You've undoubtedly seen your cat cleaning themselves before or after a meal. After all, it's all part of their upbringing. Self-grooming is taught right after birth when mothers groom their litter to keep them clean and encourage suckling. However, while cats are adapted to look after their own fur, many breeds will inevitably end up in a tangled, knotted mess if you don't offer a helping hand.
Most cats absolutely love attention, and that often includes being brushed, but some cats may kick and squirm to make their escape. Regardless, it's important to understand the benefits of brushing your cat and why you should push through these little rebellions.
The Benefits of Brushing Your Cat
While you don't need to break out the hairbrush every day for all breeds, taking care of your cat's coat is something you should do regularly. Here are just a few reasons why you should be helping your cat to look after their fur.
1. It can reduce the occurrence of hairballs
If you own a cat, chances are you've seen the inevitable mess caused by hairballs. This is part and parcel of owning a cat, though too many hairballs can signal a problem that needs to be addressed by your vet. Still, by brushing your cat regularly, you help to shed excess fur. This means fewer hairballs and less chance of stepping into a mess on the carpet.
2. Your cat's coat will shed less hair
Shedding is normal in warmer months, as it helps keep your cat cool. Similarly, brushing your cat regularly can help reduce the amount of hair lying around your home. Once you've captured it in your brush, you can simply ball it up and toss it away. And by brushing your cat every couple of days, you can catch all of that excess hair that ends up on your furniture or clothing.
3. You can reduce matting
This is an important reason to brush your cat regularly, particularly for long-haired breeds like Siberians. While your cat will clean themselves, the moisture can encourage longer hair to mat together, making your pet very uncomfortable. Carefully brushing away these bundles of fur before they can grow will help keep your cat feeling comfortable. For tougher knots, be sure to hold the hair at the base so that you're not tugging on your cat's skin.
Take a look at Charlie’s Pet brushes for your furry feline.
4. It's an opportunity to bond with your cat
Cats are very independent, but that doesn't mean they don't love receiving your love and attention. If you own many cats, you might've seen them grooming each other from time to time. This isn't just a cleaning routine; your cats groom one another to show their affection and build a trusting relationship. By helping to groom your cats, you can establish that same positive relationship with them. You might even reduce any problematic behaviour that can arise from anxiety in your cats.
5. You can spot fleas before they become a bigger problem
When brushing your cat, be on the lookout for signs of fleas. Check for fleas or flea excrement, which looks like small, dark flecks or clumps in their fur. Treating fleas in your cat is always best done sooner than later before they can cause problematic symptoms and discomfort.
6. Elderly cats benefit from the help
As your cat ages, they'll find it more difficult to groom themselves. By helping to groom your cat, you can again build that affection and trust between you both.
How Often Should I Groom My Cat?
This will largely depend on each individual cat and the breed. For long-haired breeds or during the shedding seasons, you'll likely need to increase the frequency of grooming. The RSCPA recommends every day or every other day for long-haired breeds and around once a week for shorter-haired cats.
So, now that you understand the benefits of brushing your cat, you can begin to introduce this into their routine. You'll also find more information on changes to your cat's routine and how to facilitate them on our blog.