What cat breeds are the most challenging to groom?

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Without question, the long-haired cat breeds are the most challenging to groom, in part because when their coats get matted and out of control, the cats become miserable and ill-tempered. Some breeds, especially the Persian, have to be anesthetized to have their coats shaved.

Any long-haired cat should be introduced slowly and gently to a regular grooming regimen at a young age. The best method is to work slowly, every day, in small steps to get the animal used to the necessary attentions.

Use verbal encouragement and petting paired with small, healthy treats as rewards. Try to avoid any forcible restraint of the animal. Cats react very poorly to being held down. Try to get the animal accustomed to being handled so only light restraint is required.

Do not scrimp on your grooming tools. Buy metal combs and coat rakes for long-haired cats instead of brushes with bristles, which will cause static in the fur and actually increase the chances of tangling and mats. Remove the collected hair frequently during brushing.

There are grooming tools specifically designed to thin the cat’s heavy, down undercoat, but choose these only after careful research or in consultation with a professional groomer. Cats have very tender skin that can be easily damaged.

Since wet hair tangles more easily than dry, it may be advisable to have your long-haired cat professionally groomed a few times a year. Certainly if mats do become an issue, do not try to cut them out yourself.

If your cat has to be anesthetized to be shaved, only agree to have the procedure performed in a veterinary clinic where he can be appropriately monitored. Not all cats react well to anesthesia and it’s better to be safe.

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