Cats are known for being fastidious in their self care. They spend hours upon hours grooming and primping and while we admire their dedication, most cat owners know that a tongue and saliva aren’t really a substitution for a good bath, every now and again.
Most kitty caregivers have accepted their role in cat grooming. Some brushing, the occasional bath, nail trimming, no big deal. But when it comes to cleaning your cat, how far do you need to go? Is cleaning your cat’s derriere in your job description?
How Cats Clean
The cat lovers at Oakhurst Veterinary Hospital know that caring for cats effectively means understanding them. An insight into normal grooming behavior can help us to know how to best help our feline friends.
Cats begin life by being groomed by their mother and start self-grooming soon after (right around four-weeks of age), at which point they continue throughout their lives.
Cats use their rough, comb-like tongue to smooth through the fur. Their flexible bodies are almost custom made to help them to reach all the necessary places.
Self grooming in cats serves several purposes including:
- Body temperature regulation
- Distribution of natural oils
- Stimulation of circulation
- Control of irritants and parasites
- Cleaning and smoothing of the fur
Grooming is important to cats. In fact, many spend up to half the day grooming themselves!
Cleaning All the Parts of Your Cat
So how much do you need to be cleaning your cat? Most normal, healthy cats need baths very rarely. Brushing, especially for longer coated kitties should happen several times a week. Nail trims should be every 2-4 weeks as necessitated by nail growth.
There are some reasons, however, that your cat may not be grooming themselves normally. Excessive weight, pain, arthritis, dental issues, or systemic disease can put a damper on normal grooming behavior.
Please make an appointment if your cat:
- Has a dull or greasy coat
- Is developing hair mats
- Has staining on the fur or paws
- Has a new odor or smells like urine
- Isn’t cleaning after meals
These can all be signs that your cat isn’t feeling up to grooming.
Many cats, particularly senior cats or those who are overweight, will need your help. Brushing daily is important to prevent mats and spread skin oils, especially over the back and rump. Regular nail trims become even more important. And your cat may need a little help… back there.
Cleaning your cat’s nether regions may not be on the top of your must do list, but it is important for cats who are having trouble cleaning themselves. Accumulated urine and other debris can cause irritation and even infection of the skin or genitals. Wiping gently with a warm, damp cloth daily or when you notice debris can keep things tidy from nose to tail.
While cleaning your cat’s rear end can be on the bottom of your want-to-do list, it can be a necessity from time to time. If you have questions about cleaning your cat’s hind quarters (and how to do it without being shredded), please call us for an appointment.