Ideally cats should be introduced to grooming while they are kittens, so they get used to being held and brushed. If you have adopted an older cat who is not used to being groomed, you might have a challenge on your hands at first. But just go slow and work through it. The best way to introduce your new cat to grooming is to start slowly, win your cat’s trust, and work on building a strong bond between you and your new furry friend.
Getting to Know Your Cat
During your cat’s first few days in your home, gently help it get used to being touched and held. Always approach slowly and avoid making sudden movements that may startle your cat. If a new cat is unsure of you, try encouraging it to come close to you using a treat.
Once the cat is used to being handled, you are ready for your first grooming session. Place a towel or blanket onto the surface where you will place the cat during grooming, so the cat can grip onto it. Cats like to feel secure, and being able to latch their claws into something helps. Holding the cat on your lap during a grooming session is a good way to bond, but you can also groom the cat while it is lying on a table or other surface. Check out our post on How to Groom a Persian Cat - most of the tips there apply to grooming other breeds of cats as well.
Getting Your Cat to Enjoy Grooming
Begin gently brushing your cat’s fur in the direction of growth. It’s important to make this a pleasant experience for your cat. If you encounter any knots, work them out very gently with your fingers or a comb. Be very careful not to pull the hair, because that tugs at the cat’s skin, and causes discomfort and even pain. Cats are smart creatures, and they don’t like pain anymore than the rest of us. A painful experience will make it more difficult to convince him to go along with it in future.
If your cat seems unsure or is reluctant to stay on your lap, giving a treat or two may help to build this positive association. If the problem is simply that your cat has too much energy to sit still, try scheduling a grooming session after the cat has been exploring outside or playing, so that some of that excess energy has been burned off, or after a meal.
Having Trouble Grooming?
Avoid struggling with your cat or forcing it to accept grooming, because this will damage the bond between you and your feline friend. If you aren’t able to convince your cat to accept grooming, either work with a trainer, or use the services of a professional pet groomer. This can be a good way to introduce your new cat to grooming. Professional groomers have tried-and-tested methods to help your cat relax and learn to enjoy grooming. Mobile groomers experienced with cats are an especially great solution, because they eliminate the need to transport your kitty in the car, which most cats find to be a traumatic experience. If you take your cat into a groom shop, look for one that has “cat-only” days, so that your kitty can avoid the distress of being locked in a crate surrounded by barking dogs all day. Grooming doesn’t have to be difficult or traumatic for cats, and it is necessary for their health and hygiene.