The consistency of your cat’s fur changes throughout the year. Even if you have a strictly indoor cat, you may notice that Kitty’s fur is thicker in the winter months than it is during the summer. The density of the fur seems to be correlated to the amount of available daylight--and not to the temperature. For this reason, your indoor fur baby may need a bit of help during the cold months when the light is low and her fur is at its thickest.
You may notice that cats spend much of their time awake grooming themselves. By nature, felines tend to be fastidiously clean. Grooming not only removes loose hair but distributes their natural oils evenly across their skin and fur coat. However, when the coat is dense and at its winter thickness, all their grooming does not always suffice.
The amount of help with grooming will depend upon Kitty’s natural hair length and her age. Of course, long-haired felines will have a harder time keeping up with it, as will cats that are older. Older cats may not have the mobility they once had—or even the desire to groom. This could be due to arthritis or even weight issues.
Winter Brushing: Regular brushing and monitoring your cat’s winter coat will contribute to keeping their fur silky and prevent the buildup of mats, which happen when fur clumps together and grows into increasingly harder to comb out sections. You can prevent this with regular brushing. If you see the beginnings of a mat, you can slowly and carefully comb it out with a flea comb. If you didn’t get Kitty used to regular brushing as a kitten, you may have to start slowly. She will let you know when enough is enough. Flicking the tail, lowering the ears, and vocalizations may mean that we have had enough for now!
There are many different brushes available, and depending upon the thickness of the coat, you will find the best brush for the job. Often, Kitty will make that decision by showing definite preferences for one brush over another. If you are unsure where to start, your vet will surely offer suggestions. Regular brushing should become a pleasant part of Kitty’s day. Also, you get the opportunity to thank her by following up with a treat.
Shedding Season: Even though your cat will shed throughout the year, their shedding is most noticeable during spring and fall. In the spring, they will shed much of that heavy winter coat. In the fall, they will again bulk up for the cold, low light months ahead. During both of these seasons, you can help make it easier for them by brushing more frequently. Brushing will help them remove the thicker winter fur in the spring, and it will help their coat to come in thick and plentiful during the fall.
Keeping the Coat Healthy: While you are brushing, you should check to make sure that Kitty’s hair and skin is thriving. Her skin should be clear without flakes or scabs, or heaven forbid, fleas! You can check her skin for any allergic reactions or for any sores. She might rub up against something and get a small scratch. You can make sure it heals and disappears promptly. Finally, her coat should feel silky, clean, and free of mats.
As you know, shedding is healthy but keep an eye on the consistency of her fur. If there is too much shedding, or if you think she is losing fur, you should see the vet. While you are brushing her, always remember to use this time for bonding and relaxing together.
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