Winter grooming that works MAGIC!

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Garima Singhal
Keeping the grooming momentum of summer going into winter months can be a bit challenging, but look at this as something fun to do with your furry baby. It is absolutely essential for keeping up the well being of your kitty and making those snuggle sessions under the blankets a snooze fest.
 
Winter is a great time of the year. You can stay curled up in your blanket and drink hot cups of cider or tea in front of your fireplace/heater. Perfect season to snooze! But as the weather changes, you’ll see your skin and hair care needs also change. The same holds true for your cats as well.
 
Care for coat
Indoor cats will get a thicker coat during winters. Cats tend to shed more in spring than in fall. In spring they’re getting rid of their winter coat, and in fall, as the weather starts to be colder, they’re shedding to make room for a new winter coat. This means that during winter, your cat’s fur will likely be thicker to guard against the chill. For some cats, this means they may not do quite as good a job of cleaning themselves because there’s just so much more to get to. You’ll want to brush your cat more frequently while she’s shedding and sporting a thicker winter coat. Regular brushing will prevent tangling and matting of their fur.
 
Don’t use a super soft brush: They do nothing but make the topcoat look super nice. Choose a brush which reaches down to the skin where mats begin to form. Start combing when the hair is still short and at an early age so that the kitten is acclimatised to a comb touching their skin. Most of the time, cats begin to enjoy home grooming because it is the time for bonding, love and affection.
 
Static electricity: It is produced when an object with a positive charge rubs up against an object with a negative charge. The reaction actually causes the two objects to end up with the same charge, which means they repel each other. That explains why your cat’s fur will sometimes stand on end when they rub up against you, the furniture or anything around the house. Static is quite painful for your pet.
 
You can help to avoid static by: i) Vigorously rubbing her with plastic combs and brushes; ii) Use plastic combs. Make sure you first touch the comb to a plastic surface before bringing it in contact with your pet; iii) A mild soap bath will help; iv) After shampoo, a light mist of Argan oil will also help reduce static; v) Spray fur lightly with water before brushing. Water reduces static; and vi) Use an ion reducing dryer. Keep your home at correct level of humidity during the winter months as too much dryness will cause static for humans and pets.
 
Clipping matted fur
If it’s too late and your cat has matted fur, you’ll need to clip it – but be careful! Your cat’s sensitive so she may make sudden movements when her fur is tugged. Mats can also be really painful. Make sure you only use pet clippers designed for sensitive areas and never use scissors. A cat’s skin can be really thin and you don’t want to risk cutting her skin while trying to get out a mat. It is recommended that you take your pet to a grooming salon and get professional help.
 
Painful joints
This is a problem particularly seen in old and arthritic cats. When it is cold outside and temperatures drop, the joint or bone issues might crop up. When these flare ups happen, you have to be extra gentle with your pet. Be careful while lifting them.
If you have to bundle her up in a towel in order to trim her matted fur or nails, try warming the towel a little using a hair dryer or an iron. Make sure it isn’t too hot. Remember, not all cats like grooming, and some don’t like to be groomed at all at home. So don’t feel guilty if you have to take them to a professional groomer or to a vet, who might need to cut off a part of their fur that has severely matted and cannot be dealt with otherwise. If your cat is neglecting their fur, get them checked by a vet, as this might indicate an underlying health issue. If you cannot manage your cat’s grooming needs at home, don’t worry. Taking them to a salon is the best thing you can do. And then of course there are always those winter cuddles that work magic.
 
(Garima Singhal is a behaviourist, neurobiologist, school teacher and a long-term pet parent of her pooch Dobie).