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Clean Cats, Happy Cats

Kittens are naturally clean animals, first learning from their mother how to keep themselves clean, then, after six weeks, taking care of grooming on their own. Though cats are mostly self-sufficient when it comes to hygiene, their human companions play an important role in staying clean and healthy.

How cats groom themselves
The role humans play in cat grooming
Litter box cleanliness
Feeding and sleeping area

How cats groom themselves
Cats take grooming and hygiene very seriously, devoting more than three and a half hours a day to what appears to be just a cute, amusing activity. Your cat will often stretch and twist himself into some pretty unusual positions to get clean. While they're grooming, their rough tongue stimulates secretion from the sebaceous glands, so the coat becomes covered with a layer that protects them from water. When your cat can't reach a spot, he'll lick his paws and use them like brushes.

The role humans play in cat grooming
Generally, cats do their grooming alone. Sometimes, however, they like a little help. Humans can participate by combing their coat with a fine comb and brush. Long-haired cats need daily grooming to help prevent tangles and hairballs. What's more, cats enjoy the sensation of being groomed, an activity that's sure to bond you ever more closely to your furry friend.

The eyes and ears of a cat are very delicate. You can occasionally wipe away the "sleep" from the corners of the eyes, with a moist cloth, but leave the ears to your vet.

Litter box cleanliness
Make sure your cat's litter box always has enough litter in it. Remove the soiled litter immediately if possible, and change the litter completely at least once a week. Wash the box thoroughly with water and some dishwashing liquid.

As cats naturally look for a quiet place to urinate and defecate, they prefer a quiet area of the house where they can use their litter box in private. It shouldn't be near their feeding dishes.

Feeding and sleeping area
Cats pay a lot of attention to the cleanliness of their feeding dishes and area. If a cat feels her dish isn't clean enough, she may refuse to eat. That means you should rinse the dishes with water regularly.

As for your cat's sleeping area, this is something she'll probably choose herself. She will be content with a draft-free, quiet, warm and cozy place. All you need to do is shake the cushions out every now and then, and wash them once in a while.

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