The ultimate guide to grooming your cat

Creating a grooming routine for your cat not only helps to keep your furry friend looking cute, it also helps to remove any dirt, oil, dead skin and excess hair that could lead to matting and other problems. From daily brushing to monthly bathing assistance, keeping on top of your cat’s grooming routine is essential to ensuring a happy and healthy feline. Here at Direct4Pet, we understand that the frequency and method of grooming your cat will vary depending on a cat’s breed and temperament, that’s why we’re here to help you figure out which grooming techniques will best suit your feline.

Read on to discover our top tips and favourite products to make grooming your cat a fuss-free and enjoyable experience for both you and your pet. 

How often should I bathe my cat?

Generally speaking, cats don’t usually need to be bathed as they are animals that regularly groom themselves using their own tongues and saliva. Cats have small, sharp cone-shaped bristles known as papillae on their tongues that allow them to deep clean their fur when licking themselves. However, if your cat is more outdoorsy, often getting themselves into messy situations or has picked up some nasty parasites, then a bath may be a good idea.

It is recommended that, depending on how often cats groom themselves and whether or not they’re outdoor cats that require grooming assistance, they should be bathed every 4-6 weeks. However, this is totally dependent on cat breed and if they are capable of grooming themselves, for example, if you have a hairless cat breed, then they should be bathed once a week, as they produce excess oils and are more prone to picking up dirt easily, compared to a furry cat. 

If you’re unsure about whether your cat may need bathing assistance or not, get in touch with your vet and ask for their professional opinion, to discuss whether your cat’s personal grooming is enough to keep them clean.

What is the easiest way to bathe a cat?

If your cat requires additional bathing assistance, then the easiest way to bathe a cat is directly in the bath, or if your cat is smaller, in a sink. It’s important to note that, while bathing is imperative for some breeds, a lot of cats can find bath time to be stressful, therefore it’s important to find a way to keep them as relaxed as possible. Follow the steps below for a successful bath time with your cat:

Step one: Prepare the area. Ensure you have everything you need close by, this includes, shampoo, conditioner, a cup or jug, grooming brush and lots of towels. We recommend placing a rubber bath mat or towel on whatever surface you will be bathing your cat so that they have traction to stand on without sliding around. 

Step two: Groom your cat. The easiest way to wash your cat is to ensure they are groomed properly beforehand. Prior to bath time, brush through your cat’s fur to get rid of any matts and tangles and trim their nails to prevent any nasty scratches during bath time. 

Step three: Introduce your cat to the water. Run the bath or sink using lukewarm water, fill until it is at the level it would reach your cat’s underbelly. Slowly place your cat into the water, keep a hold of their underbelly whilst washing to keep them steady. Using a cup or jug, slowly scoop water and pour onto your cat.

Step four: Time to shampoo. Once your cat is thoroughly soaked, grab your chosen shampoo and start to gently massage it into your cat’s fur/skin. Starting from their neck, work your way back down their body, ensuring you pay particular attention to their armpits, paws and neck. At this point, you can also grab a damp washcloth to carefully wipe over their faces, however we would recommend cat owners take due care to ensure this has no  shampoo remnants, as you do not want to irritate your cat’s eyes or mouth.

Step five: Rinse and dry. The most important part of washing your cat is to ensure all shampoo is rinsed off thoroughly, especially if you have a long haired cat. Any leftover residue can build up and irritate your cat’s skin once dry. Now it's time to lift your cat out of the bath and onto a clean, dry towel. Use the towel to get as much excess water off your cat as possible - a hairdryer can also be used to speed up the process if your cat is comfortable with this.

Top Tips: Aim to play with your cat and feed them before you give them a bath - this will help them exert energy and keep them calmer when it comes to bath time. Always give your cat a little treat after bath time so that they begin to positively associate bathing with rewards.

