Cats devote a large part of their day to cleaning and conditioning their coat and claws. Estimates range from about 2 to 6 hours a day. This means you should frequently see your cat lapping her fur, washing her face, using a scratching post, and biting her nails.

Most cats are “self-cleaning,” but some may have characteristics that make grooming challenging. Long-hair, polydactyls (extra toes), flat-faced, and hairless cats may require help with personal hygiene even when they are healthy.

As Your Cat’s Caregiver, Keep These Facts in Mind:

  • All cats can benefit from regular grooming sessions and nail trimming at home.
  • Grooming enhances your relationship and will allow you to notice even subtle changes in the condition of your cat’s coat, skin, and nails.
  • Acute illness, increasing age, increasing weight, dental disease, less than ideal nutrition, parasites, infections, and chronic illnesses can all contribute to a loss of the well-groomed appearance we expect of our cats.
  • If you see changes in your cat’s grooming practices or your cat appears unkempt or messy, call your veterinarian so they can assess your cat and make sure that she is not ill.
  • Having the proper tools makes grooming easier for you and your cat.

Partner with your veterinarian to help keep your cat looking and feeling terrific, and make sure you report any changes in grooming behavior to your veterinarian.

Contributed by Dr. Debra Givin, DVM