By Reginald | February 14, 2012
Using a cat brush can promote healthy skin and hair growth. However, sometimes a cat refuses to allow himself to be brushed and may even lick the brushing locations immediately after the brush is removed. Brushing a cat can prevent cat hair matting of the fur and promote the natural oils of the skin to flow giving the coat a shine. It also gives a cat owner an opportunity to inspect the skin and fur up close for any parasites, lumps or open wounds.
Cats naturally groom themselves, licking the coat and licking their paws first and then rubbing the paw against the coat they cannot reach. The process is disrupted with a cat having de-claw surgery since the claws have been removed and he is unable to “rake” the fur clean.
Step #1: Getting The Cat Used To Brushing
Some cats will try to play with the brush as they are being brushed or they will nip at the brush in annoyance. By starting a brushing routine when they are kittens will get them used to the routine of brushing and they have learned to enjoy brushing. Introduce the brush to the cat by allowing the cat to sniff it and perhaps paw it.
Cat hair or fur protects the cat’s skin from foreign objects, insects and temperature and enhances the sense of touch. There are four types of hair. The thin awn hairs within the coat, protects and insulates the body. The secondary hairs of the undercoat control temperature. Guard hairs are longer and coarser and insulate and act as a sense of touch. Whiskers act as sensors on the cat’s face.
Since there are different types of hair, there are different types of brushes. Use a comb style brush first to rid the fur of insects and dirt that may have accumulated in the fur. This will also allow you to inspect the skin for any abnormalities.
Step #2: Removing Loose Hair And Dander
Use a brush next to capture the loose hair and dander. Brushing promotes the flow of natural oils in the skin to permeate the coat to bring out its shine and to promote healthier skin. It also reduces the incidence of hairballs since the hairs loosened by the cat’s grooming are deposited into the brush rather than into the cat’s stomach. This will keep shedding to a minimum as well. Brushing also reduces the amount of dander (airborne particles) by “capturing” them in the brush rather than allowing dander to be thrown into the air for people to breathe in and possibly causing an allergic reaction.
Step #3: Get Down To The Skin
Use a slicker brush to “grab” the dense coat loose hair and to stimulate the natural oils process. Cats have two types of hair, which are made of protein: a fine coat lies closer to the skin for insulation from the cold and for waterproofing and a longer outer coat, which is indicative of his breed. Two or three hairs grow from the same hair follicle, giving density to the coat, a characteristic unique to cats. Shedding is a healthy way the coat rids itself of loose or dead hair, which regrows. Longhair cats need more extensive grooming to prevent their hair from getting mated, which can then attract bacteria, parasites and dirt. Brushing will keep the coat healthy and prevent cat dermatitis.
Since sunlight and artificial lights affect shedding, indoor cats shed throughout the year while outdoor cats shed in the spring and fall. Shedding is caused by the new hairs pushing the old hairs out of the hair follicle. If a cat sheds too much or too often, it is best to consult a veterinarian.