Grooming Kittens

Familiarize your kitten with good grooming practices
 
Familiarize your kitten with good grooming practices. The arrival of a new kitten in your home is a signal of exciting times to come. Of course, along with the pleasure, there are responsibilities.
New kitten owners, though, sometimes may seem to have it easier in the beginning than new puppy owners. Litter training a kitten is much quicker and more simple than house training a pup. Whether it's good or bad, kitten classes are not so readily available as puppy classes in those early primary socialization weeks. Nevertheless, there are some things that an owner should be doing in the education of that little creature in their home.

One of the most important lessons to work on is to familiarize the kitten with the grooming procedures that will be an important part of its care throughout its life. Good grooming will require regular brushing and nail trimming and, perhaps, an occasional bath.

Let's begin with the brushing. No one enjoys having tangles combed out of their hair. A cat is no different from anyone else. It's not a good idea to first try to introduce the concept of grooming when you find mats in your favourite feline's haircoat. It's much better to have them learn to accept grooming and, hopefully, prevent mats or tangles forming.

Healthy kittens begin to groom themselves regularly by the age of three or four months. Mutual grooming is common between cats, who are close companions. Owners need to become part of such familiar feline traits. Your cat will enjoy gentle brush strokes and it's also an excellent opportunity to interact with your cat.

It's important to find a brush or comb that works best for your kitten's coat and is most comfortable for your pet. It may be best to begin with a simple plastic comb with round teeth or a baby brush. Always brush in the direction of hair growth. Brushing against the hair pattern may be uncomfortable for your kitten.

It's a good idea to begin with only a few minutes of grooming and make it a little bit longer every day. It's often a good idea to reward the kitten with a special food treat for accepting a few strokes, therefore making the whole process a pleasant experience from the beginning. Sometimes it may be helpful to distract your pet with a toy as you comb or brush. It is usually a good idea to be a bit selective about the timing of grooming with your kitten. Wait until it is in a more quiet or passive mood rather than at a time when it is being very active or playful.

A short-haired cat may need to be brushed only once a week. However, it's important to maintain that frequency in order for the cat to remain comfortable with being brushed. A long-haired should have some grooming done daily.

Bathing is not likely to be on your cat's fun list. If your cat doesn't enjoy the activity, odds are that you won't either. Fortunately, cats rarely need a bath because they are usually able to use that moist, roughened tongue to good advantage at keeping clean, as they groom themselves. However, it is good to expose a kitten to water and the bathing procedure, if possible.

Cats may be startled by the sound of running water so fill the wash basin with lukewarm water before bringing the kitten into the room. Gently immerse the kitten in water filled to chest level. When immersing into the water, be sure the kitten is held securely, by the scruff of the neck if necessary. Wet the kitten's coat and lather with a mild shampoo safe for use on cats. Avoid getting lather in the eyes. Rinse clean and dry thoroughly with a towel.

The final subject in good grooming training for your kitten will be to try to have it accept nail trimming. Begin with regular handling of the feet and toes in the young kitten. Ask your veterinarian about nail trimmers and how nails should be trimmed at the time of the kitten's first health examination. At first, perhaps, trim only one or two nails once a week. The more often you do it, the more familiar it will become. Eventually, trimming the nails every four weeks is usually enough.

When your kitten completes its course in good grooming requirements, both pet and owner should be able to reap the benefits for years to come.