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Maine Coon Cat Matted Fur: How to get rid of it

If you have a Maine Coon cat and noticed some matted fur, you may be looking for some simple solutions to get rid of it…

Can I get rid of my Maine coons matted fur? Yes, you can get rid of your Maine Coon’s matted fur. However, there are some simple techniques you can use to avoid making life hard for yourself. 

Now that you understand that it is possible to get rid of the matted fur, let me share with you some actionable tips to get rid of them, explain what actually causes them, how to prevent them coming back and much more…

What causes my Maine coon’s matted fur?

The matted fur (sometimes looks separated) is typically located around areas on your cat’s body that cause a lot of movement. Therefore, you may find it underneath her tail, under her chest or even around her legs, because these areas create a lot of movement.

Shedding

Shedding is another known cause of matted fur. This typically happens when the loose fur falls onto your cat and stays there, over time, if this is left unattended, it becomes thicker and harder to get rid of, which then escalate into matted fur.

Unable to groom himself.

If your cat is feeling sick, overweight or feeling pain when grooming, you may find that she will stop grooming. In time her fur will become neglected and matted.

The matted fur will eventually get worse. With time and further neglect, it can become unmanageable.

Typical reasons for this include:

  • Obesity
  • Arthritis
  • Dental problems

Why you mustn’t get her fur wet (When it’s matted).

must not get your cats matted fur-wet

must not get your cats matted fur-wet

Some cat owners decide what they want to take matters into their own hands by trying to wet their cat’s fur, in an attempt to get rid of the matting.

I can tell you from now, this is not a good idea. The reason I say this is because the water can actually tighten up the tangled fur. This will make it even harder to get rid of the problem.

Therefore, your efforts to get rid of a problem becomes harder. Often, cat groomers will suggest using detanglers or anti-static spray, to get rid of the mess.

One of the mistakes cat owners make, to cut corners, is reuse cosmetic products made for humans, such as detanglers, to save money. It may sound like a good idea, from a financial perspective, but, It’s not a good idea for your cat, are you with me?

Why? Because cat-specific products have been specially formulated for cats for a reason. They have different requirements to use, for example, different ph levels.

Why is matted fur so bad?

You may be wondering to yourself what’s so bad about the matted fur in your cat and can you not just leave it as it is.

Apart from the obvious reasons that it looks bad and I’ll give me an I saw there are some genuine reasons why you want to take action with the matted fur before it becomes uncontrollable.

Skin irritation

When your cat has matted fur, it blocks oxygen and moisture to her skin. Over time her skin will become irritated and dried out. Then she will start to over-compensate by trying to groom these areas more than usual.

This typically ends up with her ingesting excess fur, this can then lead to health-related problems.

Trapped urine and faeces.

On some of these heavily matted areas, such as on the back of your cat’s legs, you may find it starts to trap urine and faeces. Not only does this smell bad, but it can also lead to other health-related problems.

Parasites

Leaving tangled or matted hair for a long duration will increase the chances of attracting parasites.  This obviously causes immense irritation and pain for your cat. And, can also lead to further health problems.

Therefore, as you can see, keeping on top of your cats grooming and avoiding matting is the best way forward.

How to remove your Maine coon’s Matted fur

So far you have learnt exactly what causes matted fur and the dangers of ignoring it. In this section, I will reveal some solutions on how you can get rid of it…

01. Using your fingers.

In the first instance, if you are lucky, you may find that you’ve caught the matted fur in its early stages. Rather than investing in any other solutions, or over-complicating matters, you may get away with simply brushing your fingers through her matted fur, to get rid of it easy.

02. Wide-tooth comb.

If you’ve tried running your fingers through your Maine coon’s fur and it has not made any difference, then you can try using a wide-toothed comb (Click here to see if this great comb is still available, on Amazon).

The best way to use this is to make sure that you grasp the end of the fur closest to the skin. This is to avoid tugging her fur. As you can imagine, tugging at her fur hurts.

Gently get the wide-tooth comb and place it near your fingers and then comb away from your hands to the end of her fur. This will avoid causing any unnecessary pain to your cat.

If you notice that your cat has a particularly thick undercoat, you can actually use an undercoat comb (click here to check availability of this one on Amazon) to deal with this. It is well suited for this particular issue and can save you some time and stress.

03. Using a de-matting comb

These de-matting combs (Click here to see why I selected this) are specifically made for the matting. Therefore, they are ideal, if you have failed with the other two methods.

The unique thing about these combs is, they are designed to cut through the fur as you brush, to get rid of really persistent matting. In fact, they’re often called razor combs for this reason.

Again, while using these combs, hold that base fur, close to her skin, are you with me? This is for the same reasons as discussed earlier.

04. The clippers method

If all else fails, and she still has this unsightly matted fur, it’s time to get the groomers involved. Typically, groomers will end up using some clippers to get rid of the matted fur.

So, it is advised to let the professionals take over. You don’t want to make any unnecessary mistakes with these clippers, trust me.

How can you prevent your Maine coons fur getting matted?

As you may have heard before, prevention better than cure, right? Therefore I’m going to share some techniques to avoid this happening…

01. Running your fingers through her fur

On occasion, you should routinely rub your hands through your cat’s fur. This can easily be done while you are petting her. If you notice any small matted fur, it’s your chance to get in early and sort it. Better to act now before it gets out of hand.

02. Bathing

Another tactic to use in bathing your cat (click here to see if it is really a good idea to bath your cat). It doesn’t necessarily have to be done on a regular basis. But, it’s a good idea on occasion, especially if she gets really messy.

03. Trimming & Brushing your cat’s fur.

On occasion, trimming your cat’s fur will help to keep it maintainable. You should also help your cat by brushing and grooming her fur. Especially with Maine coons because they have such long fur. Its easier for their fur to get out of control.

I understand that cats naturally groom their own fur. But sometimes they need help, this will reduce the chances of matted fur developing.

What if the matting is out of control?

If you have used all of these solutions and you are still finding it hard to deal with your kitties matted fur, then you need to get a professional groomer involved.

It’s not worth taking any risks with your cat and, generally speaking, professional groomers know exactly what to do in these difficult situations.

What is the best brush for a Maine coons hair?

Because Maine coons have long hair, it is important to get a comb which will help them. In particular, ones that are made for shedding.

Reason being, they are typically good for getting rid of really matted or stubborn fur. These brushes tend to have wire bristles.

Related Questions:

In this section, I will answer some questions related to Maine coons and grooming. If you have any extra questions that have not been answered, please feel free to leave a comment below.

Why do Maine coons meow so much?

Your Maine coon meows too much because you haven’t trained her not to. If you respond to her every demand, she effectively clicks her fingers and you do whatever she wants. The result is, she will continue to meow and make noise.

This kind of behaviour similar to a spoilt young toddler. You know, when their mother does everything at their beck and call? In time, she becomes trapped, doing everything her toddler demands, are you with me? The solution is to gradually stop this trend.

Does matted fur hurt your Maine coon?

Yes, matted fur can hurt your Maine coon. Initially, it may not be so much of an issue. But as the matted fur gets tighter and larger, it becomes a big issue. Eventually leading pain and discomfort.

One of the biggest issues as they get larger and cause pressure on your cat’s skin to the point when I find it painful to lie down with the mats on their body. Ideally, prevention is best, this is why other cat owners use cat brushes that are gentle, for those cats that do not love being brushed (Click here to see the best choice).

Does the time of the year make a difference for matted fur?

Yes, the time of year does make a difference. In the winter cats become more susceptible to getting matted fur. This is because in winter time your cat will develop a thicker coat, this is why some cat owners use cat wall brushes to help (Click here to see why I rate this one the best).

This winter coat of fur, which is larger and thicker, will make them more susceptible to picking up large clumps of matted fur.

My Cats Fur Looks Separated (Now What?)

