Whether you adopted a specific breed of cat knowing it will have a long coat, or were surprised to find out your short-haired kitten grew into a fluffy cat, preventing mats and hairballs is critical. Regular care is necessary to keep your cat healthy and tangle-free.
Hair Ball Prevention
There are many products on the market to minimize the negative impacts of hairballs in your cat's digestive system. Hairballs can cause constipation or become a choking hazard in cats. Since cats groom themselves regularly, long-haired cats are especially vulnerable to swallowing copious amounts of fur. One option is to buy retail hairball prevention treatments. They are available in different flavors and you might have to experiment with different varieties to see what your cat likes.
The goal is to find a flavor you can mix in with their food and it goes unnoticed. If you have multiple cats in your home, you might have to give your short-haired cats some of this medication, but possibly not as often. Cats tend to groom each other and your short-haired cats may develop hairballs from grooming the long-haired one. Some cat foods are specifically formulated for long-haired breeds, which can make preventing hairballs easier. Using these types of food can be a little easier if you can introduce them in the beginning, since some cats can be finicky about changes in their food.
Brush Early And Often
Keeping your cat well-brushed is also important for minimizing the amount of hair they ingest and preventing their fur from tangling. Use brushes specifically designed for cats with longer fur so you can adequately untangle their undercoat and remove shed fur that can be nestled within their undercoat. When you start brushing early, your cat is less likely to squirm or feel uncomfortable with the process. Try just incorporating brushing into part of your regular petting. If your cat is not especially fond of long brushing or petting sessions, brushing a little each day might be enough to keep problems from developing.
Find A Groomer
Ideally, you will find a groomer who specializes in grooming long-haired cats. It is even better if they only groom cats because it can be less stressful on your cat if there are not dogs around. Take your groomer's suggestion regarding how often you need to return. Depending on the length of your cat's fur, you might need professional grooming every few months. When mats and tangles develop, it only makes the grooming process more painful and stressful to the cat. In some cases, a cat that is not especially tolerant of grooming may need sedation, which adds to the expense. When long-haired cats are not groomed regularly, they can become especially smelly because body oils and excrement becomes trapped in their fur. At minimum, you want the fur around their hind legs and tail to be routinely trimmed to keep them clean.
Long-haired cats can be especially beautiful, but they require extra work to keep them clean and healthy. Discover more about preventative strategies and grooming sessions can minimize most problems.