The basics of kitten grooming
Why do you need to groom a kitten?
Introducing your kitten to grooming from an early age can be a great bonding experience for you and your new pet. Your kitten will also grow accustomed to being handled, which will make grooming less stressful for them, and calmer for you in the future.
How to brush a kitten
While kittens can often manage their own grooming routine, regular brushing can remove any dead hair and dirt build-up that could otherwise cause hairballs.
The appropriate frequency of brushing and necessary tools will depend on the type of coat.
Particular attention should be paid to the areas behind the ears, and under the chin and paws. These are the places where mats are most frequent, and are very difficult to unravel once formed
Mid-length and long hair
Conditioning sprays may be useful to help prevent mats in breeds with dense coats, such as the Norwegian Forest cat or Maine Coon.
Giving your kitten a bath
Kittens are known to be quite sensitive, so it's important to introduce them to the experience gently, making sure they are as comfortable as possible at all points. This should avoid negative behaviours around bathing in the future, and reduce stress any for your kitten.
How to bathe a kitten
- Wet your kitten with a sponge to start with, praising them as you do. If they don't react well, stop and try again a few days later until they are used to the process
- When your kitten is ready, run the bath with lukewarm, relatively shallow water - this should come up to your kitten's shoulders when standing
- Calmly and gently introduce your kitten to the water. Cats are very sensitive to loud noises and sudden movements, and any disruption could scare them
- Allow your kitten to settle into the water, again reassuring and praising them for their behaviour
- Gently wet your kitten, avoiding their eyes and ears. Massage shampoo into their coat, paying close attention to their tail, chest and legs
- Rinse away all of the shampoo by poring water over your kitten's back. If you're rinsing their head it's better to use a damp sponge or your hand, taking care around the eyes
How to dry a kitten's coat
Once clean, take your kitten out of the bath and wrap them in a fresh, warm towel. Pat them down gently, starting with the stomach and them moving over the back, tail and head.
If you wish to use a hairdryer, it's important to make sure the air is not too hot or cold, and that the noise doesn't startle your kitten. Never use a hairdryer on your kitten's head. Instead gently massage the area with a dry towel.