Senior Kitty Grooming Tips

Cats are known for their cleanliness. (They’re also known for being cute, quirky, and lovable, but that’s another topic.) Fluffy will groom herself every day, and may spend up to a third of her waking hours keeping her fur shiny, soft, and free of tangles. You may notice that, as your cat ages, she doesn’t take as much time to maintain her coat as she once did. Your cat may actually need a bit of help with her beauty regime at this point. In this article, you’ll read some great advice on grooming a senior cat from a local Hiram, GA veterinarian.

How Long Should I Groom My Cat For?

Your feline pal will probably have some opinions on this. Let Fluffy have her say! Your cat will probably let you know when she’s had enough by simply walking away. Don’t push her to submit further. It is very difficult to brush or bathe an unhappy cat. The next time you try to groom her, she may retreat under the bed and give you that death stare kitties do so well. Plus, this can be dangerous, as it increases your pet’s risk of slipping or falling.

In Addition To Brushing My Senior Cat, What Else Should I Do?

The fur around Fluffy’s bottom may need to be gently trimmed if she has long hair. Dental care is also important. Ask your Hiram, GA veterinarian for specific advice!

What Are the Benefits of Grooming Senior Cats?

Have you noticed that some older cats look a bit messy? There’s a reason for that. Your cat will naturally lose strength and flexibility as she ages, which will make it harder for her to bend and stretch. It may become difficult for her to reach her entire body as she gets older.

Fluffy also often gets chubby in her golden years. (Extra pounds are bad for cats for a variety of reasons, but we’ll stick to grooming in this blog.) If your cat is too big, she’ll have trouble reaching her whole body.

In addition to increased oiliness, your pet’s body chemistry will change as she ages. Older cats’ skin may produce more oil than that of their younger counterparts. This can make Fluffy’s coat look greasy. Even kitties with short fur can get mats and tangles as a result of this. Medical conditions, such as diabetes or thyroid issues, can exacerbate this problem. Ask your veterinarian for more information.

Is It A Good Idea To Cut My Senior Cat’s Claws?

Declawing has fallen out of favor as more and more people realize that declawing is a much more complex surgery than what was once commonly believed. In fact, it’s becoming illegal in many areas, with possible exceptions made for the rare cases where it may be medically necessary.

Many people now choose to trim their cats’ claws. This is painless and temporary, just like our manicures. However, If you plan to let your cat outside, you should never clip her nails. Those nails are Fluffy’s only defense! (Note: we always recommend keeping older cats inside, for safety reasons.)

Clipping your cat’s nails may also throw her off. Fluffy could hurt herself if she tries to jump onto the couch and doesn’t realize she won’t stick. Set out pet ramps or stools for her if you’re going to go this route.

How Frequently Should I Groom My Senior Cat?

That depends on your kitty’s coat. Cats with long hair need more attention, as they tend to get tangled. This can be very uncomfortable, and can even make them vulnerable to skin infections. Cats with short fur still benefit from getting all that dust and dander out of their coats, though.

Some cats may only need to be brushed once or twice a week. Others, such as kitties with long hair, may need to be brushed several times a week. Ask your vet for advice.

Is It Necessary To Bathe A Senior Cat?

Most of the time, you shouldn’t need to bathe Fluffy. However, if she gets something spilled on her fur, you may need to. Hairless cats also need baths, or wipe-downs, as they don’t have fur to soak up the oils from their skin.

Follow the same bathing rules as you would for any other feline. The water shouldn’t be too hot or too deep: use lukewarm water that is not higher than Fluffy’s fluffy chest.

Additionally, you should only use cat-specific products. Human soaps and shampoos are often too harsh for our feline friends. If you do this, your cat’s fur may become dry and frizzy from oils being stripped away from her coat.

Ask your Hiram, GA veterinarian or a professional groomer for specific advice.

Are There Dangers To Bathing A Senior Cat?

In general, no, but people with senior cats should be aware of a few things. Aging pets are quite susceptible to cold. Make sure your feline pal is able to stay warm while drying off. You can blow dry her, using a low setting, if she doesn’t mind. If it is chilly outside, we’d recommend turning up the heater a bit.

There’s also the fact that older cats tend to be weaker and frailer than kittens. If Fluffy doesn’t enjoy being bathed, she might struggle. Holding onto a wet, unhappy cat is no easy feat! Because seniors are fragile, they can hurt themselves just by twisting wrong. Your pet could slip and may be at greater risk of injury if she falls.

How Do You Brush A Senior Cat?

You want your feline overlord to form a positive association with grooming. Fluffy might even look forward to her beauty sessions, if she associates being brushed with getting pampered. Many cats actually enjoy being groomed! However, that isn’t universal. If your cat does not enjoy being brushed, she may struggle. That will not only make the process less pleasant for you both, but it will also make it harder next time as well.

Timing is everything! If your cat likes to curl up on your lap at night, this would be a good time. Start by petting her gently, moving in the direction of her fur. At first, start with just your hand. Then, slowly incorporate the brush. Make sure to brush in the direction of your cat’s fur. Be gentle! 

You may want to sweeten the deal. Keep Fluffy relaxed by giving her cuddles and sweet talk. Don’t be surprised if your cat starts to purr!

What Is The Best Way To Get Tangles Out Of My Cat’s Fur?

Cats with long hair may benefit from a special detangling brush designed to remove mats and smaller knots. You won’t be able to remove thick mats by combing. In any case, be careful not to force it, because older cats have very delicate skin.

It may be necessary to clip out bad snarls. Use blunt-end scissors, and avoid cutting your kitty’s skin. If your cat often gets mats or tangles, you may need to brush her more often, or take her to a groomer.

Conclusion: As cats age, they often have trouble grooming themselves, and will benefit from some additional help. Ask your vet for specific advice on grooming your feline pal. 

Do you have questions about caring for a senior cat? Contact us anytime. As your local Hiram, GA pet hospital, we’re here to help!

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