Coat care: Combing and brushing your cat once a week is an excellent habit as it helps reduce the incidence of hairballs. Place your cat on any comfortable surface. Use a fine-toothed comb on short-haired cats and a wide-toothed comb on cats with long hair. Stroke gently and evenly from the head towards the tail. Finish with brushing – always working in the direction the cat’s coat grows.
Dental care: Dental disease can cause sore, swollen gums and loss of teeth. But even more serious, it can allow the bacteria in your cat’s mouth to gain access to the body, which may lead to infections of major organs. Your veterinarian will show you the proper way to brush your cat’s teeth.
Proper dental care should begin when your cat is a kitten. Maintain your cat’s oral hygiene with a weekly tooth brushing with a cat toothpaste. Finger brushes are also available. They fit over your forefinger to make it easy work with your cat – and this is probably the best way to clean a cat’s teeth. Any time you put your fingers in a cat’s mouth, be careful not to get bitten. Always work with your cat from above and behind, to maintain control over your restless patient. Remember, you are going to begin regular tooth-brushing, it is best and very wise to start when your cat is kitten. You can also use dental chews to keep his teeth clean.
Time to call a vet: Cats tend to be fastidiously neat and your cat will clean and groom himself. But, if he begins to neglect his appearance, chances are that there is something physically wrong. Consult your vet immediately.
(Joan Henderson is based in Australia and she has judged furry felines in many other countries including USA, Bermuda, Malaysia, South Africa, Hong Kong, Philippines and New Zealand)