Grooming Essentials: Maintaining Your Cat's Coat and Hygiene


Ru Chen

- Updated March 27, 2024

Key Takeaways

  • Be patient as you set up routine grooming sessions
  • Use proper cat-friendly products that suit your cat’s coat and needs
  • Give treats and toys as positive reinforcement during grooming
Grooming Essentials: Maintaining Your Cat's Coat and Hygiene

Grooming is a vital part of any cat’s health. It ensures clean ears, a sleek coat, and better mental health for cats. Even though cats naturally groom themselves, giving them a helping hand minimizes the risk of infections and parasites, reduces shedding, and improves overall health.

In this guide, we will go over the essentials for maintaining your cat’s coat and other grooming tips.


Understanding Your Cat's Coat

Cat coats come in all sorts of shades, types, and lengths. Your cat’s coat affects their grooming needs. Let’s over different feline coats.

Long hair cats

Long-haired cats have majestic manes and flowing hair. Popular long-haired cats include Ragdoll cats and Persian cats. It’s important to follow grooming guidelines for long-haired cats so you can avoid mats and tangles.

  • Brush long-haired cats every day
  • Use a slicker brush with long teeth
  • Comb gently to avoid causing pain
  • Start from the top and patiently brush down to the undercoat
  • Don’t tug on tangled hair
  • Trim mat-prone areas
  • Consult a vet for breed-specific advice

Short hair cats

Typically, a short-haired cat doesn’t grow fur over 1.5 inches long. They have lower chances of coughing up furballs than cats with longer hair. Popular breeds include the British Shorthair, the Siamese, and the Bengal cat. While short-haired cats require relatively less brushing, they still require grooming like any other cat.

Curly hair cats

Just like humans, cats can have curly hair. Popular curly-haired cats include the Selkirk rex, LaPerm, and Cornish rex cats. Grooming the curly hair of a cat can be tricky since you don’t want to disrupt the cat’s naturally curly hair or hurt the cat’s coat. Here are some useful tips to follow when grooming a cat with curly hair.

  • Use a grooming mitt or soft brush
  • Brush gently to avoid disrupting the curly hair pattern
  • Avoid pulling on matted fur, knots, or tangles
  • Seek a vet or professional cat groomer’s services if there is severe matting

Hairless cats

Hairless cat breeds, like Sphynx cats and Peterbald cats, don’t have the same furry coat as other cats. Instead, most of these cat breeds have a faintly visible fuzz over their skin, making them look hairless.

Hairless cats often have oily skin and can accumulate dirt and grime easily. This makes them more prone to skin conditions and infections, so it’s important to keep their skin clean. Make sure to give hairless cats gentle baths using the right cat-friendly shampoo.

Double coat cats

Some cats have double coats on top of their regular hair type, such as Maine Coon cats, Persian cats, and Manx cats. A cat with a double coat requires more grooming since the hair gets easily knotted and tangled.

  • Groom double-coated cats frequently
  • At least twice a week, use a strong, thorough brush suitable for double coats
  • Every day, use a smaller brush to prevent tangles from building up

Tools and Supplies for Grooming

Having the proper supplies for cat grooming ensures a smooth and safe grooming process for your cat. Here are the main tools and supplies you should consider for maintaining your cat’s coat and hygiene.


Bristle brush: A bristle brush is the most popular grooming brush for cats. It’s a great way to keep the coats of short-haired cats clean and healthy. Once you’ve dealt with the top coat of a long-haired cat using a moulting comb, a bristle brush can also be effective at maintaining long hair.

Slicker brush: These brushes are ideal for cats with medium and long fur. The thin teeth of these curved brushes allow cat owners to more easily remove dander and loose hair from their cats.

Moulting comb: These combs are meant to control the clumps of hair that often get stuck in the coats of long-haired cats. Moulting combs help prevent matting and tangles.

Rubber glove brush: Rubber glove brushes are often preferred by cats who dislike regular brushes. Grooming your cat while stroking their fur with the rubber glove can feel more comfortable.