If you have noticed separated fur on your cat, you may be looking for a solution to get rid of it (Click here for my best cat grooming combs to help this) and to understand why it’s happening.

How do I get rid of my cat’s separated fur? The best way to get rid of separated fur is to help your cat by grooming their fur. This is typically done by using a cat comb and it is also a good idea to consider shampooing their fur on occasion.

Later on, in this article, I will give you some advice on how you can groom their fur (Click here to see why I rate this comb so highly), such as de-matting it and other useful techniques.

What does healthy cat fur actually look like?

So by now, you understood how to help to get rid of your cat’s separated fur. But, how do you actually know when you’ve done a good job, and your cat is looking in good shape?

Ideally, your cat’s fur should be shiny and smooth looking. It should have a coarse texture without being brittle, are you with me? It is quite hard to describe this, but once you see it you’ll know what I mean.

As for the skin…

Their skin should be smooth without looking flaky. if you see flaky skin it could be an indication that it could be dandruff or it’s getting dried out. Also, their skin should not be too greasy and without bumps on it. If you can see greasy skin this could be an issue, but more on this later.

How do you get rid of mats in your cat’s fur?

get rid of my cats matted fur

get rid of my cat’s matted fur

If you notice that your cat’s hair is matted then this is a big problem, if you do not get on top of it. This is typically seen in long-haired cats who have fur which is typically hard to manage. This is usually avoided by preventing it in the first instance, such as using a wall grooming brush (Click here to see what I mean and why this is the best one).

Using a simple de-matting comb (Click here for my best choice) and some effort you can help to de-matt your cat’s fur. This is so that it doesn’t have big unsightly mats of fur that it can’t deal with.

Make sure you use gloves

But, before you even think of de-matting their fur, you need to make sure that you put on some heavy-duty gloves.

Why?

This is because your cat is likely to put up some serious resistance when you start combing those difficult and painful mats out of her fur.

Think of it this way, if you had really long hair with knots in it, and someone attempted to aggressively comb them out, wouldn’t you be apprehensive? Let’s be honest, it would be quite painful. And, chances are, you would put up resistance yourself, right? So, be mindful of this.

Adult Cats, without experience, can be hard work…

This resistance is even harsher if it is an adult cat, that has never been de-matted or combed before, as you can imagine.

Therefore, if you find this to be overly difficult, and you find that your cat is getting quite vicious. You need to stop, give it a break and then maybe try again at a later date, are you with me?

If all fails, get a professional groomer

If you find that even after you’ve given it a break and attempted to do it again, your cat is still not enjoying it, or shall I say not co-operating, because in hindsight they never really will enjoy it.

Then you need to think about getting a professional groomer involved. This is because they have the experience and knowledge of how to do this without injuring your cat or aggravating you in the process.

Why is my cat under-grooming?

If you notice that your cat is not grooming properly, it is a very good chance that it is connected to some health-related problems. The challenge is finding out which particular problem it has.

To give you an indication of what is possible, I’m going to list a few of these potential problems and then provide detail about them.

  • Arthritis
  • Old age
  • Injured
  • Dental issues
  • Obesity

Arthritis and old age.

Arthritis and old age typically go hand in hand. As your cat gets older they will find it harder to do basic tasks such as grooming themselves.

As you may know, arthritis causes serious joint problems in your cat. And, can make grooming a painful exercise. Therefore, you could find that she is not grooming properly because she is in pain.

Injured

If your cat has been injured in some way she may not groom herself properly, which could cause problems. This is simply because basic grooming techniques are going to cause problems and aggravate the injury.

Therefore, it is a good idea to consult your vet to understand exactly what the injury is. Especially if it’s not obvious.

Dental problems

As you probably know, cats use their mouth (and tongue) to groom themself. And, therefore any dental related problems is likely to cause them to stop grooming.

Sometimes these issues are quite obvious. However, there are occasions where it’s quite hard to see or your cat is keeping it to itself.

The best thing to do is to consult your vet to understand exactly what the issue is. Because in some cases it could be a simple fix. And, in some cases, it could be fixed and get them back to grooming again.

Obesity

If your cat has gradually become overweight, to the point of obesity. This could be causing her to stop grooming. Believe it or not, if she doesn’t look after her weight it can affect her doing basic things like grooming.

What about if your cat is over-grooming?

Overgrooming, as you can imagine, is the opposite of under grooming. It is when your cat is grooming himself to the point of injury. This will be quite obvious because you’ll see skin irritation, patches or other obvious signs.

Usually, this is to do with some kind of parasites or irritation that has occurred in their skin. And, they are overcompensating by continuously biting, nibbling or excessively licking the infected area.

The best way to deal with this is to consult your vet to understand exactly what the issue is. This will help to see what can be done to get rid of the root cause of the problem. Rather than just dealing with the symptoms, are you with me?

If it is a flea problem they may give you a good flea shampoo (Click here to see my best fleas shampoo) which can help to get rid of it. But, either way, your vet will have some good advice on this.

Greasy or Clumpy fur

If you notice that your cat seems to have greasy or clumpy fur. This again could be due to some physical problems. The best thing to do is to consult your vet to understand what the issue is.

But, in the meantime, you can intervene by lending a hand with grooming by using a wide-toothed comb to clear up some of the greasy or clumpy areas of the fur.

Related Questions:

In this section, I am going to answer some questions related to cats and fur. If you have some other related questions that you need answering, please feel free to drop a comment below.

Q: How often should I bathe my cat?

As you know bathing your cat is sometimes required (Click here for the full article). Not all cat owners do this because cats are quite good at grooming themselves. And, in some cases, you can get away without doing it.

However, there are situations where this is necessary and some cat owners do this on a regular basis regardless.

To cut a long story short, you shouldn’t bathe them too regularly and anything less than every 4 to 6-weeks I would suggest is not a good idea.

Q: How does their diet impact their skin and fur?

Like us humans, cats rely on their food intake to regulate how the body functions.

Therefore, the right level of protein, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals is needed to maintain a healthy-looking coat and skin.

The challenge with this is these things are not instantly noticeable. And therefore, a lack of one particular macronutrient is not instantly noticeable, but, can cause deficiencies at a later date. Therefore, it is important to monitor this.

Do Cats Smell Bad? (Odor/Foul/Breath/Fur/Skin/Dander)

If you are considering getting a cat or just curious you may be interested to know if cats smell. If they do, there are obvious solutions such as air purifiers (Click here for my best air purifiers for cats), but do they really smell?

Do cats smell bad? No, not usually, especially if they are domesticated. However, I agree that this is quite subjective. There are instances when a cat really does smell bad, for example, if you have a male unneutered cat that wants to mark territory or if your cat has health issues (more on this later).

Now that you know understand that they can smell sometimes, I will now move on to explain what causes these smells, how you can prevent these smells and much more.

Why do cats smell bad?

You may be wondering what actually causes a cat to smell bad, as you now know there are instances where it definitely does smell.

The reality is there are a number of different reasons why your cat could be smelling. For that reason, I’m going to break down a number of different issues that can cause this to happen.

Mouth smells.

cat mouth smells

cat mouth smells

If you notice that your cat has really bad breath this is usually linked to an issue with dental hygiene. Similar to human beings, if there is inflammation in their gums this can cause the gum to not sit against the tooth correctly.

You may wonder what this has got to do with the bad-smelling mouth, but give me a second to explain. This inflammation causes crevices in the gum which allows excess food to gather there.

The food will then decay and cause a really bad smell. This is usually the smell that you can identify as a bad mouth odour.

Male un-neutered cats

As discussed earlier, un-neutered male cats are likely to spray in your house. But why is this happening? Because a male unneutered cat will typically want to spray and mark its territory.

This is so other intruders know not to mess. Weirdly, this smell is not disgusting to cats. However, for humans, it is a really bad smell which is hard to get rid of.

