How can I save money on grooming my cat?

The best way to save money on grooming a cat is to comb and brush him routinely. If possible, start this process when the cat is young. Getting a kitten accustomed to grooming is actually a favor to you both. Not only will this minimize the amount of cat hair around your home, it will decrease hairball tossing on the part of the cat.

It is important to understand the structure of your cat’s coat, which will vary by breed. Most cats have fur that is comprised of two layers, a long outer coat, and a dense, downy undercoat. To remove the maximum amount of excess loose hair, brush the coat backwards, but do not tug at the hair. Remove the collected fur from the bush frequently, to prevent tangling.

Almost all cats will benefit from a bath at some point, but simply wiping the cat’s fur down with a damp washcloth will encourage the animal to groom more effectively on its own. Some cats are messy eaters, which makes them prone to feline acne and contact dermatitis when oil collects on their facial fur. A damp washcloth will control this build-up as well. (Always move in the direction of the fur on a cat’s face.)

From time to time, you will also want to check the cat’s ears, both for accumulated wax and for any detectable “yeasty” odor that might indicate the presence of an infection. Do not attempt to clean deep inside a cat’s ears, but lightly flicking off wax on the flap or swabbing the area gently with a cotton ball soaked in mineral oil is fine. (Do not use alcohol, which will excessively dry out the skin and cause irritation.)

Discuss any specific grooming chores with your vet to further manage your costs and to enhance the animal’s life. For instance, if you have an elderly cat who can no longer squat well, having its “pantaloons” trimmed regularly may be best for all concerned.

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