Winter cat care ideas to assist kitty by way of the chilly, dry months

Even if you have a house cat, it's likely that its coat will change seasonally.

"A cat's undercoat will build up during the winter months because fur growth is more related to the amount of sunlight available than to the ambient temperature," says Dr. Nicole Starinsky, DVM, from the NorthStar VETS Emergency and Critical Care team.

Cats naturally groom themselves.

“Cats are usually demanding snow groomers who spend many hours every day grooming themselves. This grooming keeps them clean and keeping their skin and coat healthy by stimulating the healthy development of coat oil from the skin and then distributing those oils throughout the coat. It also helps reduce loose hair, similar to what we humans do when we brush our hair, ”says Dr. Jamie Richardson, Chief Medical Officer at Small Door Veterinary.

You will likely notice your cat stepping up grooming during the winter months to keep up with its thicker coat. However, your cat may need additional grooming help to keep up with the extra fur during the winter season.

You will likely notice your cat stepping up grooming during the winter months to keep up with the thicker coat, but they may still need some grooming help. Photo: FaST_9 / Getty Images

Your cat's winter grooming needs

The amount of grooming your cat will need depends on the type of coat your cat has and the age of your cat. Short-haired cats may not need any grooming or a quick brush every week.

"Cats with long coats, or cats that are a little older, have arthritic, or have difficulty grooming because of obesity, may need to groom more often," says Dr. Richardson.

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Not only do cats have different grooming needs at different times of the year, but their winter grooming needs can also vary at different times in their lives. Dr. Starinsky advises "Always keeping an eye on your cat's coat, especially as it gets older, as it may require more brushing at this later stage in life." For example, my long haired 20 year old cat has reduced its grooming significantly, which means we need to groom it more regularly, especially in winter.

How to brush your cat in winter

Regularly brushing and monitoring your cat's coat will help prevent matting and improve overall coat health. Regularly brushing cats not only helps keep their fur in good condition, but it also provides an additional way to bond with your cat.

Start grooming slowly and keep your sessions short. Dr. Richardson advises that extra care should be taken to ensure that your cat may be ready to stop grooming, such as B. "flick your tail, lower your ears and growl".

There are many cat grooming brushes on the market with different uses. Some remove loose hair but don't get into the undercoat. Talk to your cat groom or veterinarian about which brushes are right for your cat.

For the care of the undercoat, Dr. Richardson advised using a flea comb or other comb with closely spaced teeth. He found that these combs “are more effective in lifting off dead undercoat”.

Regular grooming is essential for grooming your coat. "If your cat's fur is matted, don't try to trim it with scissors. Accidental injury can result. An appointment with a qualified groomer or your veterinarian is warranted if you don't brush the mats with a brush or comb can train, ”says Dr. Starinsky.

How to groom yourself during the shedding season

Although cats shed year-round, they go through major shedding seasons twice a year in the spring and fall. The thick winter hair your cat is growing now will go through a heavy shed in the spring, and in the fall your cat's fur is preparing to grow the thick winter hair. During the shedding season, you'll want to increase the frequency with which you groom your cat, especially cats with longer coats. Grooming during the shedding season will help avoid matting and remove loose fur.

This is how you can tell if your cat's coat is healthy

As part of your regular grooming, you should check your cat's fur to make sure it is healthy.

“A healthy cat's coat looks shiny and dull, and the skin underneath is clear and free of flakes and crusts. Some shedding is a sign of a healthy coat, just as not shedding or excessive shedding can be a sign of disease, ”says Dr. Starinsky. If your cat becomes aware of changes in your cat's coat while petting or grooming.

In addition, Dr. Richardson: "If you see spots where the fur is falling out or the skin is oily, scaly, or bumpy, you should consult a veterinarian."

Featured image: S_Kazeo / Getty Images

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