Posted on: 25 February 2015
Grooming is a habit that cats learn at an early age. WebVet says that cats will spend almost 50 percent of their day on grooming activities. But as a cat ages, and their muscles become less flexible, grooming may become more difficult. They'll spend less time grooming, and their health can suffer for it. You can become a grooming buddy for your cat and make sure they stay in good shape. Here is how you can help your aging cat keep themselves healthy and looking great.
Keeping the Fur Healthy
Grooming the fur does more than just remove dirt and oil. It prevents mats from forming and irritating the skin. When and older cat stops grooming, mats can form and become a big problem if not taken care of. One of your jobs as a grooming buddy is to get rid of mats before they grow and become a serious health problem.
Mats start as a small area in the fur that becomes oily and picks up dirt, grass, a piece of a stick or some other debris. When caught early, a mat can be combed out. To do this without hurting your cat, hold onto the fur against the skin and below the mat. Comb up through the mat to release the tangle. If the mat resists combing, gently tease the mat apart with your fingers first then try the comb again.
If a mat is allowed to advance, it slowly gets tighter against the cat's skin. Eventually, it becomes a ball of fur that presses against the skin so tightly that it can cause skin irritation and stop the blood flow. If your cat is not too fussy, try using a dull-pointed scissors to nick the mat where it is furthest from the skin. Then try to tease the mat apart starting at that point. If the mat continues to resist your efforts, it's time to take your feline friend to a cat grooming professional like Town & Country Kennel Inc. who can cut out the mat without hurting your cat.
Check Your Cat's Skin While Grooming Them
While brushing your cat, check on their skin condition. Look for any signs of swelling, redness or hard lumps. These can be an indication of a problem that your veterinarian needs to examine.
Redness can be a sign that your cat has an allergy and is scratching their skin. If the skin has been broken, there is a chance for infection. The vet can give your cat medication to slow down the itching while the allergic reaction goes away.
A swollen area can be an abscess. If your cat got into a fight with another cat and a claw or tooth punctured the skin, an infection can set in, causing fluid build up under skin. The vet will lance and drain the abscess and put your cat on antibiotics.
A hard lump, like a mole on a person, can be a mast cell tumor, one of the common skin cancers on cats. Some of these can spread on your cat's body and attack internal organs. Your vet will want to remove these lumps to prevent further problems.
Grooming Cat Claws
Your older cat may stop using the scratching post to keep their claws short. Sharp claws should be kept trimmed so they don't scratch the cat and other members of the household. The claw trimmers that look like scissors will work in most cases. In some older cats, their claws start to grow out thick and brittle. You'll need to use the guillotine style claw trimmer in that case, or take the cat to the groomer to have those thick claws trimmed and shaped so they don't bother the cat.
Some cats have more trouble with dirt in their ears than others. Use a cotton swap to wipe out your cat's ears gently. A tiny bit of baby oil on the end will help remove any build up. If you find small brown specks when you clean the ears, your cat may have ear mites. This is a tiny parasite that takes up residence in a cat's ears. If you see your cat scratching their ears often, they likely have ear mites. The veterinarian will give you ear drops to get rid of these pests.
Helping your aging cat with their grooming keeps their fur, skin, ears and claws in good health. It also gives you a chance to look for those medical problems that require a trip to the vet. Becoming a grooming buddy with your cat also develops another bond between you and your feline companion for the rest of their lives.Share