CAT'S CORNER

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Grooming Your Cat

A clean, shiny coat is a sign that your cat is in good health and is eating nutritious food. By grooming your cat, you can encourage growth and shine in the hair.

Cats are naturally clean animals, so your cat may not need you to groom her very much, particularly if she has short hair. Long-haired cats, on the other hand, need to be groomed more regularly, usually once a day. Try to get your cat used to -- and comfortable with -- grooming when she's a kitten so that grooming her when she's an adult will be much easier.

If your cat is used to being groomed, you will both enjoy this time together. Most cats purr when they're brushed, because it feels like they're being patted. If your cat or kitten is initially nervous, try spending some time playing with her so she gets used to being touched and handled. Allow her to play with the comb or brush, so she gets used to it and loses her anxiety.

Groom all the dead hair out of your cat's coat, using a comb or soft bristle brush. Be particularly gentle when you're combing her head, then groom down her body, tail and legs. Finally, go back over her coat with the brush to remove all loose hairs.

The hair of long-haired cats and kittens can easily become matted. Once that happens, the tangled hair has to be removed before you can groom the cat properly -- and unfortunately, this may involve sedating the cat and having the hair clipped by a professional cat groomer or your vet. Be sure to seek expert advice if your cat's hair becomes matted. If your cat is dirty, wipe her down with a clean, damp cloth, but don't use soap.

While you groom your cat, take the time to check her skin for lumps, rashes, discharges or any other signs that she's not well. If you find any problems, talk to your vet.

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