Basic Care I
1. The bathroom
Cats bathe! …and often it is essential to keep their coat clean and healthy, especially for long-haired cats. Also in moulting times, bathing together with daily brushing will help to remove those dead hairs from the undercoat and thus prevent them from sticking all over our house.
We must distinguish between the baths we do to keep our cat clean and with a healthy hair aspect (more or less once a month) and the baths of those cats that are going to go to exhibitions, which logically will be done more often and in a more “conscientious” way (where we must also take into account that “each master has his book” and there are different opinions and different products used by each one. I will refer to the first ones.
The ideal is to get the cat used to the bathroom from a very young age, this will make things easier since it will soon get used to this routine. We must bear in mind that the bath must never be a traumatic process for our feline, for that reason we must speak to him in smooth and affectionate tone with the purpose of tranquilizing it, without making abrupt movements and avoiding noises that can scare it
Some important points before the bath:
– We must have all the material ready: towel for the subsequent drying, shampoos, and the water already ready and at the right temperature (neither too cold nor too hot).
– It is advisable before beginning the bath to cut the cat’s claws to avoid greater evils (it is very common that the cat wants to escape and grabs at us (the one that more and the one that less if it can escape does it).
– Also it is very important to give him a good brushing before the bath and to make sure that he goes to the shower without any knot in his hair (if some of them exist not only it would not be removed but it would entangle more the hair and it would become bigger)
-We must watch well the temperature of the bath area, usually the bathroom, that the area is not too cold because we can catch a cold cat; if so and a little before starting the bath we can turn on a small heater.
Once everything prepared, I expose next the own steps of the bath:
1.1 Rinse the cat well
We can do it in the bathtub with the shower tap or in a specific place destined for it. There we put to the cat already with the faucet of the shower prepared to the correct temperature and we hold it smoothly by the spine to avoid its possible leaks.
We began to wet it uniformly by all the body (back, legs, neck, belly) excepting the face, that is the zone for him more disagreeable and that we will leave for the end.
1.2 Apply degreaser (optional)
In the specialized market there are products exclusively dedicated to eliminate that greasy aspect of the hair, which makes the hair cleaner and silkier. Used especially by exhibitors and applied to cats that are going to leave the exhibition. It is not necessary to apply it always, but it is advisable to use it occasionally.
When the cat is well wet we apply the degreaser (it is recommended to dilute 50% of the product in water, obtaining this way a greater penetration in all the hair) and we distribute it well by all its body applying a soft massage.
1.3 Rinse with plenty of water by removing all debris
(we can repeat again points 2 and 3 for a better penetration and effect of the degreaser)
1.4 Aplicar Champú
There are many specific brands in the market, many of them divided according to the type and color of the hair, and there are also color intensifiers. Many of us also use specific shampoos for humans and many with excellent results.
We will now give the first soap shampoo with a small massage, spreading it well throughout your body until it creates a lather.
(if you wish you can also repeat the operation here, but we must take care that the cat does not spend excessive time in the shower)
1.6 Apply conditioner (optional)
Some breeders and exhibitors apply a specific final conditioner or special softening creams, as they consider that with it the hair can be smoother and silkier, making it easier to comb. It is applied in the same way as the shampoo and is left to act for 1 or 2 minutes.
It’s also true that many other exhibitors omit the conditioner in time of exhibition because they consider that the cat is in better condition and with a more voluminous hair when they don’t use it .
1.7 Final clarification.
Whether the conditioner has been used or not, it is very important now not to leave any shampoo residue, so we must rinse with plenty of water, until we are sure we have removed all the remains.
Once well rinsed, we will take the cat holding it with our hands and we will drain it a little to eliminate this way part of the water.
Then we will place it on the towel that previously we had prepared and we will rub it well to remove the greater possible humidity to him, which will facilitate the later drying. Once this is done we can go to the dryer.
First we must have prepared all the tools we will use (mainly hand dryer and comb).
There are many cats that get scared when they first face the dryer and especially when they turn it on, so it can help to turn on the dryer before taking the cat.
We can use a normal hand dryer (the more powerful the better) although there are also professional dryers and air ejectors on the market. One of the advantages of these professional dryers is that it allows us to leave our hands free and so we can handle the cat better.
About this say that there are cats that tolerate more or less the dryer, some will tolerate it without any problem and others will tolerate it on but without movement. If for these last ones we are going to use a normal dryer, the ideal is to be able to place a “dryer holder” similar to the one in the photo below obtaining a “hands free” similar to the professional dryer-extractors.
If we can not get one, what you can do is leave the dryer immobile on a towel and put the cat in the direction of air, or try those small heaters used for the bath that release hot air and make very little noise.
But without a doubt the most comfortable option and especially indicated for beginners is to do it in pairs: One holds the dryer and the other combs and manipulates the cat.
We will start drying it. While one holds the dryer the other will comb it gently with the comb, separating the hairs until each hair is “loose” and free (hence the saying that “you have to brush it hair by hair”).
Watch out for the dryer temperature!
If it’s too hot and we leave it fixed in the same spot it can hurt it and that obviously won’t please it at all. We can start with a warm-hot temperature and end with a cooler air.
We will begin to dry him by the neck, back and sides. Our movements with the comb have to be precise and constant to make the drying easier and we will comb it mainly against the hair, which will leave it looking bulkier and more “fluffy”.
There are some more sensitive areas for the cat (face, forehead, neck and in some tails and extremities) that most do not like at all, these parts we can leave for the end and give them occasionally.
We must also pay special attention to its back area (be careful not to hurt it with the comb, we must lift its tail to have more visibility) and its extremities and the armpit area where it is very common the presence of small knots. To comb these areas we must pass the comb very carefully, if it is left we can try to put the cat “belly up” if not, we can put it standing on the back legs holding it by the front (while one holds the other dry and comb)
Finally we will take care of the tail and the legs.
We will also comb the tail against or in favor of the hair (depending on the finish we want to give it), but the most important thing is that each of the hairs that make up the tail are “loose”.
For the legs we will use preferably the card, combing them against the hair until they are well dried.
It is also a very good option to give these areas “at times” during the drying process, so that at the end with a small review will be enough.
3. The hairstyle
The hairstyle should be done daily. We should always have a moment a day to brush and comb our cat. When he gets used to it he will find it pleasant and this will be the best way so that the hair does not get tangled and consequently the unwanted “knots” do not appear (besides being not very aesthetic the knots will make the hair pull the skin and that will bother him).
The most recommended combs are like the ones shown in the picture, with long and thin tips that will make them penetrate well and allow us to remove all the dead hair.
Cards can also be used as a complement to the comb, but be careful not to abuse them as they can pull out a lot of hair.
3.3 How to comb it (steps)
– We will start first by combing the neck area (the “necklace”) by combing it down, eliminating all possible knots that we find.
– We will continue to the area of the neck and the body, always combing it in the direction of the hair, if you want in the end we can do it against the hair to give more volume (very common action between the exhibitors in the previous moment of presenting the cat to the judge)
– Finally the back will be carefully combed from top to bottom. (being careful not to hurt “your parts”)
Special attention is required when combing the tail, combing it against the hair or in favor of the hair, depending on the finish we want to give it. The tail does not need to be combed daily as long as the hair is loose and without knots (doing it once a week will be enough to keep it in good condition). The abuse of brushing the tail can facilitate the appearance of grease, especially in whole cats (not castrated) and it is also possible that we take a lot of hair, leaving a tail consequently “unpopulated” which does not favor it either.