Flea comb: This is a specialized type of comb meant for eliminating fleas, debris, and pest eggs when brushing your cat’s hair. A veterinarian may recommend you use a flea comb along with other products as necessary.

Hair trimmers

Trimming your cat’s hair can help them avoid hair mats and knots, especially around sensitive areas. There are electric trimmers and manual trimmers for cat grooming needs. Make sure to choose a high-quality trimmer if you do plan on trimming your cat’s hair. Trim patiently and steadily to avoid damaging your cat’s coat or hurting their skin.

Nail clippers

Scratching is a natural behavior for cats, but sometimes cats have sharp or jagged nails that might need trimming. Nail clippers can be a useful way to reduce painful and destructive scratching in cats.

Remember to never declaw a cat, since this is not a proper way to deal with a cat’s nails. Declawing is painful torture for a cat.

Toothbrush and toothpaste

Cats are susceptible to dental disease, which can cause serious health issues not just isolated in the mouth. Frequent tooth brushing helps prevent buildup of plaque and tartar. Make sure you purchase cat-friendly toothpaste, toothbrushes, and other dental products. Some cat owners like to enhance the dental routine by using finger brushes and gauze pads to get rid of food particles stuck in between the cat’s teeth.

It’s also recommended to get a professional dental check-up and cleaning once a year. See the vet more often if your cat has dental issues or if you have a purebred cat who is susceptible to breed-specific dental conditions.

Shampoo and conditioner

Even though cats groom themselves by licking their fur, it’s still important to give them the occasional bath. Make sure to use cat-friendly shampoo and conditioner, since human hair products can lead to skin irritation and infections in cats.

Ear cleaners

Cats, particularly ones who roam outdoors, can get excessive ear wax built up in their ears. A natural, cat-friendly ear cleaner can help ensure your cat maintains clean and healthy ears. Some breeds, such as the Persian and Himalayan cats, are more prone to ear infections, which makes proper ear cleaning even more critical.


Establishing a Grooming Routine

Regular grooming sessions are vital for maintaining the coat health of your feline companion. Make sure you know the ideal way to brush the coat of your cat’s breed and coat type.

Here are some strategies to use for establishing a cat grooming routine.

1. Assess your cat’s grooming needs

Look at your cat’s coat to determine how often you should brush their fur and what brush types are optimal. Typically, a cat with long hair needs more frequent brushing.

2. Create a schedule

To establish a grooming routine, it’s important to brush your cat’s hair at the same time consistently. This means you need to first figure out when you are free to groom your cat.

3. Prepare your supplies

Purchase suitable grooming supplies for your cat, including brushes and other cat hygiene products.

4. Start slowly

Setting a grooming routine for your cat can take a while. Start slowly by giving your cat relatively shorter grooming sessions until they get used to it. Increase the duration of the grooming session once your cat is more comfortable when being groomed.

5. Monitor your cat’s reaction

Throughout the grooming process, it’s important to be vigilant of your cat’s reactions. Gauge the level of stress, fear, and aggression in your cat as you brush their coat. While some cats enjoy being groomed, others may react aggressively.

6. Make adjustments as necessary

Adjust your grooming session to better align with your cat’s comfort levels and needs. Modify your approach and supplies according to your cat’s reactions.

7. End with a treat

Cats work well with positive reinforcements. After a grooming session, you can give your cat a treat, playtime, praise, or other reward. Helping your cat create a positive association about being groomed can facilitate future grooming sessions.

Techniques for Grooming Your Cat

Brushing and combing techniques for different coat types

Different feline coats have differing needs. Here are the main techniques that can be useful for each type of cat coat.

Short-haired cats: When brushing a short-haired cat, use long and gentle strokes. Follow the direction of hair growth and consider using a grooming mitt or soft brush.

Long-haired cats: A moulting comb and/or slicker brush can deal with the excessive shedding of long-haired cats. Follow this up with a bristle brush to deal with the remaining tangles. Be gentle to avoid hurting the cat when combing through knots and matted fur.

