Grooming your cat

      Grooming a longhaired cat should be a daily task as simple as running your hands over the cat's coat. If the kitten is groomed from a young age, he/she will enjoy it and there will never be any need to pull on a matt and cause pain. 

      If you plan to show the cat, a few days before the show, you can give your cat a warm bran bath if the cat's coat is dirty, but normally for a light coloured cat all you should need to do is sprinkle talcum powder through the coat, rub through, and then thoroughly brush it out. With a comb, work down the cat from its head to its tail. As you comb, look for black specks - a sign of fleas. If you suspect your cat has fleas, contact your vet or pet shop for a suitable treatment.

      Gently remove any deposits in the corner of the cats eyes with a moist tissue and clean the ears with a cotton bud moistened with baby oil. Do not poke the cotton bud in the ear canal, simply remove any dirt from the inside of the ear flap itself. 

Bran Baths

      A bran bath is useful for removing all traces of grease and dirt from the coat of a cat, but do it about five days before a show. Put 100g of bran - the type used for feeding horses - on a tray in a warm oven. When the bran is warm but not hot, stand the cat (held by an assistant) on a firm table and rub it onto the coat against the growth, on its back, belly and tail. Leave the bran on for as long as possible then brush it all out. 

Washing Your Cat

     Sometimes if may be necessary to bath your cat. Do not do this too often with a Norwegian Forest Cat as the coat is meant to have natural water-resistant oils and detergent can wash this away, so that the coat will be dry and matt badly. 

     The kitchen sink is probably the best place to carry out this exercise; baths are too large and the cat can become frightened, and basins are too shallow. Unless your cat is accustomed to being bathed, it is advisable to have a friend help you. Preferably, place a rubber mat or something to prevent the cat's paws from slipping. Also wear a long-sleeved coat or sleeve protectors in case the cat panics and scratches you. 

  • Fill the sink 1/3 full with warm water. Check the temperature with your elbow, similar to testing a baby's bath.

  • Talking softly to the cat, lower him or her gently and calmly into the water.

  • Using a plastic jug or cup, wet the cat's fur.

  • Apply a small amount of baby shampoo or one which has been designed for cats. Gently rub through the coat and rinse thoroughly.

  • Apply a very small amount of a good quality hair conditioner, but avoid those with too much perfume in case this causes an allergic reaction . This will help to prevent the coat becoming too fly-away fluffy after washing. Thoroughly rinse the conditioner out of the cat's coat.

  • Remove the cat from the water and wrap him/her in a warm towel and rub well.

  • It is not necessary to use a hair dryer if the cat is frightened of it. It can be towel dried in front of a heater or in a warm patch of sunlight. However, be sure to get the cat dry as quickly as possible and avoid him/her getting chilled.

  • Brush a cat's coat in the direction that the fur lies to keep a sleeker appearance.

  • When the coat is almost completely dry, you can 'fluff it up' a little, especially around the mane and frontal ruff area, the britches and the lavish tail.

Trimming Claws

     If in any doubt as to how to trim a cat's claws, let your veterinarian show you how, or let him clip them himself. 

     Use either very sharp scissors, human toe-nail clippers or veterinary "guillotine - type"  claw clippers.  Hold the cat firmly in your lap and gently press the pad of its paw with your fingers to make the claws extend.  Examine the nail carefully.  The main part includes the pinkish-coloured quick containing the nerves and blood vessels. You must NOT cut this.  The white tips are dead tissue and can be cut, but not closer than 2mm to the quick. 

What About De-clawing My Cat? 

     In three simple words:    DON'T DO IT!    Just imagine having your finger nails pulled out.   Well, declawing amounts to the same thing.   If you don't want the cat to scratch your furniture, get a scratching post and patiently train your cat to use it, or buy a dog instead. 

In Australia, it is also ILLEGAL.

     Cats scratch - that's a fact of life, and they're just doing what comes naturally. De-clawing is an inhumane and cruel treatment and almost all veterinarians nowadays refuse to perform the operation.

Loraine Smith


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