Cats are known for being fastidiously clean. Fluffy will take time out of her busy napping schedule every day to keep her coat soft, clean, and shiny. However, that will get progressively harder as she gets older. Senior kitties often tend to be stiff and sore, and sometimes can’t bend and stretch enough to reach their entire bodies. At that point, your furry friend will need a bit of help with her beauty regimen. Here, a Yorkville, IL vet offers some advice on keeping an older kitty clean.
The best thing you can do for your feline pal is brush her regularly. This isn’t just important for aesthetics. If Fluffy’s coat is tangled, matted, greasy, and/or dirty, it won’t be very comfortable, and it won’t be as effective at keeping her warm or cool. Unkempt coats also increase the risk of skin problems.
Senior kitties have very delicate skin, which can rip and tear quite easily. Be extremely careful. Kitties with long hair are particularly prone to getting mats and tangles. If you come across mats, try a detangling brush. If that doesn’t work, you may need to clip it out. Use round-end scissors, and be very gentle.
You don’t have to bathe your furry buddy, though you can if you want to. Be very gentle picking Fluffy up and putting her down! Use only a few inches of lukewarm water, and a shampoo or conditioner made specifically for cats. Human products are too strong for kitties, and can strip the oils from their fur, leaving them looking dry and even a bit frizzy. If you do bathe Fluffy, don’t let her get chilly as she’s drying off. If your cat doesn’t mind, you can use a blow dryer on a low/warm setting. Just don’t force the issue.
This is one area where you want to work with your feline buddy, rather than against her. Work lots of cuddles, pets, and compliments into Fluffy’s beauty sessions, so she realizes she’s being cared for. When you’re done, offer her a special treat or even some catnip.
Take the time to check Fluffy over. Look for anything out of the ordinary, such as bumps, bruises, swelling, lesions, and soreness. Call your vet right away if you notice anything that seems off.
Do you have questions about your senior cat’s health or care? Contact us, your Yorkville, IL animal clinic, anytime.