Got an email from a TNR (trap neuter return) group. One of their cats is pretty friendly and can be brushed for about ten minutes a sitting, but he’s matted. Here’s my reply.
“Look, cat grooming is simple because it’s 99% about handling and 1% about tools. If you can handle the cat, you’ve almost got it licked.
Throw away the darned Furminator. That thing is a piece of marketing crap. If you overdo it you tear the skin’s surface. If you use it gently, you’re not making progress. Junk. They should be ashamed of themselves. Cat skin is like our eyelids — super thin and tears like paper. Cats won’t react when you tear their skin, so you don’t even know you’re doing it until it rips all the way through which might not happen for a week or two.
Also get a small ball-tip scissor so you don’t poke the cat when you trim. Should cost about $8.
Don’t brush and comb like a wussy. Most people brush like their hand is made of cotton candy and the cat is made of fairy dust. If you’re just doing the surface, don’t even bother doing it. Need to get to the skin, like when you’re late for work and brush your own hair. You use some energy then, right? Not hard or hurtful, but all the way to the skin.
As far as winter goes, shelters and heating pads are what counts, so not sure what you mean about his coat. Winter or summer, he needs to be free of mats because those mats are pulling on his skin and blocking flow of air to his skin. Usually there’s a bunch of dandruff under the mat, sometimes even an infection if the mat pulls hard enough.
If he’s really matted though, with solid mats up against his skin tight, then shaving needs to be done most likely. We call that type of mat a “pelt”.
Good luck and good for you for doing TNR. I’m against putting outdoor cats in shelters because I’ve been there, done that.
You want to arrange a training session for your group, let me know.
$80 for a half hour. We could meet at my place on upper east side. I’ll show you tools, how to hold, answer questions.”
Poor doggie! This is the kind of damage that overly enthusiastic use of a Furminator can do to an animal. The Furminator has stiff metal ridges. If you use it carefully and for a minute or two, it’s fine for getting out undercoat. Just don’t get carried away!
Throwing up hairballs isn’t natural. If cats still lived outdoors, shedded fur would be blown off or pulled off. In the home, fur detaches, gets licked into the throat and is either vomited out, or accumulates enough to create an obstruction if it doesn’t pass through the body. Everyone has time for 15 seconds of brushing a day. For a short-haired cat, 15 seconds can mean the difference between hairballs and no hairballs. The volume of shedding fur usually increases dramatically in spring and fall.
I groom these two sweet-natured beauties once a month. (Jump to the middle of this post for links to grooming tools.) Even if your long-haired cat is another breed or a mix, you can use similar tools. If you are going to be grooming your cat monthly, it’s worth buying the tools and products. Grooming is a recurring part of the life of a long-haired cat. (If it’s not, it should be, because ungroomed cats lug around a lot of shedded fur and are coated with too much body oil.)
Chirp & Bambi’s owner is a responsible person who makes sure that her cats get the care they need to stay healthy, comfortable and happy. She combs them frequently, so that when I visit, I don’t have to subject them to intense de-matting. Lucky cats!
Longer days and less sunlight mean it’s time to change fur coats. Your cat does not need to have a winter fur coat delivered from the fur vault. Their coat change is “do-it-yourself.”
Telltale signs that the feline coat change is underway . . .
Tufts of dull-looking fur poking out here and there.
More strands of fur decorating your sofa.
Increased puffiness of coat.
Increased licking and grooming, followed by increased fur balls on the carpet.
If your cat is shedding more, a grooming session will keep that fur under control. In nature, your cat would frolic and scamper through bushes and grass. Excess fur would be snagged on branches. Since cats now live indoors, we have to help them get rid of extra fur.
I’m going to lay it out straight, because I get too many calls from really sweet, really smart people who didn’t get the memo that the animal you adopted BECAUSE IT IS SOFT AND FLUFFY is an animal that is covered in fur. You want the kitty but no fur? There are cats for that.
If you didn’t get one, don’t blame the cat, don’t get frustrated, just figure out a way to live without a haze of cat fur. It can be done. Don’t fight reality. Work with reality.
I know a lot of you are much, much smarter than I am, so if I can figure out a way to deal with fur, you should be able to do it while you’re sleeping.
In short, since this is a LIVE animal, not a stuffed animal, that furs got to come off, so suck it up. Literally. Suck that stuff up with a slicker brush and a fully functional vacuum. Take pride in your tools, ladies and gents. Make common sense furniture/bedding purchases. See below for details.
Cats shed year-round. Shedding increases when days get longer. Shedding relates to light, not temperature. No artificial light, less shedding.
Apart from living like Abe Lincoln in darkness from the moment the sun goes down to the moment the sun goes up, how do you decrease shedding?
You don’t decrease shedding. They just keep on shedding. What you do is get better at scooping up the dead fur.
1. Run a metal comb through your cat’s fur a few times a week. Use a cheap metal comb. (Furminator shmurminator, I hate that thing. Costs too much, does too little.) Takes all of 2 minutes. Give your cat a treat while you’re doing it. Eat some potato chips while you do it. You’ll both be better for the experience. Fatter, but better. If your cat wiggles, hold on to the cat. You can do it. You’re a New Yorker! You ride the 6 train during rush hour! This is nothing compared to that.
2. Use a slicker brush, gently brushing your cat’s surface once a day. Takes all of a minute. Do it while you’re watching cat videos. You know you watch those videos, don’t even try to hide it. I’ll check your laptop history next time I visit, and all will be revealed.
3. Get yourself a quality vacuum, and keep that thing clean and functional. Don’t show me some sad-looking vacuum with fur and dust jamming it up every which way. That’s not a tool. That’s an embarrassment. Take pride in your tools!
4. Buy smart. You know you’re going to be crazy over fur if you buy yourself one of those suede-type couches that are so popular. Fur magnets is what they are. Don’t buy a fuzzy bed cover. Get one with a slick surface that can be shaken to get dead fur off, or else just put a cute sheet over your bed in the morning before you run out the door.
5. Give your cat his own furniture, which your cat will be perfectly happy to hang out on and adorn with shedding fur. Cat shelves, cat tree houses, cat beds on window sills. Lots of possibilities. Order them online. Spend a few dollars. If it doesn’t work out, that’s okay. Try something else. You probably spent that much money on fancy drinks last week without thinking twice.
6. Put your clothes in a closet. If you have a white cat, think about your all-black wardrobe. You should have thought about that before you bought a white cat, so now you either switch it up and buy some light-colored clothes or keep a pail of sticky brushes by the door. Or you can dye the cat black. No, not really.
Have me come over every so often to do a complete comb-out, bath, drying. You’ll still have fur left over that sheds, because I’m a groomer, not a magician, BUT that fur will be clean, won’t be greasy, and there’ll be less of it.76y76 (Those last letters were typed by my black cat, Emma. She’s a professional writer.)
Go on now. You can do it. If you can’t, make regular grooming appointments and off-load the work to me.