Skin odor

Another issue that causes cats to smell is their actual skin. This is not always that easy to diagnose because their skin is covered by layers of fur.

However, simple parasites, diseases or other ailments can contribute to odors. The smell will elevate beyond the skin and make you believe that the fur is smelling.

Weird Smell in their Ear.

Another common issue is the smell in your cat’s ear. Granted this is not as common as mouth or skin odors but it is a factor that we need to discuss. Let’s be frank, any smell that you notice needs to be discussed and understood, right?

These are orders are usually to do with mites that can collect in the cat ear. These mites look like little raisins that collect around their ear and unleash a really powerful odour.

Smells from behind

When I say “behind”, I mean around their rectal area. These smells can be attributed to a number of different problems.

However, a common issue that is noticed, particularly if you have a long-haired cat, is diarrhea. As you may know, diarrhoea makes their bowel movements almost impossible to control.

Therefore, this can end with faeces being caught on your cat’s fur. This can then get dried into the fur and leave a really bad smell about the house.

Other related issues can include urinary tract infections which could also lead to bad odour in this area.

How to stop your cat smelling out the house

So, right now we have discussed some of the reasons why your cat may be smelling. However, we haven’t discussed how you can proactively stop these things happening.

Therefore, in this section, I will go through a number of different ways that you can use to prevent this smell in your house.

The litter box area.

Smells around the litter box area are quite common. This can be caused by a badly managed box (Click here to see the best cat door to help hide away a stinky litter box). The litter box may not have been cleaned out frequently enough or in some cases, it is just a genuine accident, such as the cat stepping in the mess as it leaves the litter box, are you with me?

Some cat owners use hooded cat litter boxes to get around this issue (Click here to see why I choose this as my best one).

Another technique that can be used, which a lot of cat keepers swear by, is mixing baking soda with the litter to reduce the smell.

However, nothing beats keeping it clean in the first instance to eliminate the chances of the smells. Therefore, you should be cleaning the cat litter box out daily and a follow up with a deeper clean at least two or three times a week.

You need to use some common sense as well. Even though I say a daily clean is enough, if it is unexpectedly full up it is a good idea to clean it anyway, know what I mean? Basically, on an ad-hoc basis as and when it is needed.

If you find that you are not keeping on top of it there are other considerations that may help you This could be as simple as investing in a device that does some of the cleaning for you automatically.

Mess outside of the litter box

In some cases, you may discover that there is some mess outside of the litter box. Sometimes this is down to general mistakes by your cat maybe they are stepped in it and walked it outside of the litter box.

However, there are some instances where this is clearly not an accident and could actually be the result of a medical issue.

If this is the case you need to consult your vet to get your cat checked out because using or pooping outside of the litter box (Click here to see the best clumping cat litter) is not standard practice for cats and cause for alarm.

If we assume it was a genuine accident there are ways to clean this up and to make it smell better. One of them is to use an enzymatic cleaner to clean up some of the mess. Or, if it’s an item that is not of high value you could even consider just throwing the item away.

Cleaning up regularly around the house.

Apart from using direct methods, such as cleaning up the litter box, it is recommended to have a general tidy-up of the house on a regular basis.

In particular you should vacuum as much as possible. Why? because this will clean up some unseen flecks of dander from your cat and, other small particles of mess which can, in time, contribute to bad smells. You can even consider using baking soda to sprinkle around the carpets and other areas in the house.

Cat grooming.

Another technique that you can use to reduce bad smells is to keep your cat regularly groomed.

Yes, they do naturally groom themselves by licking themselves. However, there are certain instances where they may not be able to clear all of the mess which will need your help.

Grooming their fur and using tools such as de-matting combs (Click here to see my best Dematting Combs) will help to keep them clean and reduce the smell.

Cat air purifiers.

Cat air purifiers (click here to see my best Air Purifiers for cats)  are a very good technique to help to reduce the odor in the air. Apart from purifying the air, they also help to reduce allergens in the air as well as this.

Furnace filters.

Furnace filters are used in many houses and are a magnet for collecting cat fur, dander and other related matter which will contribute to bad odor.

Therefore, regularly maintaining and changing these filters will help to reduce the odor in your house.

Can I Use Baby Shampoo on My Cat (Will it hurt)?

If you are considering bathing your cat you may have looked at the best cat shampoos available (Click here for my best choice on Amazon). But, maybe you have even been considering other solutions, such as baby shampoo. But, can that really be used?

 

Can you use baby shampoo on a cat? Yes, you can use baby shampoo on a cat. However, it is not ideal and not really recommended. This is because cats do not need a bath unless they have really got uncontrollably dirty. Also, there is shampoo designed for them which is much safer.

Now that you know that it is ok, but not recommended (Click here for my article comparing two top cat shampoo brands Vet’s Best vs Tropiclean Cat Shampoo), let me explain why this is not a good idea. Also, other similar options to avoid, how to bath your cat correctly if needed and more. Keep reading…

Why shouldn’t cats really use Baby shampoo?

The reason I say this is not ideal is for two main reasons. I mentioned earlier, briefly, cats generally do not need to be bathed. The only exception to this is if they get exceptionally dirty. When I say “exceptionally” I mean, so much so they are unable to actually lick and groom the dirt off, are you with me?

For example, if she fell into a big bucket of mud or even worse, tar. In this situation, she could not physically clean this off. And you wouldn’t want her to attempt to lick this off, right?

Apart from these rare exceptions, cats typically groom and bathe himself ( Click here to see my article: Is it Bad to Give Your Cat a Bath?). Even if they do need to be bathed. Baby shampoo is not the ideal remedy.

This is because there are specific cat shampoos that are available on the market that are designed for their skin sensitivity and pH level.

However, as I said earlier it is possible to use baby shampoo. But you have to make sure that you use the correct one which is going to be mild enough for their skin so it does not cause irritation.

What is the difference between baby & normal shampoo?

bby vs adult shampoo

The biggest difference between baby shampoo and adult shampoo is the fact that they are advertised to not cause eye or skin irritation. The big sale is its “kind for kids”. The angle used in these advertisements is it’s allegedly “tear-free”.

This is the reason why people believe that baby shampoo is a better choice than an adult shampoo with regards to using it for cats.

How is this achieved?

They claim to achieve this by not using any Artificial Colours or other chemicals in the product. However in reality, if you really look into the ingredients of some of these products you will see there is not a lot different to the adult version.

In some cases you will find the same chemical agents and sulfates found in the adult version but with a  reduced quantity. Therefore, making it a solution should not be used for cats. And, questionable even for babies.

Will baby shampoo hurt your cat?

It depends on which one you use. If you go for an unscented shampoo then it reduces the chance of irritation and the alkaline level is closer to a cat’s. Therefore, there is less chance of it irritating your cat’s skin.

There are also some soaps, such as the castile soap, which has been known to be used with cats. This particular soap is known to have additional moisturizing qualities that will stop your cat drying out.

However, the best solution is to use actual cat shampoo, which has been specifically designed for their needs.

What is the difference between cat and dog shampoo?cat vs dog shampoo

You may be wondering could you not just go ahead and use a dog shampoo instead then? The reality is you cannot do this because most dog shampoos can be toxic and very dangerous for your cat.

The reason for this is, dog shampoo is formulated specifically for dogs. However, dogs have very different sensitivities to cats. Therefore the chemicals used in a dog product can cause severe irritation or even be toxic for a cat. Therefore, it is not advised to consider doing this.

Is Johnson’s Baby Shampoo good for cats?

If you have been searching the web for solutions or confirmation that you can use different types of shampoos for your cat.

You may have come across people discussing if it is a good idea to use Johnson’s Baby Shampoo for your cat. For that reason, in this section, I’m going to discuss if this is a good idea or not.

Firstly Johnson’s Baby Shampoo is called baby shampoo for a reason. This is because it is designed for babies and not cats. Are you with me?

