Grooming with a coarse metal comb and soft brush is essential for longhaired cats on a regular daily basis. The shorthaired breeds are less demanding, and their own licking usually keeps the coat spick and span. During the moulting season even the shorthaired cats can take in enough hairs to be troubled with furballs (see Furballs below), a problem that can arise at any time with the longhaired breeds. Apart from that, they can always get knots in the coat.
Ears should be checked at least once a month, watching for a typical dark brown, crumbly wax that often accompanies ear mite infestation. Most cats have ear mites at some time in their lives but there can be other causes of problems. Do consult your local Veterinary Surgeon about treatment.
Teeth should be checked from time to time. Look out for the build up of tartar on the teeth and suspect its presence where there is bad breath, also, look out for inflamed gums. If in doubt, ask your Veterinary Surgeon about the need for tooth scaling and, if an operation is necessary for any reason, it may be worthwhile having the teeth scaled while the cat is anaesthetized.
Feeding a dry food can prevent some dental problems. If your kitten has bad breath, salivates excessively or has difficulty eating, they may have a dental problem. If you suspect any problems consult your Veterinary Surgeon.See also: Tooth and Gum Conditions
Eyes are frequently involved in a number of diseases in the cat and injuries are quite common. Any discharge or obvious discomfort involving the eye warrants a visit to your Veterinary Surgeon without delay, as does an eye condition accompanied by loss of appetite.
Claws do not need clipping as a routine. Cats claws are regularly renewed, shedding the old claw, and leaving a new one underneath the old shell.
The process involves clawing and it is often useful to have a scratching post in the house for the kitten, if only to save the furniture.
Furballs occur due to the accumulation of loose hair in the stomach as a result of licking. Usually these hairs cause little problem, being either passed on through the gut or brought up as a slimy, extruded mass. Occasionally they can lead to constipation, which can be overcome by the use of liquid paraffin (always see your Veterinary Surgeon before attempting to use liquid paraffin).
If you neglect their grooming - knots in the coat are more likely in the longhaired breeds, so it is vital to establish your determination to carry out the job despite a kitten's objections. Let them get away with it and you will find it impossible to keep the coat in good order.
Unravel the knots, teasing them out a little at a time. If this is delayed, the knots will get larger and an even greater problem. Refrain from attempting to cut knots out - it is only too easy to cut skin at the same time. If the knots are really bad, your Veterinary Surgeon may decide to sedate the cat so that the coat can be groomed.
Baths are not normally necessary, but a cat may be bathed if it is essential.