Dear Christopher Cat
We recently adopted our first long-haired cat, Dylan. Do we need to groom him? Our short-haired cats have always taken care of their own coats.
I am a domestic longhair cat, and I need help with grooming. So Dylan probably does, too.
While we cats rarely require a bath, a bit of combing and brushing helps a great deal -– and it feels good, too.
Many long-haired cats have hair that mats easily. Matted coats prevent air from reaching the skin, a problem that promotes skin infections.
To keep Dylan’s coat from matting, brush or comb him every day or two. Each cat is an individual -– just like the cat’s coat -– so you may need to experiment with brushes and combs. While you work, speak softly to help him enjoy the grooming process.
If you find a tangle, gently remove it with a comb or cut it out. If it forms a dense mat against the skin, shave it off with electric clippers or have a professional groomer do it.
With age, many of us cats develop arthritis that makes it difficult to twist around and groom our hips and backside. As Dylan ages, pay close attention to those areas.
Trim Dylan’s claws every few weeks. It’s so easy, I’ve summarized the procedure at www.askthevetspets.com/c2003-01.asp.
When you groom Dylan, look for skin problems, red ears, weepy eyes and other abnormalities. If you see any, make an appointment with your veterinarian.