By LaDean Gordon, CFMG
For many years, and even today, the age old misconception that cats groom themselves is a challenge to the cat grooming professional. We hear it all the time, “cats groom themselves. That is what their tongues are for.” Well, while it is true that cats lick themselves, they do not lick themselves for cleanliness.
There are 3 reasons that cats “groom” themselves:
- For comfort
- To cool themselves
- Survival (as in to remove bits of prey from their coats so it does not attract other predators)
We also hear “they have rough tongues to ‘comb’ their hair and remove dead coat.”
True, cats do have rough tongues. We will not argue that. If you look into the biological reason for this feature though, you will find as according to PetMD, “The center of a cat’s tongue is covered with small, backward-facing barbs known as filiform papillae. These papillae contain keratin, and serve several functions. First, they are used to help rasp and scrape flesh from the bones of their prey.”
So while the Papillae does remove dead coat, the cats are ingesting the hair, which cannot be digested. Since the hair cannot be digested, it has to come out somehow and normally we end up with vomit on the living room rug………… YUCK.
If it so happens that your feline family member cannot pass their ingested hair either into the litter box or onto something you love, then it will almost always end up coming out on the surgical table costing thousands of dollars in vet bills.
Dirt and grease also build up on the cat’s skin, even when they lick themselves you will notice that they lick mostly the outer layer of coat, not often moving the coat to get to the actual skin. This allows sebum to build up as well as dirt to be trapped on the skin causing the skin to have less oxygenation.
We all know that skin is an organ, as a matter a fact it is our largest organ, it is also our cat’s largest. If our largest organ cannot “breathe” properly, how does that make us feel? I know when I put too much lotion on my skin feel suffocated. I can imagine that my cat’s skin would feel the same with the greasy sebaceous secretions that build up.
Another thing we hear often is “My cat scratches his/her posts all the time. They don’t need their nails trimmed.” Again, we know that cats scratch things often – but it is not to “file down” the nails, they are actually marking their territory as well as removing the dead Keratin layers from the new nail growth.
This sharpens and elongates the nails but does nothing to help prevent the nails from growing into the paw pads if left unattended. This can lead to veterinarian care for punctures in the pads and possible infection.
Professional grooming on a regular basis helps remove dead coat so there is less ingestion of hair, removes grease and dirt to allow the skin to breath, and keeps nails trimmed so that they can never grow long enough to penetrate the pads of the feet.
We do not write this as merely cat groomers, but also as cat owners, cat lovers and crazy cat ladies. We have a passion for knowledge and a passion for cats which leads us to research and educate ourselves as much as we can so that we can better care for our own feline family members, as well as yours.
To learn more about how having your feline groomed can benefit the overall health and happiness of your purr baby, contact the professionals at Purrocious Styles Feline Designs.
About the author:
LaDean Gordon, CFMG is the owner of Purrocious Styles Feline Designs. Ms. Gordon received her training from the National Cat Groomers Institute of America, Inc. and obtained our Certified Feline Master Groomer certification after passing a total of nine exams that include both in-depth written material and actual hands-on grooming. They are the only certified cat groomers in the Hampton Roads area providing a quality of cat grooming Hampton Roads has never seen the likes of until now.
Purrocious Styles Feline Designs is here to make your cat look and feel better and do it in the safest and most efficient way possible.
971-808-CATS (2287) www.purrocious.services
Let us create the purrfect style for your purrfect feline!