Cat clipping and grooming is a small but important part of our daily tasks.
Do cats normally groom and clean themselves? Yes, most healthy cats spend a large part of their day licking and grooming their coat to keep it in good shape. That’s why a sick cat often has a dull and unkempt coat.
Why Do Some Cats Need To Be Clipped?
- Comfort in warm weather
- Matting of the coat
- Severe hairball problems
- Easy care of long haired breeds
- Poor grooming due to age, stress or illness
If your cat previously had a good coat that is now getting matted, please get your cat checked by a vet. Many of these cats have significant arthritis or serious health problems.
Do Cats Need To Be Bathed?
Generally not. A cat’s natural grooming behaviour keeps their coat and skin clean and healthy.
Should you bath your cat at all? Cleaning your cat is very important if they get anything toxic on their coat. If you don’t quickly remove oil, grease or household chemicals, your cat will try to lick them off, and be poisoned in the process.
To do this, use ordinary dishwashing liquid and water. This is not going to be very good for their skin, but your priority is to remove the toxin. Rinse thoroughly afterwards.
For other, regular bathing, use the same soap-free shampoos we mentioned in How to bath dogs. The decision whether to shampoo your cat really depends on whether you want to, and if your cat lets you!
You need to know that most cats hate being bathed. You are likely to get scratched or bitten unless you have trained your cat from a young age to like being wet. Feel free to bring your cat to us to be cleaned.
How Do I Prevent My Cat’s Coat Getting Matted?
Regular brushing is the key. You can use a variety of combs and brushes; the key is to find something your cat enjoys, start young, and only do as much as your cat likes. If your cat doesn’t like it, it’s not going to work.
With a heavily matted coat or even isolated matts, you just can’t brush or comb these out. Do not try to cut matts out of a cat’s coat with scissors! If you do this, you will realise how close the matt is to the skin and how soft and fragile the skin is. We regularly have to stitch up large wounds on cats after attempts with scissors.
How Can I Fix My Cat’s Matted Coat?
Generally, matted coats need clipping by a professional. If your cat is calm and easy going you can try your local grooming salon and see if they can help.
If (as in most cats) the sound of clippers sends them into a panic, you almost certainly need your vet to administer a sedative so a nurse can perform the clip.
Examples of several cats we have clipped are shown here. As sedation can be hazardous, our strict policy is that we only clip cats who have had a full health check by a vet in the past 12 months.