Sometimes when you pet your cat, you get a handful of loose hair. At other times, your cat may not shed at all. So, exactly how often are you supposed to brush your cat? Well, the answer depends on a number of factors.
The general consensus is that long hair cats shed more than short hair cats. However, every cat is different. Even if a long hair cat doesn’t shed much, he may still need to be brushed everyday to prevent mats and tangles. Likewise, don’t assume that your short hair cat doesn’t need to be brushed daily if she is a big shedder.
While long hair cats that live indoors tend to shed all year round, short hair cats may go through shedding seasons. The fur shedding process isn’t triggered by temperature, but rather by the length of daylight. Therefore, short hair cats without much access to natural light may shed year round, too. Otherwise, most cat parents notice increased shedding at the end of winter and at the beginning of summer.
Due to common problems like back pain and arthritis, older cats may have trouble taking care of their fur or reaching certain places. These kitties require special attention to make sure that the oil in their coats is distributed evenly, to remove dead hair and skin, and to prevent mats and hairballs. These kitties can require daily grooming.
Skin problems such as allergic reactions, infections, and flea bites can ruin a cat’s coat. If you notice that your cat is losing more hair than usual, scratching incessantly, or has a lot of dandruff, you should discontinue grooming until you can take your cat to the vet. Your vet can give you instructions and medications specific to your kitty’s skin condition.
For those kitties who would rather not be brushed, it’s okay to do it on an as-needed basis. Otherwise, all you’re doing is introducing undue stress into your kitty’s life. However, over time you may want to build up your cat’s tolerance to being brushed. It’ll make it far easier for you if you ever need to remove mats in the future.
In conclusion, a good rule of thumb is to brush long hair cats daily and to brush short hair cats several times per week. There is no concrete answer, but brushing your cat often will keep her happy and healthy.
Does your cat’s fur get tangled while you’re away? Our pet sitters can make brushing a part of the daily routine when visiting your cat. Give us a call to find out what out pet sitters can do for you!
Candace Elise Hoes is a pet sitter and blogger at Katie’s Kitty. She is a graduate of the MFA Writing Program at California College of the Arts.
photo by S ‘Lucy Sky’ Diamond-Jones on flickr