Arthritis common in cats. Pay attention to their movements.

“Factors related to the presence of OA included advancing age, decreased mobility and grooming, and increased inappropriate elimination. This study supports findings of other studies in the last 10 years and reinforces the fact that OA is very common in middle-aged and older cats, and is associated with behavior changes.”

From “Osteoarthritis in Cats. Cat Health News from the Winn Feline Foundation.”

If your middle-aged or senior cat doesn’t like to be groomed, they may have a good reason.  Arthritis makes some movements more painful.  If you notice a reduction in movement, it’s your turn to pick up the slack. Gently and patiently help your cat groom themselves. If you can’t do this, then look for a cat groomer who understands the aches and pains of old age in cats.

Supply list for home grooming long-haired cats

Basic tool kit for home-grooming long-haired cats. Believe me, you could buy a lot more, but this is enough to get you started.

7 1/2″ steel grooming comb. (

Face & Finishing comb. (

Slicker brush. (

Claw trimmer. (

Cat wipes. (

Hypo-allergenic shampoo. (

Clear plastic Elizabethan snap-on collar in a small-enough size for your cat. (Ask your local feline veterinarian if they can sell you one. Costs about $10. Make sure it is a SNAP-ON collar, not a collar with velcro. The sound of the velcro scares some cats.)

If you could be happy & healthy without . . .

Health and comfort
Health and comfort

If you could be happy and healthy without hurting animals, why wouldn’t you?

When I visit an animal shelter, walk by the animal research center at The Rockefeller University or drive by a factory farm in Indiana, I wonder why my life is worth so much and the lives of billions of animals are worth nothing.  Why does only my happiness matter? What makes me so special that I deserve to have so many animals killed on my behalf? I don’t get it.

When I groom a cat, I see that they like certain things and dislike others. Each cat is different.  Their own life is important to them. If they’re lucky, their life is also important to their human.  To me, grooming is part of health care. It’s not just cosmetic. I could care less if the cat looks better, even though yes, the cat will look better. My goal is to help the cat be  clean and comfortable.  They can’t get all their dead fur out without some help, so I help them. They can’t clean all the hard to reach spots.  A lot of felines get matted up. They need our help.

Grooming is the very definition of holistic

“Characterized by comprehension of the parts of something as intimately interconnected and explicable only by reference to the whole.”

The fur is part of the body is part of the skin is part of the heart is part of the liver is part of the kidney is part of the claws . . . as Gertrude Stein would say.

Veterinarians distance themselves from grooming. It’s too much like the work of a junior nurse or health care aide, instead of a trained scientist.  Besides, you can get hurt when you give a cat a bath. Who wants to take the risk?

Grooming a cat is the quickest way to improve their health and comfort.

Trim the claws that clack on the floor and snag on furniture.

Brush out the dead fur that makes your cat feel like he’s wearing a heating pad in the midst of summer.

Clean the grease off your cat’s coat so the skin can breathe.

Holistic care doesn’t mean you buy oils and gels. It means you take care of the whole.

Easy de-shedding for short-haired cats

My cat Emma helps me figure out which tools to use.  She’s a test model and co-pilot. De-shedding is “maintenance grooming.” Do it once a week or more. It’s addictive. Seeing fur pile up on the Love Glove is ridiculously satisfying.

Today’s harvest of fur. Nice to see it on the glove instead of your sheets or  clothes, right?

De-shedding made easy
De-shedding made easy

Don’t let anxiety stop you from caring for your cat

If you are scared to trim your cat’s claws, that’s okay.  Claws are pointy, so your fear is understandable.

If you are afraid to irritate your cat by combing through her fur, that’s okay. Some cats aren’t easy to comb.

YOU don’t have to do these things, but if you want to take good care of your cat, SOMEONE has to do them.

Those claws need to be trimmed. That fur needs to be brushed.

There’s no shame in calling a cat groomer. After all, most of us don’t sew our own dresses or make our own shoes. Most of us don’t bake our own bread.  If it’s easier for you, and easier for the cat, go for it.