Cat Tips

Animal rescue groups that focus on particular cat breeds are a great adoption resource. Follow-up counseling is often thorough, and fees are usually minimal.

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Expert Q&A

I have a 16-year-old cat that hates to be brushed. Do you have any suggestions?

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If your senior kitty was not regularly brushed at an early age, or if it had a bad experience during a grooming session, it could now be brush-phobic. Here are some tips: First, buy a good-quality brush appropriate for your cat’s type of fur. For example, pin brushes are good for long-haired coats, and soft-bristled brushes work better on shorthairs. Start the session by holding your cat and petting it as it prefers. With slow, gentle movements, introduce the brush without your cat seeing it. While your cat is facing forward on your lap, begin to brush its back area on each side, avoiding the more sensitive spine. Always brush from front to back, in the direction of your cat’s fur growth. Don’t pull on tangles -- which elderly long-haired felines are prone to get, since they can’t always groom themselves properly. It’s better to snip off tangles, far away from your cat’s skin, rather than brush through them. If your cat begins to get antsy, stop the grooming session and try it again at another time. The goal is to get your cat to associate such moments with pleasant experiences. Stay relaxed and quiet, always using gentle brushstrokes, because your cat is very sensitive to your own emotions and behaviors. Cats have extraordinary memories for both positive and negative experiences. When your cat learns to link brush time to good times, your problem will be solved.

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