Cats are known for being big self-cleaning animals – one of their big selling points. They meticulously groom themselves throughout the day, but as they age, they begin to lose their ability to really clean themselves well, partly due to a loss of flexibility. It’s important that you help your aging cat along with their grooming needs to help keep them happy and healthy, but there are differences in younger cats and elderly cats that are important to keep in mind before embarking on grooming your aging cat. Here are some tips for grooming a senior cat.
Make sure your cat is healthy enough to groom to begin with. Things to check for health include, healthy gums, not pale, and your cat should not seem lethargic or listless. These can indicate poor blood flow. Your cat should not show signs of being in pain, in his joints or muscles. Cats in pain have higher tendencies to bite. Your cat should also be calm and not stressed, or even in a bad mood. Look over your cat’s skin to make sure it is in good condition and not thin or papery.
To groom an elderly cat, consider these tips:
- Use cat friendly shampoo
People shampoo is not adequate for an animal and their fur and skin conditions. You will want to stay away from essential oils and shampoos that contain toxic chemicals. Purchase shampoos from pet stores that are designed for cats
- Use a brush designed for your cat’s type of fur
For short-haired cats, a rubber curry brush is the best to get under the coat and remove loose fur from the undercoat. Pin brushes or a standard metal comb are designed for long-haired cats. Don’t buy cheap brushes due to sharp edges that can hurt your cat’s skin.
- Nail clippers
Nail clippers should really be easy to use and cut the nails without tearing or pulling them. The guillotine type clippers are known to do that, which can hurt and harm your cat’s nails and feet.
- Dry your cat with a warm dryer
You don’t want your elderly cat to become too cold due to the risk of becoming too cold and getting sick. You can dry your cat with a warm dryer, but it’s important to keep an eye on the temperature since dryers can get very hot very quick. This can cause burning to the skin and harm your cat.
Make sure your cat is relaxed and get the sink filled halfway with lukewarm water. Have towels handy, along with your grooming essentials, shampoo and brushes, and other items. Gently place your cat in the sink and begin to wet her fur by moving it over her. Lather the shampoo over her fur, being careful to avoid her head and eyes. Drain the water and refill the sink for rinsing. You can use a cup to dip water and rinse over her.
Once thoroughly rinsed, take the towel and wrap around her to dry and warm her. Hold her until she is comfortable enough to try to dry with the hand-held dryer. When your little feline is nice and warm and dry, you can move on to clipping her nails and brushing her fur. When you are all done, your kitty will look and feel like the beautiful feline she is. Always be sure to work at your cat’s pace. Don’t rush her or force her to do something that is stressing her out or making her angry. The more you bathe her, with patience, the more accustomed to you helping to groom her, she will become.