is a specialist salon tool that removes lots of undercoat very gently, and is exceptionally well tolerated by nervous cats.
- Soft slicker brush. Many soft slicker brushes are available but choose a small one with an angled head, to reach between paws and on the chest. When using a slicker, try dipping it in water between applications; this removes far more and the coat will end up clean and fluffy.