Therefore it is not a good idea to use this on your cat. The reason why people gravitate to Johnson’s Baby Shampoo is because it is quite a mild shampoo.

If you do have to use baby shampoo, then most people look out for one that is unscented, not concentrated and does not have any additional chemicals in it.

The Johnson’s Baby Shampoo ticks a lot of these boxes. Which makes people believe it is a good solution to use for their cat.

How about short term usage?

On a short-term basis, to be honest, you may get away with using it. But regardless, it is not a long-term solution and I would not advice using it for your cat.

If bathing your cat is something that you need to do on a regular basis it is better to buy a specific cat shampoo rather than trying to cut corners.

Related question:

In this section, I am going to answer some questions related to cats and shampoo. If you feel there are some questions unanswered, feel free to drop a comment below.

Q: Can I use Dawn dishwashing liquid for my cat?

You may have heard rumors that you can use Dawn dishwashing liquid for your cat. People have discussed if this is a good idea to use for their cats, in particular for flea control. The reality is some cat owners have used Dawn liquid for their cats and swear by it.

According to this site the one that works is the original blue version. However, I wouldn’t advise this as a solution for your cat.

If you have a flea problem with your cat there is specific cat flea shampoo solutions (Click here to see) that you can get hold of instead of using Dawn for this reason.

Also if you do still consider going ahead with this, regardless of the warnings, make sure that you don’t consider using just any random dishwashing liquid, in the absence of the dawn original blue, because you really do not know what the effects will be.

Q: Is it ok to never bathe my cat?

Yes, you can get away with not bathing your cat. Think about it this way in the wild how do they survive without us bathing them?

The only exception to this rule is if they have a medical issue and they are unable to groom themselves. Or, you may have a rare issue where they fall into a substance that completely covers their coat.

In that situation she will be unable to clean themselves so you would need to help her. For example, as I said earlier, she fell into a whole bucket of mud, paint or tar. Obviously this is rare. You probably will never have to deal with this.

Q: Why is my cat licking obsessively after bathing with shampoo?

If you have recently bathed your cat and you have noticed that she is obsessively licking herself, you may be standing there and scratching your head wondering what this could be. For that reason, in this section, I’m going to explain what this may be and how you can get around it.

The chances are, if you see your cat behaving in this manner, it is because she is desperately trying to dry herself off after leaving the bath.

This can happen if you have not correctly rinsed her, before allowing her to leave the bath. And, it can cause issues. Why? Because the soap suds will effectively be licked up by your cat and then digested.

These soaps odds are not designed for a cat to digest and therefore can cause digestive irritations. Also, the leftover soap which hasn’t been rinsed off can dry out the skin.

Therefore it is important to completely rinse any soap suds before you allow your cat to leave the bath. Also, make sure that she is dried off properly once she leaves the bath.

How to Clean Cat Fur Without Water

If you want to keep your cat clean, but are frightened of bathing him you may be wondering if you can keep him clean without water (Click here to see the best waterless shampoo for cats, on Amazon). Let me explain…

Can you clean cat fur without water? Yes, you can clean cat fur without water. You can use cat wipes and waterless shampoo. However, to do this there are a couple of things that you’ll need. This is to make sure that your cat is cleaned well and kept safe in the process.

Quick Table of what you will need

DescriptionImageMy Rating
01. Waterless Cat Shampoo (Best Shampoo)
Click here for the price on Amazon
5 stars
02. Pet Wipes (Best Wipes)
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03. Dematting Comb (Best Comb)
Click here for the price on Amazon

Now that you know it’s possible I will explain why you even need to bathe your cat, ways to clean them delicate areas that need your attention, how to clean her, without drying out her skin, and more. Keep reading.

But, should you really need to bathe a cat?

There are occasions, which I will explain in greater detail in a moment when you need to bathe your cat.

To bathe your cat you will either need some cat wipes (Click here for my best choice cat wipes, on Amazon)  which are specifically made for cats. Or, you can consider using waterless Shampoo.

You may be thinking to yourself, why do I need to consider bathing my cat? The reality is, most cats can keep their self clean by licking their own fur, typically referred to as and grooming themselves. However, there are situations when your assistance will be required.

Excessively Dirty Cat

For example, if he gets excessively dirty. On this occasion, no matter how much licking he does, it is unlikely he’ll be able to deal with it. Also, you want to avoid him swallowing a large amount of dirt, which could infection, sickness or both.

As discussed in the previous section, you can use waterless shampoo or wipes to help with this. However, there are other proactive methods that you can use to make sure dirt doesn’t build-up to an uncontrollable level. Also, some of these methods can help to avoid their fur getting matted (Click here to see if GoPets or FURminator is better for de-matting your cat).

Simple things like regularly brushing your cat’s fur can eliminate the chances of him swallowing hairballs or collecting parasites.

Ways to Clean your cat’s fur without water?

In this section, I’m going to break down how you can actually go about cleaning your cat’s fur using baby wipes as well as waterless shampoo. This will help to keep him clean and avoid infection.

Using baby wipes

Using baby wipes is a good way to deodorize your cat’s fur as well as massaging in essential oils to its body. This will help it maintain good skin and fur health.

The best time to use the baby wipes is immediately after he’s eaten or has had a good playtime session.

Why is this?

Simply because this is likely to be the best time. Basically, when he is feeling calm. This will avoid him getting frustrated and potentially scratching you (more on this later).

While he is in this good mood, gently wipe his paws and face with the wipes. Also, use them to wipe around his ears and body. However, you need to use these wipes sparingly, because you want to avoid drying out his skin.

Using waterless shampoo for cats.

Waterless shampoo is a great way to keep your cat clean without any need for water. It is also convenient because you can do this without having running water around you at the time.

It’s quite straightforward really. Select the best cat waterless shampoo (Click here to see the best) that you can find and meets your needs. Apply the shampoo to your cat’s fur. After you have applied the shampoo, gently remove the excess using your hands or a pin brush.

After you have removed the excess shampoo. There is no need to rinse it off, as discussed earlier, it does not require water (which is the beauty of this stuff).

Other tools to consider

If you want to maintain your cat’s fur on a regular basis, it is advisable to get hold of a good pin brush (Click here to see my best choice, on Amazon). Pin brushes are good for short or long-haired cats. It will help to keep their fur in check.

If you have a long-haired cat a de-matter brush is a good idea. This will help him to eliminate any matting in your cat’s fur (click here to see how to remove matted hair from a Persian Cat).

You might also require thinning shears and a grooming glove to remove any loose hairs and remove any troublesome matting.

How can you avoid being scratched during the process?

If you have ever attempted to bathe your cat or manhandle it in any way for that matter. You will agree with me that it can be a real challenge. One of the biggest problems with this is their claws. The chances are you will pick up some big scratches.

The reality is, your cat really doesn’t want to hurt you, it is just a defensive mechanism when it feels stressed.

Therefore, in this article, I’m going to explain how you can avoid being scratched, to save your poor hands.

Getting your cat used to it.

Before I go into the detail of how you can stop your cat from scratching you. I want to explain how you can make life easier from the absolute beginning.

If you have a kitten it is a good idea to get them used to this proactive grooming and bathing from early. This will get them used to it and will cause you a lot less hassle for the future.

Dealing with Adult Cats

If you have an adult cat it’s better to start slowly. Ease them into the process, rather than jumping into full-on grooming immediately, are you with me? This is one of the reasons some cat owners use cat brushes that are ideal for cats that do not like to be brushed (Click here to see what I mean).

Trimming their claws.

As discussed earlier, even the most gentle and lovable cat has a good chance of scratching you. Especially when you attempt to groom or bathe them. Therefore, trimming their claws before you do this, in my opinion, is essential.

The best way to do this is to try to disassociate the claw trimming with the actual grooming or bathing itself. Therefore, it is advisable to do this a couple of days before you plan to bathe or groom them.

