Trimming, Bathing & Cleaning

Trimming claws – how to nail it.

Adult cats often don’t need their nails trimmed, especially if they’re the outdoorsy type who loooove digging their claws into tree trunks and other rough surfaces. But if you do own an indoor or senior cat, they could probably use a little kit-ti-cure. One sure sign is if you see Simba using the sofa as a nail file. In these kinds of instances, scratching posts are a worthwhile addition to your decor.

To begin the nail-trimming caper, you’ll want to use proper cat nail clippers. And Claw Scissors are a cut above the rest. Once you’ve caught Bandit, It’s best to start slowly, trying not to stress or have a hissy fit, if he’s not digging it. (You’ll probably want to be prepared for a little ‘cat-and-mouse’.) Simply hold his foot, gently pushing down with your thumb, at the base of the nail. This will cause your kitty’s nail to extend slightly, making it easier for you to see it. Now, trim the nail at a 45-degree angle, so the newly cut nail is flush with the floor.

Keep in mind, kitties, that there’s a blood vessel in each nail, called the ‘quick’. They’re usually easy to see, as most claws are clear, allowing the pinkish colour of the quick to show through. Be very careful not to clip Max’s nail so short that you cut the quick – always just cut off the excess nail. If in doubt, cut just a tiny end off the nail, until you’re feeling more confident. Even if you do only one or two nails, it’s best to stop if ol’ Heathcliff’s not having it. Once you’ve nailed the clipping, reward your cat by telling him how fabulous his nails look – or a simple ‘good boy’ works, too. Top the talk with a yummy treat, and you’re done.

Splish, splash, kitty’s taking a bath. (Nooooo…)

We won’t try to sneak around this one – bathing a cat can be hard work. In your feline’s independent little mind, it’s a catastrophic event of which he has no control, so it’s only natural that he may turn a bit psy-catic. If this is the case, you may decide to skip the rub-a-dub-Devon Rex altogether. Bathing is usually only necessary if your kitty has a skin condition calling for a medicated shampoo, or if you really want to pounce on some unruly matting and tangling.

If you find your cat does need a good dunk, you might consider calling a professional groomer or vet for help. After all, the combination of frequent bathing and the wrong cat products can lead to dry, itchy skin and a dull coat. Dull?! Never. – Fluffy

Pat, pat, pat, your cat dry.

Sure, cats may come off as cool, but they don’t always like it – particularly when they’re straight out of a tub. To make sure your soggy Siberian (cat, that is) doesn’t catch a chill, it’s best to pat him dry with a towel, giving him a heated dry place to rest, afterward.  Or, you can try a hairdryer if Felix is feeling up to it – just take care not to overheat your kitty.

Short-haired cats can often make it easy on us by finishing the drying process themselves. The bathroom is the purrrfect place for this, as long as there aren’t any drafts. Long-haired hippie cats may actually need a extra towels and a good combing, brothers and sisters. Because longer tresses mat more easily, you may also think about raking through those dreads until the coat is completely dry. You dig?

Check your cat for anything fishy.

Grooming is a cat-tastic time to really examine Shadow for signs of illness.

Checking his ears regularly can actually help prevent infection like inflammation. If you find Tinkerbell’s ears look dirty or waxy, you can clean them yourself using an ear-cleaning solution provided by your vet. It’s really important not to use cotton buds or poke anything into your furry friend’s ear, because you could damage the sensitive lining of the ear canal, or puncture the eardrum. Hear, hear!

Eyes are another area to watch, since they can build-up small amounts of secretions and debris on the inside corners (just when you thought your Tabby had switched to eyeliner). This stuff can be wiped away gently using a damp cotton ball. You’ll just want to be careful not to touch or rub ol’ Garfield’s eyeballs, even if they do look halfway open, most days. If you find your cat’s eyes are ‘weeping’ – and it’s not because he’s lost his toy mouse – give your vet a call.

Keep your cat looking fang-tastic.

Dental care is never a favourite topic for felines. But they’ll be fanging you later, after you’ve prevented a poor appetite and other nutritional problems, caused by painful gums and teeth. Generally, Trouble’s teeth should be white; his gums, moist, shiny and pink.

It’s always a great idea to start Kitty-Kitty’s oral hygiene from a young age, so he gets used to the whole cat-n-caboodle. So, start organising bi-annual dental checkups with your vet. Brushing your cat’s teeth yourself is another smart way to keep Sheba smiling. Just ask your vet for recommendations on the best pet toothpaste and toothbrush for your cat.

By following these tips, your cat will be happier, healthier – and won’t look a day above three lives.