How Start Natural Cat Grooming and Care
Teaching Your Cat or Kitten to Enjoy Brushing, Nail Trimming and Teeth Cleaning
Every cat or kitten should learn how to tolerate grooming—getting their teeth cleaned, nails trimmed and coat brushed—without biting, hissing, or trying to run away. Cat grooming care, including regular cat teeth cleaning and cat brushing, is essential to your cat’s overall health and wellbeing.
As early as possible, you should start to get your kitten or cat comfortable with being handled, restrained, and groomed. You will frequently be brushing your cat’s fur, brushing his teeth, reaching for him quickly, trimming his nails, and hopefully petting and loving him. These frequent actions can be quite challenging if you do not teach your cat now how to enjoy being handled, and to be calm and relaxed during handling and grooming.
In these daily exercises, you will be teaching your cat to trust you and to view these procedures as enjoyable and not stressful. If at any time your cat seems uncomfortable or stressed, or if he runs away, hisses, or attempts to bite or scratch, stop. Your goal is to work slowly and at your cat’s comfort level.
- Lightly scratch or touch your cat’s neck area, then give him a healthy cat treat.
- Touch the top of your cat’s foot, then give him a treat. Repeat with each foot.
- Pick up your cat’s front foot, then give him a treat. Repeat with each foot, his tail and ears.
- Put organic coconut oil on your finger and allow your cat to lick it off. Do this each day for 3 days. On day 4, gently place your finger with coconut oil inside your cat’s mouth along his gum line. Over time, work at lightly rubbing his gum line with your finger and coconut oil. Instant natural cat teeth cleaning!
- Gently stroke the top of your cat’s head, back, and tail, and give him a treat.
- Gently hug or pick up your cat, and give him a treat.
- Stroke your cat’s back with a soft brush, and give him a treat.
Repeat these steps with various family members, friends, and strangers. As your cat starts to look forward to these lessons, gradually increase the length of your touching. For example, instead of picking up your cat’s front paw and treating, pick up your cat’s paw and hold for a couple of seconds, then treat. You are working toward longer duration so that you can examine your cat’s body, give cat nail trims, brush your cat’s teeth, etc.
Do not get complacent in handling your kitten or cat. It is critical to help your cat feel comfortable and even look forward to regular grooming, petting, and handling. Practice these exercises on a daily basis, and remember to reward heavily for good behavior until your cat is totally happy with the exercise, then you can eliminate the food rewards. Remember, your cat must view all this as enjoyable. If he seems cautious on any of these things, proceed very slowly, or contact a professional cat behavior specialist.
How often do you brush your cat? Tell me in the comments.
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