Cat Tips

How to Groom a Cat

This may actually sound like a redundant task as we all know that cats are one of the cleanest animals out there. It’s like when we notice a cat, it’s either jumping height like Spiderman or grooming licking itself, which is the way it grooms itself. However, some cats may not be able to groom themselves and even the ones that can groom themselves, it may be difficult for them to reach some parts of their body. And grooming does have more benefits than just the looks. These include – 

  • Blood circulation.

  • Improved muscle tone.

  • Better insulation in the fur.

  • Stimulation of the glands at the base of the coat to waterproof and protect the coat and skin.

  • Even spread of sebum, a mixture of fatty acids that helps keep their skin soft. 

Apart from these, their saliva spread during grooming helps keep the coat cool. Now that we know the multiple benefits of grooming, let’s know how you can assist them in doing so. 

How to Groom a Long-Haired Cat

A long-haired coat requires daily grooming to keep it smooth and shiny. Here’s your guide to grooming them.

  • Brushing – Use a sleek brush with long teeth and gently brush your cat’s fur. Start with the top layer and gradually reach the undercoat. Make sure you do not tug on any knots or twisted hair. Do this daily. 

  • Trimming – In the case of very long hair, it would be a good idea to trim it a little. Trim areas such as the legs and below the belly as they are more prone to knots. Hair around the anus should also be trimmed to avoid feces from adhering to the fur. 

  • Bathing – For long-haired cats, bathing may not be needed daily. Once a week or twice a month should be okay depending on your cat’s lifestyle. Use a cat-specific shampoo and warm water to bathe your cat. You can use a dryer on a low heat setting to dry it later. 

For cats with long hair, a lack of regular grooming can cause several problems. These include – 

  • Matting

  • Hairballs

  • Skin infections

  • Fleas and ticks

  • Overheating

How to Groom a Cat at Home

The above steps for brushing, bathing and trimming would be the same for grooming your cat at home. Apart from them, there are more hygiene checks that you can conduct at home for your cat. These include – 

  • Cleaning Ears – Ears may be difficult for the felines to clean themselves. And cats are more vulnerable to ear infections. Take a soft cloth and some ear-cleaning solution and gently wipe the inside of the ears. Do not insert anything in the ear canal. 

  • Nail Trimming – Cats with long hair are prone to get mats around their paw pads making it important to trim the nails. Use only a cat-clipper and be careful not to cut the vein inside the nail. (you know the feeling when you cut your nail a little extra)

  • Brushing Teeth – Dental hygiene is a must in a pet grooming schedule. Use cat- toothpaste and a soft-bristled cat toothbrush to regularly clean your cat’s teeth. 

  • Tail grooming – Use the hair comb to untangle all knots on the tail. Clean the dirt off the fur surrounding the base of the tail. 

And while you’re doing all this, do not forget to check your cat’s skin for signs of irritation, redness or flaking. Sometimes, they can be symptoms of an underlying medical condition. 

How to Groom a Cat That Hates It

If your cat is not among the ones that use your grooming time for lounging and enjoying, here are some tips you can follow to groom them. 

  • Start by picking a brush with soft bristles, a pin brush, or a rubber glove brush. A rough one may pull the coat and irritate your cat. 

  • Stay happy, gentle and calm. Grooming your cat in an irritated mood accompanied by yelling at your cat may instil fear in them.

  • If your cat reacts suspiciously to new objects, leave the brush on the floor before attempting to groom it. Let your cat rub its body against it so that it gets familiar with it. You can even bribe your cat by offering a treat every time it rubs itself against the brush. 

  • Wait for your cat’s reaction after a few brush strokes and then start again. 

  • Once your cat seems okay with you brushing it, you can go to the bigger areas like legs, head, and belly. 

  • Once you successfully brush your cat, you can move to other hygiene tasks like dental and ear cleaning. If your cat is resistant to tooth brushing, consider dental treats or toys that can help clean their teeth.

Remember that it’s okay for your cat to react a bit wildly at first when you start grooming. Give it some time, try again the next day. And in case your cat’s fur has several matting or tangles, it’s best to let a professional groomer or vet take over.   

How to Stop My Cat from Over-Grooming

It may be difficult for you to say when your cat is over-grooming as they tend to spend 50% of their time grooming themselves. However, if you notice excessive biting, chewing, or scratching, it may be a sign of an underlying medical condition. Too much licking can cause loss of fur around their back, belly, or inner legs. Stress, boredom, allergy, infection and pain are some other reasons why your cat must be over-grooming itself. To stop that, here are some tips – (2)

  • Cats love a schedule, so maintain one. Having one can reduce the chances of your cat experiencing stress and hence over-grooming. 

  • Play with your cat and keep stimulating it physically and mentally to avoid boredom. 

  • Do not punish or shout at your cat for over-grooming. This can cause more stress. 

In case the over-grooming doesn’t stop in 1-2 days, take the cat to a vet to check the presence of any underlying condition causing the excessive grooming. 

How Do You Groom a Cat with Short Hair?

The grooming needs of short-haired cats like American Shorthair, Devon Rex, Scottish Fold, etc. are different from that of long-haired cats like Birman, Maine Coon, Siberian, Balinese, Himalayan, etc. The chances of matting are low for short-haired ones are low. Despite that, it is important to groom them to avoid hairballs, minimize shedding and maintain the shine of the coat. To do that, here’s what you can do – 

  • Find a quiet place.

  • Check your cat for any signs of fleas, ticks, or other parasites.

  • Take a flea comb and start brushing gently through the fur.

  • Pay more attention to areas like the neck, ears, tail, and belly. 

  • Use tweezers or a tissue to remove any fleas, ticks, or eggs. 

  • Use the regular brush now and gently comb your cat’s fur in the direction of the growth. 

  • Remove any dirt or debris from the brush after each stroke.

Once done, you can proceed with nails, ears and dental cleaning by following the steps above. You can perform this once a week as short-haired cats do not require daily grooming. 

More About Spot Pet Insurance

Some cats may not even groom themselves properly because of several reasons. These include old age, illness, stress, overweight, etc. This makes it more important for you, as a caring pet parent, to groom your cat as per the breed’s requirement. The following are the possible medical conditions that can occur in the absence of proper and adequate grooming – (1)

  • Redness or swelling of the ears.

  • Ear mites, ear infections, and blood blisters. 

  • Gingivitis, receding gums and tooth loss.

  • Periodontitis, Rodent Ulcer, Salivary Cyst, etc.

While regular grooming can help prevent these medical conditions, these can be caused by other reasons as well. The treatment cost for these can at times make a big dent in your savings. Pet health insurance can help save up to 90% of the treatment costs.

With a Spot accident and illness plan, you can take your cat for treatment at any licensed vet in Canada or the U.S. Spot plans don’t have networks, so whether you’re home or traveling within the U.S, veterinary services your cat receives for the diagnosis, treatment, or management of eligible services can be covered. Spot’s accident and illness plans can help cover a variety of conditions, ranging from broken bones and bite wounds to behavioral conditions, and cancer. While base plans do not offer coverage for preventive care services, Spot’s Wellness Riders can be added to any base plan for an additional fee and can help cover the eligible costs of wellness exams, vaccinations, dental cleanings, and more! 

Learn more about cat insurance or get a free quote!


  1. Cat grooming tips. (n.d.). ASPCA.

  2. Copson, K. (2024, June 1). How to Groom a cat that hates it: 8 Vet-Approved Tips - Catster. Catster.

  3. Ms, N. S. D., PhD. (2023, September 12). Why cats overgroom and how you can stop it.

Follow us on Instagram

Follow us everywhere else: