Walking cats outside in summer

Cats can feel heat on their paw pads, though from what I’ve read, they feel it less than we feel heat.  Some cats have heat-blocking fur on their paw pads, but many don’t. If you’re walking your cat on a hot day, try to walk on grass or dirt, or try to walk in early morning or early evening.  Cats are most active during early morning and early evening, so your cat might have more fun then.

Cat fur feels stiff or dry

When cat fur gets coated with cat skin oil, the fur can feel stiff or gluey.  All that’s happening is grease + fur = stiffness.  To fix the situation, you can use ball-tip scissors and carefully, CAREFULLLLLLY, trim off the oiled-up fur. The skin underneath will still be oily, so you can use a wet wipe made for cats/dogs. That will help a little.

If you’re feeling adventurous, you can use a diluted degreaser like Dawn or Palmolive — unscented original versions, diluted heavily — to wash the greasy skin and fur.  Be SURE to rinse, rinse, rinse and rinse some more because you don’t want your cat to lick that soap.

A common place to find stiff, oiled-up fur is between the shoulder blades.  I can’t believe how gluey and sticky this area can be.  Very hard to degrease without washing a few times.

If fur is dry, that’s different. Could be that the fur was washed with a degreasing shampoo too many times in too short a time. More likely it’s not related to grooming but to some other situation.  I’m not a vet, so I don’t know what would cause dry fur.  I’ve never seen dried-out fur on a cat. I’ve seen oily fur many times.

Emmainharness
Red is my color.

 

 

Cats like to be really warm

I gave a sweet kitty a bath today.  She’s easygoing, and doesn’t mind her baths in the kitchen sink.  Her human mom made sure the water was nice and warm. It felt hot to me, but you know what? That’s what kitties like!  Maybe that’s because their body temperature is a little bit higher than ours.  You know how cats love to lay up against the radiator? I’d be jumping around like I’d stubbed my toe if I spent 15 minutes pressed up against a radiator, but cats can spend all night squished up against the radiator.

When her human mom made the water super warm, the kitty melted. I was massaging her shoulders to get the shampoo out. Kitty experienced a truly blissful Spa Day.

Aaaahhhhhh. Spa Day.

cropped-i-am-the-queen-of-france1.jpg
What cat baths should feel like!

“My cat has greasy, oily skin!”

For do-it-yourself cat bathers.

If you give your cat a bath, but the skin and fur stays greasy, I recommend this shampoo.

Also useful if your cat won’t tolerate being shampooed twice. Using Grimeinator, you can get the results of two shampooings with just one shampooing. I know I sound like an infomercial, but it’s a darn fine product.

* Buy a 16 oz bottle, not the gallon size. You dilute it 32:1, so one bottle will last a long, long time.

** Great shampoo for shelter/rescue pets, but not kitten/puppies under 6 weeks.

Groomers Edge Grimeinator Deep Cleaning Dog and Cat Shampoo, 16-Ounce

Hisses, scratches and bites. Cat grooming escalating to bites.

Scenarios for cat grooming escalating to cat bites.

1. Cat groomer enters home –> cat runs away, hides, hisses and swats at owner when owner reaches for cat. Tries to bite groomer before groomer starts grooming. Hiding, hissing, swatting, biting not caused by grooming, because that behavior started before grooming. Among possible causes are illness, lack of social experience, rough treatment in the past, disturbance in the home, or presence of other pet who is threatening to the cat.

2. Cat groomer enters home, starts to groom cat –> cat remains quiet for 15 – 30 minutes. Meows, hisses, then swats or attempts to bite after 15-30 minutes. Cause of behavior may be unrelated to groomer or related to groomer.  Possible non-groomer causes of behavior: another pet walked into room, children or strangers walked into room, vacuuming or other loud noises, illness, soreness, feeding time. Possible groomer causes of behavior: groomer pulling on skin, groomer pressing on arthritic area, pinching the scruff with overly tight grip, making sudden movements or loud noises. * Cats often won’t express pain when nicked or when the clipper blade is hot, so these are not likely causes for bite.

Methods for avoiding escalation to bites: Don’t rush. Rushing –> tugging, pulling, pinching –> discomfort –> bites.  If cat is agitated before grooming begins, can wear gloves, apply snap-on e-collar, wrap cat in towel.

Does washing your cat reduce allergens?

Should allergic cat owners get their cats washed?

Lots of reasons to get a cat groomed, but allergies aren’t one of them, at least according to this one study.

Fel d 1 is a major cat allergen.

“This study shows that Fel d 1 levels on the skin are dramatically higher on the facial area than chest. This anatomical variation is concordant with the levels of Fel d 1 found on fur. Washing reduces levels of major allergen on cat skin and fur, but the accumulation on skin is restored within 2 days.”

Allergy, 2000 Jun;55(6):570-3.

What I get from this — if you’re allergic to cats, can’t hurt to wipe their face with a slightly damp towel once a day. May even help.

So why have your cat groomed if grooming doesn’t help with allergies? Mats. Shedding. Oily skin. Dirt from litter box. If you’re like me, your cat lives on your body, like a furry parasite. I prefer clean, fluffy parasites.

Lion Cut + Old, skinny cat = Blood + Stitches

Bad human!
Yep. You don’t want to be the one who did this.

There’s a heap of denial among cat-loving humans who have skinny, old cats.

Is a cute-looking haircut and less fur on the sofa worth blood and stitches? If you say HECK YEAH! then go to it. Fire up that clipper.

I’m of the opinion that the answer is HECK NO.  I won’t do a lion cut if the cat is likely to be nicked during the shaving process.

I do make an exception for old cats who are so matted that they are uncomfortable. Their comfort is important, so it’s worth the risk.

Long-haired old cats stay dirtier and can’t deal with their own fur. Their tongue is worn out, I guess, not to mention the arthritis. They’re like that uncle who drinks too much and can’t remember to comb his hair . . . . you know, the uncle with the shirts covered with stains? You won’t do his laundry because who knows what he’s gotten into?

Cat skin is as thick as your eyelid. Think about that. You want me to come over and shave your eyelid?

The technical, boring discussion is below. You can skip it, unless you’re deeply interested in shaving cat’s privates.

1. Cat clippers work best on a flat plane. They zip along a flat surface and get every last hair off quickly and safely.

2. Cat clippers on an angle aim the blade at tender skin.  The blade isn’t parallel to the skin.  It’s going INTO the skin.  DANGER ZONES: clipping the fur in the underarms or between the rear legs. “I can’t believe what I’m seeing” thin skin combined with peaks and valleys. DANGER.

3. The thinner the cat, the more peaks and valleys, and the harder it is to shave safely. Shaving a fat cat is like shaving a balloon. It’s much easier to  shave a fat cat than a skinny cat.

4. The older the cat, the thinner and looser the skin.

Comb your cat every day, gently work on the mats with a comb, or maybe a round-tip scissor. If you’re a butterfingers be patient.  Spend some money on my services if you can’t do it yourself.

Awwww. Kisses.
Awwww. Kisses.

 

 

 

 

“I just adopted a cat. Is it a good idea to groom adopted cats?”

If you just adopted a cat, congratulations!!!!!! You have so much fun, excitement and love ahead of you.

Should you have your newly adopted cat groomed? I think so, and that’s not just because I am a cat groomer:).

If your cat was in a shelter, I can almost guarantee that the shelter staff were too busy to brush the fur, wash the fur, or trim the claws of your cat. I bet they didn’t have time to check your cat’s ears for waxy buildup.  I bet they were too busy saving lives to de-shed or de-mat your cat. They did their job, which was to find a cat a good home. Now your job is to make sure your cat is clean and comfortable.

If you purchased a cat from a store, I doubt your cat was groomed. I know people who have worked at pet stores. There may be a few exceptions, but store employees are not trained in cat grooming. Selling the cat is the priority, not grooming the cat.

If you adopted from a reputable breeder, your cat has probably been groomed before. You just need to continue the grooming sessions.

Did you adopt from out-of-state? I would suggest washing your cat. Most cats get a little messy during travel. They do their  best to clean up, but even that wonderful Brillo pad known as their tongue has its limits.

So yes, please do groom your newly adopted cat. Your cat will be a better house-mate with clean fur, clean ears and trimmed claws.  That is a civilized cat, prepared to enjoy human companionship with elegance and grace:)

Clean cats are better house-mates
Clean cats are better house-mates