Also, when you actually come down to bathing or grooming, make sure they’re in a cool and calm mood to avoid any trouble.

Using treats (Bribes)

It is a good idea to offer your cat some treats. This will stop you looking like the bad guy. It will help them associate you with positive experiences. Simple treats like this will help them to get used to the process.

What other areas do cats need help cleaning?

So far we have put a lot of emphasis on your cat’s fur, grooming,  bathing, etc. However, there are some delicate areas that your cat will definitely need help with on a regular basis. This is regardless of the condition of their fur.

This includes the following:

  • Eyes
  • Mouth
  • Ears

How can you clean these delicate areas?

In this section, I’m going to give you some examples of how you can tackle some of these delicate areas.

Ears

You can buy specific sprays which are made for cat ears. In addition to this, you can use very basic gauze to help to keep them clean.

However, in my opinion, the best course of action is to consult your vet to see what they advise. Also, if there is a big issue with there ears, for example, a build-up of wax. Your vet can help you to get around this.

Eyes.

Their eyes will need to be cleaned. In particular, the rheum that collects around the eyes.

What is rheum?

Rheum is that weird crusty mucus which appears around your eyes when you wake up in the morning, are you with me?

This happens to us humans as well as cats. Some people call it “eye matter” and, to be honest, there are a number of different names for this, but essentially it is rheum.

To clean this you’ll need some damp gauze. But, one warning, do not be tempted to use cat wipe. Why? because it can irritate their eyes.

Their mouth.

For cats, you can get specific toothpaste and toothbrushes to deal with the inevitable plaque that will build up. However basic things like offering them dry food and chews (snakes) can help to keep their teeth healthy.

How to Get Flea Dirt Off Your Cat (Pics, Guide & Tips)

If you have sen flea dirt on your cat, you may be thinking of how to get rid of it (Click here for the solution on Amazon). Obviously, with fleas, you can use some effective cat flea shampoo. However, what about the actual flea dirt?

What’s the big issue with Flea dirt? Flea dirt is an indication of an infestation of fleas. It is an alarm bell that should not be ignored. If you see it on your cat you need to take immediate action before the matter spirals out of control.

Now you know what the big deal is, let me explain how to get rid of the fleas as well as the flea dirt. As well as how to prevent fleas from coming back to cause you problems and more. Keep reading…

Quick comparison of best Flea treatment

DescriptionImageMy Rating
01. Vet’s Best Flea Shampoo (Best option)
Click here for the price on Amazon
5 stars
02. Vet’s Best Waterless Cat Bath
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03. Advantage Flea Shampoo
Click here for the price on Amazon
4 stars

What is Flea Dirt?

Flea dirt is essentially the feces of fleas. It looks like a messy dirt patch, hence the reason it is called “Flea Dirt”.

Basically, it looks like little flicks of black or brown colored dots. Sometimes they are noticeable immediately, from your cat’s fur. Especially, if they’ve got light or white colored fur.

However, if they have darker fur you may only notice it if you run your hands through their fur and see this. In some cases.

If you have noticed your cat scratching itself more than usual or noticed flea dirt specks on their fur. There is a good chance that they have a flea infestation.

How do you get rid of the flea Dirt & Fleas on your cat?

Getting rid of flea dirt is the easy bit. To be honest you can just brush or wipe this off without an issue. The true challenge is getting rid of the actual fleas themselves.

To get rid of the fleas on your actual cat the best solution is to use a fine-tooth comb which is designed for this.  This Flea comb, if used regularly will help. It will help to clear the eggs settling in your cat’s fur and remove any fleas that may be hanging around.

Also, it is a good idea to use flea shampoo on a regular basis. To prevent them from coming back. Be warned, your cat will not like this, but it is needed.

Why is Flea Dirt such an issue?

Flea dirt is an issue because it is a natural sign that there are fleas infesting your cat. The problem with this is if the signs are correct, and your car has a flea infestation, then this can affect you, your family as well as your cat.

In addition to this, some cats have allergic reactions to fleas. Meaning the actual flea saliva can cause an allergic reaction. Unfortunately, this can result in severe irritation. Or even, in extreme situations, actual fur loss.

The problem with fleas is, once you see one or two, there is a good chance that there are another hundred more you haven’t seen yet.

Also, their numbers are going to grow substantially within a short period of time. Therefore, it is a good idea to get in front of the problem and deal with it sooner rather than later.

One last thing to consider, in some cases fleas can carry diseases as well. Which can be dangerous to you, your cat and your family.

How can you prevent fleas coming back?

Firstly, you can deal with the fleas directly by using a good cat shampoo which has flea protection built into it (click here to see my best Cat flea Shampoo choice). Alternatively, there are cat collars (click here to see the price on Amazon) which have flea solutions built into them as well.

In addition to this, there are ways that you can do basic things around your house to prevent fleas from coming back. Let me explain…

Vacuuming on a regular basis

This is quite simple and obvious but doing regular vacuuming in your house will help a lot. This will hoover up the eggs that are being laid by these fleas and reduce the chances of them coming back.

However, to make this effective you have to be quite thorough with your vacuuming. You need to catch all the hidden crevices as well as fabrics and carpets. Basically, anything that could be infected.

In addition to this when you finish vacuuming, do not just leave the vacuum until you use it next. Why? because all you have done is transferred these flea eggs from one place to another. They are just now living in your vacuum bag.

So, it is important to empty the bag and throw it away immediately. Also, wash out the canister with hot soapy water to get rid of the flea eggs.

A weekly deep clean

As well as vacuuming, it is a good idea to have a weekly clean. This needs to cover the fabrics that you use in your house.

This includes any duvet bedding any fabrics. It should even include cushions that you use on your sofa, etc. Take all of these fabrics, which your cat is likely to have rubbed against and potentially left eggs on.

Then place them into your washing machine. Put them on a high-temperature wash, just make sure that it doesn’t shrink the fabrics (read the fabric labels first to check). This will help to prevent the flea eggs coming back.

How can you prevent fleas from transferring into your house?

Fleas are clever. Sometimes they will use you, even if you have no idea what is happening. Let me explain…

Sometimes you may visit a house, which may have a cat with fleas. The danger of this is, you can unwillingly bring a flea infestation to your own home. Which can, in turn, transfer to your pets, including your cat.

The best way to avoid this happening is to immediately remove your clothes once you return home. If you can take them off before you actually enter your home then this is best practice.

However, I understand this may not always be practical, depending on the layout of your home. Once you’ve taken your clothes off. Immediately put them into a high-temperature wash to get rid of any fleas or flea eggs.

Related questions:

In this section, I am going to answer some related questions to Flea Dirt. If you feel there are some extra questions that are not covered feel free to leave a comment.

How do you know if the fleas are gone for good? The only way to check this yourself is by inspecting your cat. If you have the opportunity to visit your vet’s do so. This will completely verify they are gone or not.

However, if you want to check at home. The best way to do this is to get some white paper or a light surface. It has to be light because you need to check for fleas and you need the contrast of color to see them clearly, are you with me?

Place your cat on the whitepaper (or light-colored surface) and use a flea comb. Comb around the areas which typically gather fleas the most. Comb the area to see if any fleas or flea dirt are speckled on the white paper.

If you see any at this stage it is obvious that the problem is not gone and you need to continue the treatment.

If you still don’t see any then you can try and apply a little bit of petroleum jelly and continue combing. The idea behind this is to catch any loose fleas in the jelly.

If you do not see any fleas or flea dirt then this is a good indication that the problem has gone.

However, the only thing I would say is this, unless you do this very thoroughly there is a chance that you can miss a flea. If you miss one, you may find the flea problem will still be there. Hence the reason why visiting a vet is the best way.

How Do Feral Cats Deal With Fleas? (The reality!)