Double-coated cats: A slicker brush can help you deftly manage the thick fur and coats of double-coated cats. Be patient and gentle as you remove tangled hair, and brush every day to prevent knots from arising.

Curly or wavy coat: The unique texture of a curly-haired cat is appealing but can be difficult to maintain. When using a soft brush or mitt for wavy cat coats, be careful to not disrupt the cat’s natural curl pattern.

Hairless cats: Hairless cat breeds still need adequate grooming despite having minimal hair. Clean their ears, give them baths at least once a week, and remember to use cat-friendly shampoo plus warm water.

Bathing tips for cats

Many cats hate water. When bathing your cat, here are some tips to keep in mind.

  • Hold your cat gently as you lower them into the bath
  • Use lukewarm water
  • Offer plenty of treats before, during, and after the bath to provide positive reinforcement

Cat ear care tips

Cat ears can get infected as dirt and earwax build up. Use cotton gauze pads, a few drops of cat-friendly ear cleaning, and a blanket to wrap around your cat as necessary. Do not use Q-tips since incorrect use can cause eardrum damage.

Dental care techniques

Periodontal and dental diseases can cause serious health issues in cats and lower their quality of life. Here are some useful tips.

  • Take your cat to the vet for a dental checkup and cleaning at least once a year
  • Brush at least twice weekly, though daily is often ideal
  • Use cat-friendly dental rinses to slow progression of disease

Handling Common Grooming Challenges

Matting and tangles in long-haired cats

Regular brushing makes it easier for cat owners to prevent mats and tangles in their long-haired cats. A slicker brush is often the best brush for handling tangles in thick, dense fur. Watch out in particular for matting behind the ears, under the legs, and around the tail. Sensitive areas, such as the paws, require extra care and patience.

Still having trouble? Cat detangling spray can be a good product for extra stubborn mats. You might also want to find a professional cat groomer or a vet. Some pet owners find it effective to use a hair trimmer to deal with unruly hair that makes it challenging to groom cats.

Shedding and hairballs

  • Brush your cat regularly, every day if possible
  • Set up a designated spot for your cat to shed
  • Reduce your cat’s stress levels
  • Give your cat a healthy diet
  • Head to the vet for individualized advice

Introducing Your Cat to Grooming

It’s important to gradually acclimate your cat to grooming. Build a sense of trust and comfort by giving your cat treats, toys, and other favorites. Rewarding them through positive reinforcement helps them get accustomed to grooming more easily. Make sure you pay close attention to your cat’s reactions to avoid escalating the situation or worsening their stress.

Help your cat feel relaxed and safe by ensuring their grooming area is safe and offering them plenty of treats throughout the process. If your cat is nervous or hates being groomed, be ready to take a break and resume a grooming session later.

Importance of Pet Insurance for Cat Grooming Needs

Pet insurance helps cat owners cover veterinary expenses, reducing the expensive upfront costs that can come with pet care. If you suspect your cat has a health issue, pet insurance can help you diagnose your cat with less financial burden.

Grooming costs are not usually covered by the standard pet insurance policy. However, many pet insurance companies do offer wellness plans that cover routine expenses, including grooming expenses.

Top pet insurance providers that offer options for pet grooming and/or dental cleanings include:

  • Wagmo (offers coverage for grooming)
  • Embrace (offers coverage for grooming)
  • Lemonade (offers coverage for dental)


A well-groomed cat tends to be happier, healthier, and more comfortable in their own fur. Dedicate time and resources to giving your cat routine grooming sessions that fit the needs of their breed. Here are the main tips to keep in mind.

  • Be gentle and patient
  • Use the right type of brush for your cat’s coat type
  • Brush teeth regularly
  • Give baths once a month using cat-friendly products
  • Go to the vet for personalized guidance
  • Prioritize grooming in your pet care routine as an essential.

About The Author

Ru Chen

Ru Chen

Content Writer

Ru Chen is a content writer with several years of experience in creating engaging and well-researched articles. She mostly writes about insurance, business, digital marketing, and law. In her free time, she can be found watching horror movies and playing board games with her partner in Brooklyn.

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