Our cat Samantha is our first long-haired cat, and only our third to live past the age of 15. Senior cats can bring challenges; though I don’t remember my first senior, Concha, having the same issues as our cat Conrad did and now Samantha does. One of the differences might be that Concha was an outdoor cat (it was many years ago we had her). Conrad started out as an outdoor cat but once we learned how much safer it is for them to be indoors, we kept him in. One of the issues both Conrad and Sam had/have is with using the litter box. However, I also remember other cats having that issue that were outdoor cats.
But what I wanted to write about today is grooming. Conrad stopped grooming himself at one point, and he ended up with a lot of mats that we just couldn’t get out. We tried to brush him, but he would not put up with it and he’d bite us. He was kind of a mess at the end, and I’m doing my best to not let Samantha get that way as well. She doesn’t seem to be grooming herself as much anymore either, or at least not enough to keep those darn mats away. Her long hair complicates that I’m sure. As I’m working on this, I’m learning things along the way.
- Have the right tools, and don’t be afraid to have more than one! The V-rake on the far left is great for pulling mats out, and really works best for that. But Sam doesn’t like it much, so we have to use it in moderation. There are other tools for de-matting but so far I’ve liked this one best. The green one, the Furbliss* (read our full review here) is great for smoothing out her fur and she enjoys that one more since it’s gentle. The slicker brush is also good at smoothing out the fur, and can be used to tease the mats away from the skin. They make self-cleaning ones as well, which make life easier. Then if I need to, I can use the round point scissors to very carefully cut them off.
- Be consistent! I’ve never been good about that, but I am trying to do better. Brushing Sam daily can go a long way towards keeping those mats away, though some still seem to show up when I’m doing well. But they’re easier to get out before they get larger!
- Keep your cat comfortable. Sam doesn’t really like to be brushed, she doesn’t want to stand still for it, and she will sometimes bite at the brush (unlike Conrad, who would bite ME). So I try to keep her sessions short, and I do it either before I feed her, or I give her treats afterwards. I’m always telling her….”just let me get one more mat, and then you get your supper”! 🙂
Does your senior cat enjoy being brushed? What’s your favorite tool?
Sam is one of the happiest senior cats we know … you must be doing a lot right!
I’m not sure it’s me…I think she’s just a good girl. ♥
Ellen Pilch says
I highly recommend the furminator for long-haired cats. I got one from Chewy and it works wonders on Emmy.
I have one around here somewhere I think, I’ll have to give it a try with Sam. I think I only ever used it on the dogs.
M. K. Clinton says
All of my cats loved being brushed. It is so good for them. ♥
I need to learn to start them with it younger too. Since I always had short-haired cats I just never thought of it!
The Island Cats says
Zoey is our long-haired beauty here. Fortunately, she likes being brushed…at least for a little while.
Often, we have to take what we can get! 🙂
Shadow's and Ducky's Mom says
Not having a cat, I can’t say much except that it sounds like you’ve got things pretty well managed. But I know you what’s it like with long-haired dogs, too. Shadow had a horrendous mat behind her left ear that I had to work on in stages. But I finally used about 4 or 5 squirts of Lambert Kay’s Detangler spray, my fingers, and the slicker brush and finally got it all out with minimal complaints. And I keep checking to be sure it doesn’t return.
Oh yes. Sheba was the worst with the mats, and she didn’t always like being brushed either, especially if I was trying to get a mat out. She’d put up with it for a bit….but usually only one side at a time. LOL. She’d never flip over for me, she’d just get up and leave!
Monika & Sam 🐾 says
Eating super after a quick groom session seems like a good reward. Keep up the good work, Sam.
Cats do appreciate their rewards almost as much as dogs! 🙂
Soth has never really liked being brushed, either, but he will come running if I get out the furminator for the dogs, so I will give him a few swipes with that when I’m doing the dogs 🙂 Otherwise, I’m like you and have to really make myself think about grooming him!
I think if they’re prone to hairballs, you think of it more. Sam has some spells with those, but even with her long fur doesn’t get them too often.
sand spring chesapeakes says
Great post! I really like using a metal wide tooth comb on short haired cats, it really gets the dead hair out. It is nice to have different tools as they all work differently and get the job done.
I don’t think I’ve ever tried the comb on Sam, I do have one of those. I might try it and see if it works for long-haired cats too.
Roby Sweet says
I’m not very good about being consistent with grooming our cats either, but fortunately they both enjoy it and they groom each other too. 🙂
Now that’s a great reason to have multiple cats!!
Sam you are always beautiful… we are not really fans of brushing… the most important “tool” is the treat bag LOL
Ha ha, yes, Luke is the same way. He’ll let me brush him, but only if treats are involved (good thing you short-haired dogs are easier!).
Just as human hair changes with age, kitty furs change too. They seem to need more care as they get older.
I never thought of it that way, I think you are probably right. It may not be quite so much that they stop grooming but just that their fur makes it more difficult.
Brian Frum says
Sam is such a sweetie and we know she is so happy to be so well cared for each and every day.