Grooming Your Senior Cat

orange cat being groomed and brushed by owner.

Grooming Your Senior Cat

As cats begin to age, they tend to groom themselves less, leading to hair mats, skin irritation, and odour. Often, our senior felines will need some assistance to keep up with their grooming routine, and this is where pet parents can step in to help.
In this blog post, we will talk about the process of grooming your senior cat, what equipment to use, and taking care of those nasty mats.

Why is Grooming My Senior Cat Important?

It’s important to help your senior cat take care of his coat. If it is left in a bad condition, it can lead to infections and skin conditions, as well as hair matting, tangling, and knots, which can affect blood circulation.

As cats age, they may develop joint problems such as arthritis. This condition can very painful for your cat. When they experience pain moving, they can’t stretch their heads like they once could to groom certain spots. This can cause areas of your older kitty’s coat to become messy, dull and unkempt.

Obesity can also cause senior cats to become lax in their grooming habits. Decreased activity is a standard component of aging, but without frequent exercise your cat may gain weight. This can make it difficult to groom themselves properly. This can lead to unkempt fur and a dirty posterior because your cat is unable to lick himself clean in that area.

How to Groom Your Senior Cat

1.Pick a Comfortable Area

Senior cats can be anxious or uncomfortable with being groomed; this can be especially true if your cat is not used to you doing the grooming. You can help your kitty feel calm by grooming him in a comfortable, familiar spot, such as on a soft mat on a high table or floor.

2. Brush Gently

With a suitable brush, start by gently brushing your cat from head to tail. Don’t pull too hard, as this can hurt your cat. You should also bear in mind that older cats have very thin skin that can tear easily. Once you have brushed through, use a comb to go over his coat one more time. It is a good idea to run your hands though your cat’s coat to help move the oil around. Be careful when brushing your his hind legs, hips or underside, as these areas can be sensitive!

3. Don’t Ignore Tangles

If you find your cat has mats or tangles, do not attempt to cut them, as this can injure your cat. Instead, hold onto the fur just below the mat and very gently brush the mat out. You can also use your fingers to carefully loosen any mats or tangles and remove them. Do not pull the mats, as this can hurt your cat.

white cat being brushed by human
cat looking slightly annoyed in bath with shower head

4. Bath Time

Shorthaired cats usually do not need to be bathed, unless they are very dirty or have allergies. Longhaired breeds can benefit from the occasional bath, as it will help keep his coat in good condition and prevent an accumulation of grease.

Cats historically aren’t fans of water, and bath time can often be a struggle for many owners of senior cats. To make the process quick and easy, make sure to have a decent shampoo and warm towel nearby. Recruiting a friend or family member to help bathe your cat may help make bath time less complicated, if one holds the cat and one washes.

Some quick-fire tips for bathing your senior cat…

  • Run the water before you bring him in.
  • Fill the bath just high enough to reach your cat’s belly. Make sure the water isn’t too hot.
  • Close the door to the bathroom once your cat is in the bath—you don’t want any escapees!
  • Gently place your cat in the bath; if your cat has sore joints he most likely won’t want to be picked up for long or too quickly.
  • Do not submerge your cat; instead gently wet the fur with a cup or wet flannel.
  • Gently massage suitable shampoo into his coat, and be careful around ears, eyes, and mouth.
  • Rinse your cat off afterwards with a detachable shower head or bowl. Rinse him several times to make sure there is no leftover shampoo on his coat, as this can irritate the skin.
  • Carefully remove your cat from the bath and wrap your cat in a nice, warm towel afterwards. Pat his coat dry with the towel and keep him in a warm location until he is completely dry.

Equipment Needed

Our top picks for grooming your cat are;

This all-in-one brush combines the design of a soft slicker brush with a traditional bristle brush to provide a healthy, shiny coat. It easily removes tough mats and tangles, while also removing excess hair and reducing shedding. When used regularly, the brush reduces hairballs as well. Whether your cat has short or long hair, this brush ensures effective grooming.

Featuring a contoured wooden handle, the SAFARI Cat Shedding Comb reduces shedding for longhaired and shorthaired cats. Smooth, rounded teeth ensure the cat’s comfort.

The long teeth penetrate deep into the cat’s fur lifting the loose hair, while the short teeth collect loose hair from the upper layers, leaving a clean, soft coat.

This brush is the perfect tool to both groom your cat and treat them to an enjoyable massage. Its soft, rounded brush tips effectively remove dirt and debris while providing a luxurious massaging sensation for your cat. The brush can be used in two different ways; short, quick strokes will remove dirt and debris, while long, flowing strokes will smooth the coat and massage the skin. This brush will also help stimulate blood flow and circulation for your senior cat.

Grooming can be stressful for cats—make sure to show him some love and affection afterwards (along with some delicious treats), and he eventually become more tolerable of the whole process!

SAFARI Complete Cat Brush
Safari Complete Cat Brush

How Often Should I Groom My Cat?

Your cat won’t require daily baths, but may require daily brushing, especially if they are long-haired. Daily brushing can remove any loose hairs, preventing them from being swallowed and turning into hair balls. Brushing also stimulates blood circulation and sebaceous gland secretions, resulting in a healthier skin and coat. Older cats may not use scratching posts as frequently as they did when they were younger; therefore, nails should be checked weekly and trimmed if necessary.

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