Cats are renowned for their cleanliness and we have all watched a cat cleaning himself for what seems like hours on end. Cats usually manage to keep their fur coats in immaculate condition, however there is always room for a little help.
In a multi-cat household, social grooming occurs, the cats will spend hours washing each other and will indulge in this social grooming throughout the day. They will usually focus their attention onto the hard to reach areas like behind the ears and the back of the neck.
We can help out too, cats love being petted and touched and will learn to see this as an enjoyable and pleasurable activity.
As central heating is more common and houses are kept at a constant temperature all year round it is important for cats to have a helping hand. Cats will moult all year round, this is a deviation from in the wild where they would only moult in the warmer summer months when they would need to get rid of their thicker winter coat.
Both longhaired and shorthaired cats moult. cats are well equipped for grooming themselves.Tongue, teeth, paws and claws are all utilised.
The cats tongue has a rough surface like sand paper, which when combined with saliva, removes small particles of dirt and sticky substances from the coat.
The front paws come into play when trying to reach the neck for instance. Even though cats are incredibly flexible ther are some areas where they just can’t reach with their tongue. So using the front paws like a flannel, they lick the paws then use them to wipe these areas.
As the coat dries, the cat uses its small incisors to nibble the fur back into place and at the same time removes any larger particles of dirt that are still stuck in the coat.
The back claws are used like a large comb and remove any large particles of dirt. Whilst the cat is preening itself it is covering its coat in its own perfume which can then be used to mark its own terrotory.
The process of grooming causes the cat to ingest a certain amount of fur. This leads to a build up of fur balls in the stomach. To prevent these from forming regular grooming is required.
As it is much easier to get a young cat used to a routine introduce your cat to you helping a hand as soon a possible. Once your cat has got used to the idea he will look forward to these grooming sessions!