Long-Haired Cats: A Grooming Guide for New Owners
Long-haired cats are incredibly beautiful, but they are a little higher maintenance than short-haired cats. Keeping their coats well groomed is essential to prevent hair mats and skin conditions. While taking your long-haired cat to the groomer every few weeks is an option, you can do most of the grooming yourself if you set aside the time and invest in the right tools. Just follow this guide.
Buy the right tools.
To properly groom your long-haired cat, you'll need two types of brushes. The first should be a wire brush with flexible, plastic-capped teeth that are spaced far apart. The second should be a soft, hair-like brush with many fine, soft fibers. You'll also need a pair of sharp haircutting scissors to address the occasional mat you may come across. A detangling spray made specifically for cats is optional; you may want this if your long-haired car has very fine fur that tangles easily. DO NOT use a human detangling spray, as it may be dangerous if your cat licks it off.
Brush every day.
Get into the habit of doing a little brushing each day. Many cats won't sit still for a long brushing session, so if you do a little each day, you can keep your cat groomed without making her miserable in the process. Consider doing the back one day, the shoulders the next, and so forth.
Use the right brushing strategy.
When you brush, start by using the wire brush. Use short strokes, working in the direction of the hair. This brush will separate the hairs and remove any larger tangles before they get the change to tighten up and form mats. Make sure you're reaching all of the way to your cat's skin when brushing.
After using the wire brush, use the softer brush to smooth the hair and remove smaller little snarls. This brush also massages your cat's skin, helping to boost oil production and encourage healthier skin and hair.
Deal with mats immediately.
Daily brushing should keep mats from forming, but if you do come across a mat that won't come out with a brush, it's important to cut it out immediately before it becomes any larger. Use your scissors and cut out the mat, making sure you don't get too close to the skin. Have someone else hold the cat while you cut so you don't risk hurting yourself or your pet.
For more information or for help, consult a professional such as Kenhaven Animal Hospital.