Cat Grooming Benefits
Keeping your cat happy and healthy isn't the only reason to groom them. An essential bonding activity that can be a lot of fun, this only scratches the surface of the benefits of cat grooming.
Although cats groom themselves, it's still important to brush their coat once a week, bathe them every 4-6 weeks or as needed, trim their nails regularly, and brush their teeth daily.
8 Benefits of Cat Grooming
You and your cat will reap the benefits when you maintain a proper grooming routine. Need a little more convincing?
Here are 8 great reasons to groom your cat (number 6 is our favorite!):
1) Clean Cat, Clean Home
Many cat parents are already aware that brushing helps remove loose hairs from their cat’s undercoat. More loose hairs in your brush means less loose hairs all over your furniture and clothing. Especially when shedding season is in full swing!
Stop Dandruff and Dander
Cats don’t just shed hair, but also dander and sometimes dandruff. This can accumulate quickly, making it difficult to maintain a clean home. Furthermore, many people are allergic to dander. For people with cat allergies, visiting or living in a home full of dander can get uncomfortable fast.
By regularly brushing your cat’s coat, you help to stimulate the skin beneath. Although dander is perfectly normal, excessive shedding and dandruff are not.
Healthy, Problem-Free Skin
Brushing your cat’s coat helps distribute natural oils that keep their skin soft and problem-free. A soft bristle brush or grooming gloves are both excellent tools to stimulate circulation and gently exfoliate your cat’s skin.
When your cat’s coat is healthy from regular brushing, there will be less hair and dead skin cells to deal with. This means less housework, a cleaner home, and a happy cat!
2) Brushing Your Cat Can Prevent Hairballs
Perhaps you’ve had the unglamorous experience of cleaning up hairballs. These nasty little cylinders of hair collect in your cat’s esophagus before they cause excess discomfort and are brought up. This is especially true for long-haired cats, who are twice as likely to cough up hairballs.
Hairballs Aren't Healthy
A common misconception is that hairballs are normal. This isn’t always the case. Because grooming is a natural behavior, it is typical for accidentally ingested hair to pass through the digestive tract without incident. But if the hair is building up and producing regular hairballs, there could be a problem.
Over-Grooming and Digestive Problems
In addition to digestive issues, excessive grooming can also cause hairballs. And it can also be a sign that something isn’t quite right. Cats over-groom when they experience discomfort, skin problems, anxiety, or other issues.
It's important to do what you can to help your furry friend avoid this issue! Regular brushing removes excess hair before your cat gets a chance to accidentally ingest it. And when you groom your cat, you can check their overall skin condition.
3) Detect Serious Health Issues
By brushing your cat once or twice a week, you’ll get to know their body and personality pretty well. We know when we’re sick because we know how we feel when we’re healthy. And the same goes for cats. For the most part, you’ll hopefully be grooming a healthy cat most of the time.
Cat Grooming Is Preventative Healthcare
Preventative health care is all about detecting issues early before they become serious problems. Take the time to check your cat’s ears, eyes, teeth, and gums, while you’re grooming them, just as you would yourself. Regular grooming can help you avoid serious health issues before they become problematic.
4) Maintain Optimal Cat Health
Humans are odd creatures, cats know this well. We often prioritize looks over health. But we know better!
We know that grooming is just one part of self-care. As we’ve highlighted above, grooming your cat keeps your home environment clean. By routinely caring for your cat, you get to know them well enough to take action before a small problem becomes a big one.
Grooming, Diet, and Exercise Go Together
Combined with exercise, a healthy diet, rest, and plenty of love, grooming is an essential component of a healthy life.
Remember that cats are very clean animals by preference. Support your cat’s love for good health and cleanliness by feeding them healthy food, loving them unconditionally, and grooming them!
They may fuss and fight when it comes to some of these activities, but there are plenty of resources and professionals who can help! Never let the inconvenience prevent you from getting this important task accomplished.
5) Grooming Your Cat Keeps Them Comfortable
In the wild, a cat wouldn’t need a nail trimmer because the world is their nail trimmer. Taking down live prey, digging into the nearest tree, and other wildcat activities, ensure optimally sharp claws, not too dull, not too sharp.
DIY Cat Nail Trimming
Your ferocious feline is quite pampered in comparison with their fierce ancestors! Chances are, you have an indoor cat whose outdoor time is limited to manicured grass or the odd trip to the forest or beach. When their nails grow long, it can cause them a lot of discomfort.
Our article ‘How to Trim Your Cat’s Nails’ teaches you how to to care for your cat’s nails. Learn useful tips and techniques to make the process stress-free.
6) Bonding With Your Cat Through Grooming
All cats thrive on love, care, and affection. Regular nail trimmings keep your cat comfortable. Even if they dislike the process, they know it’s good for them. They know that when you groom them, you are caring for them.
Grooming Makes Your Cat Feel Good
Like massage, brushing your cat’s coat releases endorphins, the body's feel-good hormones. And the same is true when you cuddle them and play with them. These endorphin-releasing activities will make your cat feel bonded to you.
Build Trust and Patience
Also, brushing your cat’s teeth and trimming their nails are intimate activities that require a lot of trust and patience from both you and your cat. It takes a balance of trust, confidence, and compliance to make a grooming routine run smoothly.
And this is the measure of true cat/parent bonding. We believe it is well worth the time and effort.
7) Feel Good About Yourself!
This brings us to an often overlooked benefit of cat grooming: feeling great about it! Let’s face it: even when it is fun and effortless, grooming your cat is a chore.
Trimming those nails yourself is not always easy. Some cats can be very sensitive or difficult when it comes to bath-time or simply getting their coat brushed. Certainly, professionals are always a phone call away and there’s no shame in getting help when you need it.
Good (Cat) Parents Do Good Work
But there’s a special feeling of accomplishment when you learn how to take care of most of your cat’s needs yourself. Afterall, human children are groomed until they’re able to do it themselves! And it is a measure of great parenting when children successfully learn self-care through a parent’s close guidance and love.
Ditto for cat parents, except you have committed to pampering and grooming your fur babies for life! So pat yourself on the back every time you do it, you deserve it.
8) Save Money!
We’ve highlighted the costs of cat ownership in 'How Much Does It Cost to Keep a Cat?'. Cat ownership is not about saving money and you should never cut essential corners when it comes to your cat’s health. But that doesn’t mean you can’t reap the financial rewards of regularly grooming your cat.
Regular Cat Grooming Reduces Emergency Spending
Since grooming allows you to spot health issues before they become big problems, you are not just saving your cat’s health, but also the possible cost of an emergency procedure or long-term medication.
DIY vs. Professional Grooming
The regular monthly and annual cost of cat ownership can range from CA$600 up to $1800 (US$480-$1440). Professional grooming can become a large part of these costs, adding up in the higher range.
Professional Nail Clipper Sets won’t run you more than $12, but a one-time professional nail trimming is $25 minimum. You do the math! The savings will add up over time when you have a grooming kit and know how to use it.
And all of these savings you accumulate from doing your cat grooming can go straight into your cat’s emergency fund. Win-win!
ASPCA (2021) “Cat Grooming Tips,” ASPCA, [online] Available from: https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/cat-care/cat-grooming-tips (Accessed 13 July 2021).
Scherk, DVM, DABVP (Feline), M. (2018) “Hairballs: The Cat Community,” Cat Friendly Homes, [online] Available from: https://catfriendly.com/cat-care-at-home/routine-caregrooming/hairballs/ (Accessed 13 July 2021).