Cat Shampoo and Conditioner

TropiClean Essentials Dog & Cat Grooming Shampoo/Spray/Conditioner £13.79 and Dechra DermAllay™ Sensitive Shampoo for Dogs and Cats 230ml £13.09 

The best cat shampoo should not only smell great but also help to keep your cat’s coat healthy and Tropiclean Essentials Cat Grooming Shampoo, Spray and Conditioner is here to do exactly that. Specially formulated with nourishing ingredients such as shea butter, jojoba oil and goats milk, Tropiclean Cat Shampoo cleans, hydrates, conditions and balances natural oil production. Available in a variety of scents, take grooming to the next level with delicious smelling cat shampoo and conditioner.

If your cat has sensitive skin, the Dechra DermAllay Sensitive Shampoo is the best choice for your feline. Gentle yet effective, this cat shampoo harnesses the natural soothing and moisturising properties of coconut and safflower oil for a lightly fragranced, natural shampoo that cleanses and hydrates.

How often should I groom my cat?

How often you should groom your cat entirely depends on the breed of cat you have. Long-haired breeds such as Persian, Maine Coone, Ragdoll and Norwegian Forest cats will require more frequent grooming - aim to brush through their fur at least once per day. However, for short-haired breeds such as, Burmese, Bengal, Bombay and British Shorthair cats will only require grooming once per week.

While cats may be adverse to grooming assistance, creating a regular grooming routine is also a good way to look out for any possible health issues that may go unseen otherwise, particularly if your cat has a thick coat. Ensure when grooming your cat you look out for any signs of parasites such as fleas and ticks as well as any unusual skin issues or lumps. If you’re looking for more information on how best to keep an eye out for pesky parasites, our ‘how often should I flea my pets’ blog discusses all the recommended ways to tackle fleas on your felines.

To make grooming an enjoyable time for both you and your cat, it’s a good idea to try to build a sense of familiarity around it. Try to choose the same day/time to groom your cat so that they come to expect it, as this will help to reduce any potential anxiety surrounding the activity. 

Cat Grooming Brushes and Clippers

KONG Zoom Groom Cat £8.49 and Furminator Grooming Rake For Cats And Dogs £13.79 

Simple and fuss-free, the KONG Zoom Groom Cat Brush is designed to both groom and massage your cat at the same time. Featuring soft, rubber bristles, loose hair can effectively be brushed off to help reduce matts and hairball formation. Designed with an ergonomic grip for full control, this brush gently massages your cat during grooming to promote relaxation and condition skin.

For a more heavy duty grooming brush for long-haired felines, the Furminator Grooming Rake is designed to remove loose hairs, tackle stubborn tangles and prevent matted hair. Featuring rotating, stainless steel bristles, this cat grooming brush promises to thoroughly brush even the thickest of fur coats. 

Furminator Adjustable Dematter Tool For Cats And Dogs £14.69 and Rosewood Soft Protection Guillotine Clipper £6.79 

For long-haired cats with stubborn knots, the Furminator Adjustable Dematter is the product you need to make grooming your cat simple. Designed with an adjustable edge to cater to all types of coats, this safe, efficient grooming tool is simple to use when dematting your cat’s fur. If used in conjunction with a classic cat grooming brush, rest assured, your cat will have the softest coat around

An important part of the grooming process which is often overlooked, clipping your cat’s nails is an essential part of a cat’s regular grooming routine. Ensuring your cat’s nails are neatly trimmed and short will help to prevent them from scratching too harshly on furniture or humans. The Rosewood Soft Protection Guillotine Clipper is designed with an ergonomic grip handle for easy control and accurate clipping to keep both you and your cat safe. Featuring high quality stainless steel blades, these clippers offer the most precise cutting on even the toughest of nails. 

Read our ‘best grooming brushes for your cat’ blog to discover more cat grooming brushes and tips.

What are the benefits of grooming your cat?