If you are curious about feral cats, you may wonder how they deal with fleas, right? We know a normal domestic cat can use things such as flea shampoo (Click here to see my best flea shampoo on Amazon), but how do feral cats deal with this?

how do feral cats deal with fleas? They can’t deal with it. They have to live with the fleas. Unfortunately, the fleas will, in turn, lead to other issues, such as causing them to scratch their skin severely to create open wounds that get infected and leads to other diseases.

Now you know it’s not that easy for a feral cat just to use flea shampoo (click here for my top cat shampoos) let me explain what happens when a feral cat gets fleas, how you can help them if feeding them is a good idea and much more, keep reading.

What is a Feral Cat?

Firstly, what is a feral cat? It is essentially an abandoned/stray cat that typically avoids any human interaction. Basically, it is not used to humans and sees them as a threat. Hence the reason they avoid them.

Let’s be honest, wouldn’t you be scared of us, if you were as small as a feral cat?… Exactly…

What happens to feral cats that have fleas?

Unfortunately, the reality is, these cats do not deal with the problem. They basically suffer in silence and deal with the related symptoms and follow on issues that lead on from this.

Here is a list of a few of the problems they face:

  • Scratch themselves until they cause patches and open wounds.
  • Flies infiltrate these wounds and lay eggs.
  • Fur loss: Due to repeated scratching, their fur won’t grow in areas, leaving patches.
  • Tapeworm infections.
  • Fungal and other related infections.

It sounds grim, I know. But this is the harsh reality of a feral cat. They have no idea how to deal with the issue. And, they do not have anyone that cares for them to deal with the issue.

What is the life-cycle of a Flea on Feral cat?

The problem with fleas is, they multiply on a rapid scale. If you do not deal with the issue early on, they will quickly spread and cause an infestation in no time.

For that reason, for your knowledge, let me explain what their typical life span is…

First, there is an egg…

Firstly they start life as an egg, which is laid by the female flea, as you would imagine. It will end up falling onto a fabric surface or on your cat. It gets its nourishment and food from your cats dead skin, other fleas feces (lovely!) or any other related organic matter.

They grow into Larva…

In time, they grow and turn into larvae. Following this stage, they will eventually hatch and become an adult flea (this sounds ling, but it really isn’t for them).

At this point, they either live within your cat’s fur feeding on their flesh or hitch a ride on the nearest human (a host). If they latch onto a human, you probably won’t notice this, by the way, you will unwillingly transfer this bad boy to your house.

You unwillingly transfer this cheeky flea into your house

If the flea takes the route of using you as a host. You simply walk him right into your home, he hops off onto your cat and the cycle continues, over and over again. This is why many cat owners rely on flea collars or other types of treatment (Click here to see why I rate this one).

How can you help a feral cat with fleas?

You may be thinking, well, I have heard enough, how can I help, right? Well, you can, let me explain. To do this correctly, you need to deal with the host (the cat) as well as the environment around the host.

If you do one without the other, there is no point. Why? Because these little scoundrels will just grow in the neglected area. E.g. You clean up the feral cat and leave their environment. All that will happen is the cat will get infected again from its contaminated environment, are you with me?

If you really want to help the feral cat, you need to really take the cat into your house. While he is free it will be a perpetual cycle. Wouldn’t be worth your time in the first place.

Once you take the cat in, you can consult your vet on what flea treatment he recommends.

Why are Feral Cats Susceptible to disease and infection?

You may be thinking, why are these feral cats always picking up these diseases and ailments? Well, let me take some time to explain this now.

The short answer to this is their environment. They tend to live in abandoned houses, dumped cars, etc. Places where rats and vermin are rife. They even routinely eat from rubbish bins.

As you can see its a recipe for disaster. They face a content cycle of disease, infection and content reproduction. Each kitten is born into the same environment and the cycle continues.

In addition to this, their life span is often quite short. You can expect them to live as little as 2 or 3 years in these conditions.

Is it a good idea to feed these Feral cats?

If you see one of these cats out in the wild, there is a chance that you may feel sorry for them and attempt to feed them to ease your conscious. Some owners even buy outdoor feeders for feral cats (Click here for my best ones). But is this the right thing to do?

To be honest, no it’s not. Although it may make you feel better, it doesn’t address the real issue. It’s similar to feeding a homeless person one meal or giving them some coin. Yes, they will appreciate it, but does it really solve the route cause of their problems? No.

To really help, they need to be taken in and nursed back to health. This will break the vicious cycle and make a difference.

On the other hand, if you throw them a sandwich, they will eat it, move on with their day and have more kittens, and the cycle continues, are you with me?

Related Questions:

In this section, I will answer some questions related to feral cat fleas. If you have a burning question that you need to be answered, that you can’t see covered, drop me a comment below.

Q: What other diseases or infections can feral cats pick up?

Unfortunately, feral cats are subject to many diseases, for reasons discussed earlier.  It is not limited to fleas. To help you get a feel of these, let me explain them now:

Ear Mites

You can usually see some obvious symptoms for this one. Typically the cat will scratch and shake their head. To be honest it will usually look quite excessive. These ear mites cause some serious irritation.

The good thing is, they are not lethal. But they are still very painful and frustrating. In some cases, they may even draw blood and scratch themselves quite severely.

Parasites

These parasites come in a few different forms. Such as Coccidia and roundworms. These annoying scoundrels lay dormant in the cat’s system. You may find that they may suffer from diarrhea at this time, which is a known symptom.

Q: Do all feral cats have fleas?

Many people may assume that all feral cats have fleas. To be honest it is a fair assumption because it is quite a common issue. However, no they do not all have fleas. But, the chances are they do.

The reality is, even an indoor cat can get fleas (click here to see how to get Flea Dirt off your cat). The reason for this is because of the way fleas work. Remember earlier when I talked about the flea life cycle? Well, this is the reason why. They travel from one place to the next using innocent bystanders, in particular, you. So, they can multiply and reach many unexpected areas.

Can I Use Human Shampoo on My Cat? (Is it safe?)

If you are keen to clean your cat you will need shampoo to get it done (click here to see my best cat shampoo on Amazon). However, is it possible for your cat to use the same shampoo you use?

can I use human shampoo on my cat? The short answer is no. But, why? The main reason for this is, humans have different PH tolerance levels. Meaning cat shampoo is specially formulated so it does not harm cats.

The shampoo we use can be very harsh on a cats skin. This can result in dried-out skin and other related skin issues, such as skin flaking and dandruff, etc. The main ingredients that cause issues for cats are Parabens, dyes, etc. Let me now explain the difference between our skin and cats, what shampoo kittens can use, which ingredients are important and more.

What are the differences between a cat and humans skin?

Apart from the obvious visual differences, there are other issues under the surface that I will discuss. The main difference is the acidic level on a human is different (hence the PH level mismatches).

Also, humans have distinct glands made for sweat, while cats do not. These subtle differences require a cat to have different ingredients in their shampoo. This is so they do not get harmed by the chemicals (as discussed earlier.

Can Kittens use any Cat Shampoo?

You may be thinking, what about my little loveable kitty, right? Can she use just any cat shampoo? The short answer is no. But let me explain why…

Kittens skin is even more delicate than adult cats. Therefore you need to take extra precaution with them, are you with me? You can get special shampoo for kittens that is more delicate. This is ideal and better for your peace of mind.

Important Ingredients in cat shampoo

When looking for cat shampoo you need to make sure the ingredients are right. Therefore in this section, I am going to explain what to look out for to make sure you get this right.

Basic is best (but is it?)

The main thing is making sure the ingredients are basic. But, what do I really mean by that? Well, ideally from natural ingredients. Basically, avoid all those chemicals and “E numbers”. The problem with these chemical ingredients, it is not always obvious exactly what is in these chemicals by glancing at the ingredients, are you with me?

However, even if the ingredients are basic, it does not guarantee that it is safe. Yes, that’s right, it is a bit complicated. The problem is, there are some natural ingredients that cause unwanted side-effects for your cat.

