What cat breeds require more grooming?

The standard rule of thumb is to consider long-haired cats as high-maintenance animals in need of more grooming, with short-haired cats needing little to no attention. As a general guideline, this is not a bad place to start, but it doesn’t tell the whole story about the complexities of a cat’s coat.

Take, for instance, the case of the hairless Sphynx. No hair, no grooming, right? Wrong. The Sphynx needs to be bathed weekly to remove oil build-up on the skin so severe it can leave brown stains on furniture. Without ear hair, the Sphynx is prone to incredible accumulations of “gunk” in the ear canal, and in multiple Sphynx households, nail trimming is a must or the cats will damage each other’s skin in simple play.

On the other extreme, breeds like the Maine Coon and Norwegian Forest Cat have some of the thickest, shaggiest coats out there. Yes, the fur is long, beautiful, and textured for colder climates, but these cats will need to be brushed every one to two days to avoid matting. Bathing, however, is not necessarily a requirement and can be counterproductive since wet hair mats more easily than dry. Many long-haired breeds do much better with brushing and combing only.

More typical long-haired breeds are Persians and Himalayans. They have finer coats that do well with a metal comb stroked outward from the root of the hair. It’s best to get these cats accustomed to brushing and combing from an early age because these activities will need to be part of their weekly routine at minimum.

Not all long-haired cats require brushing, however. For instance the Ragamuffin coat, though long and flowing, is so smooth it is actually mat resistant. The Turkish Van has a long “single” coat with a texture more like rabbit fur. The hair typically does not mat, and weekly grooming can concentrate for the most part on and under the legs and hindquarters.

The best rule of thumb in considering any breed is not to make assumptions about the degree of care involved. Research care tips for the specific breed, talk to a breeder, and if possible to someone who lives and cares for one of the cats on a daily basis. That will be the best source for realistic information on routine maintenance needs.

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