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Cat grooming might seem unnecessary, but even our feline friends need a good bath every once in a while. They also need a regular nail trim. These two tasks can seem awfully daunting, particularly if you’ve never done them before, so we’ve written this guide. Here is cat grooming 101!
How to Trim Your Cat’s Nails
To avoid painful claw mishaps, you need to regularly trim your cat’s nails. If you are new to cutting your cat’s claws, have a groomer or veterinarian show you how. You’ll need these items:
- Cat nail clippers (choose from plier- or guillotine-style)
- Cat treats
- Small towel
- Styptic powder or other clotting powder, like cornstarch, baking soda or baking flour
Here are the steps for cutting your cat’s nails:
- Before even picking up the nail clippers, get your cat used to having their paws touched. Touch their paws and reward them each time with a treat.
- Make sure that the clippers are sharp so they don’t split your cat’s nails.
- Try holding the clippers in one and and your cat’s paw in another. If your cat requires additional restraint, wrap them in the blanket like a burrito with just one paw sticking out. Some cats might even require you to get a second person to do the actually clipping while you restrain your cat.
- Hold the paw with your hand in a fist and use your thumb to extend the claw.
- Identify the quick of the nail. It’s pink and still alive so do not cut into it!
- Trim the tip of the nail.
- If you accidentally cut into the quick, use the styptic powder to stop the bleeding. Call your vet if the bleeding doesn’t stop after 10 minutes.
- Don’t be discouraged if you can’t trim all the nails in one sitting!
How to Bathe Your Cat
Occasionally even cats need baths. Here are the items you’ll need:
- Cat shampoo (human or baby shampoo is the wrong pH!)
- Cat conditioner
- Furminator or other grooming brush
- Spray nozzle
- Drain blocker
- Blowdryer (optional)
Here are some tips for bathing your cat with minimal bites and scratches:
- Trim your cat’s claws before bathing your cat. This way if your cat scratches you while trying to get away, the damage will be minimal.
- Brush your cat’s fur before the bath. This will minimize fur in your sink and help comb out tangles, mats and knots.
- Fill the sink with just a few inches of mildly warm water before bringing your cat into the water, as running water frightens some kitties.
- Soak your cat. If you’re bathing a kitten, don’t get their head wet.
- Shampoo your cat, while avoiding getting any suds in their ears, eyes or nose.
- Rinse them well with the spray nozzle and then lather them up with cat conditioner.
- Rinse them again.
- Lastly, blowdry your cat. This step is optional for adult cats, but important for kittens.
Regularly brushing your cat in between baths can help cut down on shedding. We also recommend brushing your cat’s teeth often with various dental products. This helps prevent serious health problems like infections that can lead to expensive vet bills. By keeping your cat’s teeth clean, you can even help prolong their lifespan!