Unwanted Basic Ingredients

Let me give you an example of what I mean by this. Vinegar is a great thing to have on your chips (or fries for people in the US)? And in fact, it makes a great cleaner for fish tanks coincidently. However, it is not great for cats. This is just one example.

Here are a few others to avoid:

  • Tea Tree
  • Lavender
  • Glycerin.
  • etc.

One thing to be mindful of. Even if you attempt to rinse off these things from your cat, in the event that they come into contact with it, it does not mean it is gone for good, but why?….

The reason is, they can penetrate their skin and a surface level rinse may not cut it. This is worrying because you may feel its gone. And, there is still a chance that your cat can lick the contaminated area and fall ill. So, best to avoid them at all costs.

Are Natural Soaps Good for cats?

You may have seen the ads, don’t these natural soap bars look, prefect pure and natural, right? Well, unfortunately, as good as it looks, it is still a risk. But, let me explain.

The problem is, not all natural products are good for your cat (as briefly discussed above).

The danger of essential oils

In some of these products, you will find essential oils. They are natural oils that help to make the soap smell delicious. But, even though they smell great, they are not good for your cat.

In fact, these essential oils are quite dangerous for your cat (toxic even). The problem with these oils is, unlike us humans, cats can’t metabolize these oils. Therefore it causes them issues.

In extreme cases, cats could suffer from liver failure. Best case vomiting or other related sicknesses. So best to avoid this.

How can you stop your cat from getting dirty?

Cats are not really built to be bathed on a regular basis. The more you bath them it increases the chances of irritating their skin. The best way to prevent this is to avoid them getting dirty in the first place. Are you with me?

For that reason, I am going to share some ways that you can reduce the chances of your cat getting dirty.

  • Reduce its exposure to the outside world (indoor cat basically).
  • Groom and clean her regularly.
  • Keep your house and surfaces clean.
  • Provide fresh and clean cat litter.
  • Keep your hands clean before handling.

These may seem quite obvious, but you will be surprised how many people overlook these simple tips and instead over bath their cat (Can I Use Baby Shampoo on My Cat ? Click here).

Related Questions:

In this section, I will answer some related questions to cat shampoo that will help you. If you feel that there is a question in your head that has not been answered, feel free to leave a comment below.

Q: What can I use instead of cat shampoo?

You can actually create your own homemade shampoo products. However, be warned, it is not cheap to do this. But, I will give you some ideas never the less.

Dry Shampoo

You can create a dry shampoo. You may be thinking, why would I want to do this? Simple, it will fluff up and clean your cat’s fur. Think of this of the home equivalent to waterless shampoo (click here to see my best waterless cat shampoo).

To make this you will need oatmeal, cornmeal, baking soda, and corn starch. The corn starch will add a nice shine to your cat’s fur. And the baking soda will remove any unwanted odors. To use this you just need equal parts of oatmeal and cornmeal. With the addition of a few tablespoons of corn starch and baking soda.

Q: How can I clean my cat’s fur without water?

Bathing your cat is quite a difficult and unpleasant activity. This is for you as well as your cat. Therefore, you can consider cleaning her without using water. One method is using a damp towel.

The idea is to substitute running water completely and uses a damp towel. This is less traumatic. But I will say, it is still not a walk in the park, are you with me?

You can still use shampoo using this method, but it’s not 100% necessary. Another thing I would say is this, it will never be as effective as conventional water and cat shampoo. But it is a viable alternative.

Q: How can I get my cat to like water?

In reality, there is no easy way to do this. Simply because cats naturally hate water. There are ways that you can help to improve their natural fear though. For that reason, I will share some pointers here for you.

The first thing you can do is start exposing your cat to water earlier. Ideally as early as a kitten. This will acclimatize your cat and make here less likely to put up resistance.

Before actually trying to bathe her, allow her to play in the water first. This will help to associate fun with water, rather than being dragged into an unwanted bath, are you with me?

 

Do Cats Like their Fur Shaved? (The real answer!)

If you have issues with your cat’s fur, such as matted (click here for my best De-matting comb), tangled or shedding problems, you may feel that shaving is a consideration. But is this really a good idea?

Do cats like to have their fur shaved? No, cats do not like having their fur shaved. This is because it’s important to them. It not only protects them from the cold and windy conditions, but it also helps to regulate their body temperature in the hot weather.

Without their fur, they will also face psychological issues such as feeling embarrassed. This is quite similar to how humans feel. Their fur is a critical part of their body. Let me explain other ways to avoid shaving, the importance of their fur if you should consider the controversial lion shave, and much more, keep reading…

Are there other ways to deal with shedding without shaving?

Yes, shedding is expected behavior from any cat (click here to see if how much Calico cats shed). In fact, it is quite a healthy thing for a cat to do this. Think of it this way, if an animal has fur, it will naturally shed. This is natures way of dealing with excess fur and refreshing itself with new growth.

Shaving fur is more of an extreme measure. It should not really be used unless you really have to, are you with me?

Also, even if you decide that shaving is the only way forward, it should not be done at home by you. Instead, it should be done by a professional.

The best way to avoid shaving is to maintain your cat’s fur in the first place. Prevention is better than cure, right?

This includes using a shedding tool or comb (click here to see my best shedding and de-matting combs) which can help to get rid of the unwanted fur leftover from shedding.

Also, you can make a conscious choice to make sure that your cat has a good diet, including proteins. Protein is an important part of fur health. It will help them avoid extreme issues with shedding.

Are there other methods to deal with matting instead of shaving fur?

Yes, grooming your cat, such as using de-matting tools, should be used as a preventative measure to avoid shaving your cat.

I’ll admit, there are times when shaving can’t be avoided. But, this is reserved for extreme measures.

To avoid this, prevent it from happening by using a de-matting tool or comb. Making sure matted fur doesn’t even get a chance to form.

You can even use your fingers and run it through your cat’s fur. It’s not great, but better than nothing. To be honest a de-matting tool is better.

What’s the point of a cat’s fur Anyway?

A cat’s fur has many different purposes. It’s not just to keep them warm. It is used to keep them dry in wet weather and to keep them warm when it’s cold.

Keeps them cool

Not many people know this but, your cat’s fur can also keep them cool during hot weather. This may sound unbelievable, but it’s true. Their fur has the ability to trap a layer of air which can protect them against extreme heat conditions.

It is also used as a communication channel, yes communication! Think of a startled or shocked cat, what do you see? a cat being shocked with its fur standing on end, right?

Skin protection

Cat’s fur also protects their skin underneath from sunburn. Also, from any other injuries that may occur. The reality is the skin underneath their fur is quite sensitive. So, the fur is needed to protect it.

If the skin is exposed to too much extreme heat conditions and they get sunburned, there are risks of other health-related issues such as skin cancer.

Do indoor cats need their fur shaved more than outdoor cats?

No, in fact, whether the cat is indoor or outdoor it doesn’t matter. There is not really a strong argument for shaving unless there is a real extreme issue.

Let’s look at indoor cats, to begin with…

Your average indoor cat really does not need its fur shave in the summer. Even though some cat keepers swear by it.

The reality is if it becomes too hot indoors the indoor cat has the luxury of reducing its activity (not that they do much indoors anyway) or hiding in a more cool area within the house to avoid the sun.

As long as they have access to freshwater to stop himself getting dehydrated there should be no issues. and thus, they should not need to have their fur shaved.

Outdoor cats

Outdoor cats need their fur even more than indoor cats. This is because they have more exposure to the sun while they’re outdoors. And, fewer places to escape from it if need be. Their fur is needed to help regulate their body temperature. So, it is not a good idea to shave it.

In fact, if you do shave your cat in the summer, you run the risk of exposing them to sunburn. This can cause other related health issues.

If you are really concerned that your outdoor cat is getting too much exposure to the sun and you are considering shaving her, it is much better to bring her indoors. Keep her away from the extreme outdoor heat rather than considering shaving.

