How to Groom Your Cat — The Right Way

Cats shed, it's inevitable. Just as we humans lose our hair, 50 to 100 pieces a day to be exact, so do our fur babies. What's interesting about your cat's fur is that it can provide insight into your cat's health. That's because any significant illness will typically affect their hair first. For example, diabetes, hyperthyroidism, and kidney failure are linked to increased shedding, whereas arthritis and obesity can cause coat abnormalities, and even food allergies can cause excessive hair loss.

With all this in mind, it's important to properly groom your pet and recognize any warning signs as soon as possible.  

Different types of hair

Did you know that different cats actually have different types of hair? Let's review. Guard hairs are those that form the topcoat and protect your cat from various weather conditions. Usually, Abyssinians and Domestic Shorthairs have this hair type. Next, there are awn hairs, which are the soft hair found around the belly that keeps your fur baby warm. Persians and other types of long-haired cats usually have a lot of awn hairs all over their body. Finally, the dense yet short hairs are called down hair, and they help protect your cat's skin from abrasions. Only triple-coated cats will have this hair type. 

Caring for your cat's fur

So how do you handle all that hair? There are two primary methods for taking care of your pet's fur. The first starts with their diet. Cats typically need a high-protein, low-carbohydrate diet. If you're giving your fur baby a complete and balanced diet and ensuring that they're drinking enough water, you'll see a shiny coat of hair. Whereas, if your cat is missing essential nutrients or not drinking enough water, then your cat's fur will show signs such as oily skin, dandruff, or excessive hair loss.  

Another important part of taking care of your cat's fur is brushing. Depending on your cat's bread, you should be brushing their hair at least once a day. This will, first, ensure that you are monitoring your cat's fur regularly for any anomalies. At the same time, it will save your cat from having to groom themselves. Did you know that cats spend on average 10 hours a day grooming themselves? 

Which brush is right for your cat?

Now the question is, which brush is best for your pet? Well, there are a handful of brush-types available that each help with a different hair type. So, let's review some of the most popular types of brushes out there. 

Slicker brush

A slicker brush is an excellent basic cat grooming tool. It has a wide head with thin teeth that can be used on all hair types. This brush has various benefits, including removing knots, overall smoothing hair, and even spreading out oils for a shiny finish. 

Molting comb 

This comb is known for having two different teeth heights for easy detangling. The longer pins go deep down to remove knots, while the short pins help gather the loose fur closer to the top. The molting comb could be used on any hair coat, yet it's ideal for long-haired cats prone to knots. 

Bristle brush 

Bristle brushes have soft bristles that are made of either synthetic material or animal hair instead of teeth. These brush types are ideal for cats with short hair. They can always be used for long-haired cats, but as a finishing brush versus a detangling one.  

Rubber brush 

As the name implies, rubber brushes are made of rubber. This is a great substitute for cats who hate grooming and have trouble staying still because the rubber may be more comfortable than metal teeth or bristles. Plus, rubber is an excellent tool for massaging your pet's skin and spreading the oils around evenly. 

Pin brush

Another great brush for most hair types is a pin brush. They are similar to slicker brushes except their teeth are further apart, making them gentler yet not as effective. Pin brushes are still ideal for all hair types; however, they are best for medium to long-haired cats.

Grooming comb

Grooming combs are similar to molting combs except that all their teeth are the same length. This is an appropriate tool for untangling knots without causing too much hair breakage. The trick is to choose a comb with larger-spaced teeth for cats with long and thick hair, and one with teeth closer together for short-haired cats. 

Just as you have your daily grooming routine, so should your cat. With the right brush and a healthy diet, you can help give your cat a coat of hair they look and feel great in.