The Benefits of Grooming Your Cat
Physical, mental, and emotional benefits
Why bother grooming your cat, you ask? All they ever seem to do when they're not sleeping, eating, or pooping, is groom themselves. Such is not always the case. Perhaps kitty has gotten chubby and can't reach where he or she needs. Maybe your old fluffy friend can't quite do the cleaning job they use to. Or perhaps tabby has hair longer than your own. Maybe your kitty pal is more of a pig than a cat.
Regardless of your cat's specific situation, there are a number of other reasons to get in the habit of grooming your cat. While your own physical, mental, and emotional state might actually be strained by grooming a rambunctious, or even worse, a very irritated cat, your cat will potentially benefit in a number of ways.
What are the physical benefits of grooming my cat?
When you groom your cat, you have a perfect opportunity to exam closely its physical condition. Really "let your fingers do the walking and the talking" when you're running your hands through your cat's coat. Move slowly and deliberately to feel for any cuts, tumors, sores, lumps, bumps, and bruises. Part the fur in different areas and look for raw patches as well as signs of flea infestation - whether the actual flea or the "dirt" residual they leave behind.
As you stroke your cat's coat deeper than you normally would, you'll potentially find matted areas that need attention. You can begin working in those areas by slowly using your fingers to pull apart the clumps or by spraying on a detangling product that can soak into the fur while you continue checking kitty's condition.
Stroking your cat in this manner will stimulate his or her circulation as well as aid in stimulating the release of more body oils to the cat's coat. Removing clumps of shedding hair will also reduce the chances of your cat having hairballs, some of which can be quite severe. A quick examination of your cat's eyes, ears, teeth, and nails might identify problems that you hadn't yet seen. All of your grooming work will help in giving you a "reference point" of your cat's current health condition.
What are the mental and/or emotional benefits of grooming my cat?
Grooming your cat can serve as a good socialization-teaching tool. Kitty might be agitated during your initial grooming sessions, but hopefully, as you continue to repeat this slow and patient process, your cat will begin enjoying being groomed. Their stress level will be reduced and they'll become more outgoing and friendly and less aggressive. All of these benefits will potentially carry over when your cat needs to visit the vet.
Grooming your cat, while possibly being a challenge initially, could turn out to be a wonderful time for both you and your cat. If the research is correct that indicates humans who handle their pets exhibit such things as lower blood pressure and fewer minor health problems, then you too could physically, mentally, and emotionally-benefit from the process (www.deltasociety.org/dsc020.htm). It's a win-win situation for both your well-groomed feline companion and you.
Keeping Your Pets
Happy and Healthy,