You’ve heard it before—cats are meticulous groomers. They can’t stand to be dirty, they’re constantly cleaning themselves and they’re great to have as household pets because of that.
But how much of what you hear is actually true? We decided to separate the fact from the fiction when it comes to cats and their cleanliness.
Here’s what we found out.
All Cats Hate Water
Convention would dictate that it would probably be easier to keep cats clean if we could just stick them in a bath from time to time. But cats hate water, right? Turns out that myth is false. While it’s true that certain cats will hate the water (say, those who have been disciplined with spray bottles), others might actually love it. In fact, the Turkish Van cat is one breed that tends to particularly love the water. While you may only need to bathe your cat occasionally, consider introducing your feline friend to the water when she’s young, if you can, so she’ll grow up accustomed to spending time in it.
You’ll Need to Trim Your Cats Nails
Cats use their claws in the wild to protect themselves, and as such they instinctively feel very protective over them. Even so, from time to time you will indeed need to trim your cat’s nails, which makes this myth oh so very true. When do you have to trim your cat’s claws, be sure to use the tool that works best for you (some people use special scissors that hold their cat’s claw in place while trimming, while others use a simple pair of human clippers), and keep the blade sharp. Try holding your cat in the crook of one arm, with her paw in your other hand, and gently clip her nails. Just be careful of the “quick,” or the pink part visible in your cat’s nail. The quick is sensitive and will most likely bleed if cut.
Cats Groom Themselves
In fact, cats spend about 50% of their waking hours grooming, so this myth is actually true. There are a bunch of reasons why cats are methodical groomers. For example, when your cat licks his fur, he is actually distributing natural oils evenly around his coat, which guards against dampness and helps to seal in heat. Cat saliva is also believed to contain enzymes which are a natural antibiotic, meaning if your cat licks a wound, he could be attempting to protect himself from infection.
Cats Don’t Need Additional Grooming
While it’s true that cats are fastidious groomers, it’s inherently false that they need no additional grooming because of it. A cat is an animal, and as such is bound to get dirty and smelly from time to time, and they can get fleas and dry skin as well. The National Cat Groomers Institute of America and the Cat Fanciers Association recommend that long-haired cats be groomed every 4-6 six weeks, medium-haired cats every 6-8 weeks and short-haired cats every 8-12.
Image: Oxymoronical / via Flickr