What is a lion shave?

There is a trend amongst cat keepers to shave their cats in the shape of a lion’s mane during the hot weather.

Typically the cat’s hair is shaved on the belly and the body leaving the head area looking like a lions Maine. Also, the tail and paws are typically not shaved. Leaving the rest of the body shaved right down to the skin.

It is not advised to attempt to do this at home. Arguably, not advised to do at all.

Why do cat owners decide to lion shave their cat?

In this section, I will go through a number of different reasons why cat owners decide to use this lion shave.

Weather conditions

The main reason people do this, as discussed in the previous section, is to do with weather conditions. Such as in the summer when it gets hot.

Also, sometimes it is done because of problems with heavily matted fur (Click here to see how to get rid of matted fur on a Maine Coon cat) or fur shedding issues.

Obesity

Other issues can be obesity.  Basically, the cat is unable to groom themselves due to being heavily overweight.

Also if there is heavily overgrown fur, which may be a health issue, can sometimes cause a cat owner to resort to this.

Fleas

Lastly, if some cat owners have serious problems with fleas, they may resort to this as well.

Why is it not a good idea to consider this lion shave?

In this section, I’m going to go through a number of reasons why you should avoid this lion shave trend.

Sensitive skin

Firstly regular shaving of a cat’s fur can cause follicular dysplasia. Something that you need to avoid. Also, a cat’s skin is a lot more sensitive than human skin.

In fact, it is up to 30% more sensitive. So, when the cat’s skin is exposed to the natural elements (outdoors) by shaving its fur, it is more susceptible to health-related issues.

It basically strips their natural defenses against the environment.

Avoid this for Elderly cats

Also, this lion shave is definitely to be avoided if your cat is overly aggressive, elderly or has any other health-related issues.

An elderly cat’s skin is even more delicate and susceptible to health problems than your average cat.

Avoid this for aggressive cats

If the cat is aggressive and they don’t have their protective fur, its a recipe for disaster.  And finally, Any cat with health-related issues, obviously avoid this. Because it can increase their problems.

Why do Cats Lick Their Paws then Wipe Their Face?

Understanding why cats lick themselves is confusing and weird at times. In particular, I have often wondered why cats seem to lick their paws, the way they do. I looked into this and discovered the answer, let me explain…

Why do Cats Lick Their Paws then Wipe Their Face? This is their way of cleaning themselves. And also a method to replenish natural oils in their fur and skin. They also detest water baths, unlike us humans. So this is their only way to keep clean.

As I grab my ice cream, I find myself licking my lips. Have you ever tried not doing this? Drives you nuts, right?

I think this is a great comparison to the natural instincts of cats. But let me dig deeper now and address the following, why they lick their paws after eating, reveal other reasons why they may lick themselves in this way, and much more…

What are the main theories behind Cats Licking Their Paws in this way?

There are two theories behind this:

  • They are actually cleaning their bodies and face.
  • Replacing essential natural oils in their face and body.

Cleaning their face

Regarding the first theory, it is believed that they are simply cleaning their face with their paws. If you watch any cat, whether it’s your’s, a neighbor’s or any cat for that matter.

They will usually clean their body first by licking then follow up with licking their paws. Then, wiping their face. This is common amongst all species of cats.

As you probably know, cats do not really like to be doused in water. Therefore, this is their method for keeping their body and face clean.

Replacing essential oils

This theory suggests that the natural oils in their body is being replenished by licking their paws and then wiping their face. I say “theory”, because there is not any real hard evidence to support this.

Why do cats lick their front paws thoroughly after eating?

Typically this is done to clean their paws. However, there is another dimension to this. You need to understand that cats are definitely agile creatures.

However, there is a limit to their agility. Meaning, areas such as behind their head, face and their chin is not easy to be touched without using their front paws. Think of their paws as a cleaning cloth in this regard.

After they eat, they will firstly clean their paws. But, then moisten their paw, so that they can then wipe and clean their face.

Also, you should expect your cat to be doing this kind of grooming on a regular basis. If they are not doing it, then there clearly is an issue.

However, on the other extreme, if they are doing it excessively, this could also be a concern.

Could there be other reasons why cats lick them self in this way?

Yes, essentially there are quite a few different reasons why they may do this. For that reason, I will break this down for you now…

Controlling Their Body Temperature

In extreme heat or cold conditions licking themselves can be used as a way to help control their temperature.

The theory is that cats, in cold weather, lick their skin and fur. The saliva will help to coat their fur to generate a barrier against a cold.

On the other extreme, in hot weather, you may find them licking and cleaning themselves as a way to help cool down.

Rubbing in new scent

Cats are very sensitive to smells. In addition to this, they have scent glands in their mouth and cheeks.

You may find that if your cat is using its paws to wipe its face, it may actually be trying to ease this scent out.

For example, if your cat had an unexpected bath. They may want to try and get their scent back onto their body.

Anxiety issues

You may also notice, in some extreme cases, if your cat is feeling very anxious. They may start doing some excessive grooming. This is obviously some cause for concern. This is something that you should follow up with your vet.

Injuries

If your cat is injured. It may also attend to its injuries by gently licking the wound. Sometimes these wounds are not necessarily serious.

They may not be big open gaping wounds. They could actually be injuries that are not even noticeable with the naked eye.

Hiding their scent from predators

Another technique used by cats is to hide their scent. Cats have very sensitive noses. To put it into perspective, their scents of smell is 14 times stronger than a human. They can smell things that we would never be on our radar.

Sometimes this skill can work against them. In the wild, for example, mother cats will try to clan off herself and her kittens in an attempt to mask their scent.

General pleasure

In some cases, you may find that your cat just generally likes to groom. Simple as that!

Obviously, this is almost impossible to confirm. But, it’s something that you can see just by their general body language.

When do cats start this grooming process?

Grooming and licking themselves starts from when they’re kittens. Before they are even 4 weeks old their mother will lick them. This is for a few reasons:

  • Keep them clean.
  • General comfort.
  • Entice them to trigger natural bodily functions.

At about 4 weeks old they will start mimicking their mother and start to groom themselves. 5 weeks and beyond you will even notice them starting to groom the other littermates as well.

This grooming process is built in their DNA and is something which is part of cat culture.

When can this Licking become a problem?

In some extreme cases, you may find that a cat is grooming itself too much. In a way, it can become excessive. This can lead to physical problems.

An example, it could start to affect their skin and fur. Causing unsightly bald patches, or even skin sores. You may find some of these anxious behaviors for a few subtle reasons.

If there is a change in circumstance or something which is making your cat feel uncomfortable, this can trigger this anxiety.

Be mindful. This does not have to be anything drastic to us. If you recently moved house. Or maybe you’ve got a new addition to your family, such as a new baby, are you with me?

Related questions

Why do cats lick themselves after they’ve had a bath? In all honesty, cats should not really be bathed. They are not like dogs and do not like exposure to water in this way.

For that reason, you can expect your cat to aggressively lick itself after it’s had a bath. This is because, in your cat’s mind, she is unhappy with the fact that she’s been bathed.

Therefore, she is frantically licking hirself to replace the bodily fluids and scent that she believes should be there. Only bathe cats in extreme cases when it’s necessary.

Could cats be licking themselves due to fleas? It is possible (Click to see why your cat may get fleaes). However, in most cases, it is likely to be something else. If you notice it almost nibbling itself, in an effort to scratch itself, then this could be cause for concern.

Could my cat be attacking and biting me because it’s anxious? It could be (Click here for 15 Ways to Stop Your Cat From Biting and Attacking You).

In fact sometimes, as discussed earlier anxiety could be seen from excessive licking as well, not just aggression. Is there anything obvious that you can see causing this anxiety?

It may be advisable to consult a vet to clarify if this is the case. Because, there are many reasons, and unfortunately it is not always obvious what the issue is.