People consider cats to be the animal most concerned with their “personal” cleanliness. This hard-won fame is due to the fact that cats spend a lot of time grooming every day. However, even though this is a much-appreciated virtue, the owner should also take care of a series of indispensable grooming routines.
Before buying or adopting a cat, you should stop to decide whether to choose a short or long-haired one. Short-haired cats will not need as much attention from their owner in caring for their fur and skin. It is very important not to get carried away by the beauty of a long-haired cat if you know that you are not going to be able to give its coat the time and care that it requires: remember that beautiful but neglected fur will cause annoying problems later on.
Properly grooming a pet will require you to consider sooner or later the chapter on bathing. In the first place, forget the legend that cats hate water. They will, of course, not happily accept contact with water if they have not been accustomed to it as kittens. But if they are used to having regular baths they will enjoy them immensely.
Cats are naturally clean animals. Although this might seem exaggerated, they spend more than a third of the time they are awake grooming their coat with their spine-covered tongue and front paws. This operation provides them with moments of relaxation besides taking care of their hygiene.
It is important to keep in mind that hairs collected in a cat’s stomach during grooming can produce intestinal obstructions. Daily brushing can prevent the formation of hairballs, as well as routinely giving the cat malt paste or syrup to ease passage through the gut.
And finally, we should mention that licking might cause other problems, such as hairless areas and skin sores, usually due to stressful situations or to certain skin diseases. If you notice this type of lesions on your pet’s coat, you should take it immediately to your veterinary practice to obtain a professional diagnosis either of a behavioural disorder or other type of disease.
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Colegio Oficial de Veterinarios de Alicante
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