Not only does grooming help your cat look their best, it can also help to get rid of any loose, shedding hair and dead skin whilst spreading your cat’s natural oils around. Regular grooming can help to prevent excessive shedding, fur balls, painful knots and also bring attention to any unnoticed lumps, ticks or parasites that may have otherwise been overlooked.

How to groom my cat?

Whilst most cats are able to groom themselves, it is always a good idea to give your cat a helping hand, especially if they have longer fur. Grooming your cat is also a great way for you and your pet to bond. Follow these simple steps below for the easiest way to groom your cat.

Step one: Ensure your cat is relaxed before you start grooming and that they have chosen to to interact with you. Hold out the chosen grooming brush and see if your cat decides to come over and inspect it. They may start to sniff the brush and rub their face against it to deposit their scent onto it. 

Step two: Once your cat has marked their scent on the brush you can begin to groom them. Start by brushing the top of their head to get them used to the sensation, going with the direction of your cat’s fur. Pay attention to how your cat reacts before moving on, if they seem happy and are purring this indicates that they are likely enjoying the grooming process. However, if they seem unhappy, then pet owners should stop and try again another time. It may take a while for your cat to get used to the sensation.

Step three: If your cat is happy for you to continue, start to brush down the rest of their body - try to avoid brushing their belly as this can be a highly sensitive area for cats. For longer haired cats, you may need to repeat grooming a few times to tackle any stubborn matts or tangles. 

The grooming session should last as long as your cat is happy with. Try removing the brush and see if your cat comes back for more, this will determine whether they enjoy the activity or not. Regardless of how long your cat allowed you to groom, it is recommended to give your cat a treat immediately after, so that they can positively associate this activity with rewards.

How can I calm my cat down during grooming?

Some cats love being groomed and some don’t, if your cat is showing signs of distress or discomfort during grooming, they may be experiencing anxiety around the activity. Therefore, it is important that you find ways to keep your cat calm and comfortable when attempting to groom them.

Signs your cat is distressed or uncomfortable during grooming

  • Their skin may start to ripple or twitch, particularly on their back
  • Cat’s may hiss or growl at you
  • They may suddenly want to groom a specific area of their body
  • They may swish or thump their tail 
  • Cat’s may suddenly freeze or become unusually tense 
  • Their ears may flick or rotate backwards
  • Cat’s may start to shake their head 
  • They may try to run away or scratch you

It’s important to stop grooming immediately if your cat shows any of the above signs. A great way to try and keep your cat calm during grooming is by using a calming supplement or catnip.

Johnson's Veterinary Catnip Spray 150ml £7.19 and Phytopet Calm Xtra Pet Cat Dog Anxiety Stress Relief £8.99 

Catnip is a natural sedative for cats, it helps to alleviate any anxiety, stress or depression your cat may be feeling, therefore it can be a great addition to your grooming routine. This Johnson’s Catnip Spray contains oil from the dried leaves of catnip in a handy spray formula. This can be sprayed onto any cat bedding, toys and scratching posts to attract and give pleasure to your cat. If your cat tends to get anxious when it comes to grooming, try spraying some of this catnip spray around them beforehand to help them relax.

Calming supplements are also a great way to calm your cat’s anxiety, this Phytopet Calm Xtra Cat Stress Relief is a natural, herbal supplement that helps to calm anxious and hyperactive cats. Made from a combination of botanical extracts including, valerian, skullcap, passionflower and Jamaican dogwood, to produce calming effects without drowsiness. Simply add a small drop of this into your cat’s food or water and see almost instant results, calming your pet within 20 minutes. We suggest adding this to your cat’s food before grooming time so that once eaten and digested they are calm and satisfied and in a better mood to be groomed.

Keep your cat looking and smelling great with Direct4Pet

Now that you have all of the steps to grooming and bathing your cat effectively as well as the right tools and techniques to keep them calm and happy, it’s time to get started. Browse our full range of cat grooming products and health supplements online at Direct4Pet today to find the right ones for your feline and to begin your journey of creating a beautifully groomed pet.