Grooming a long-haired cat in 5 steps

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Grooming a long-haired cat may seem like an intimidating task, but it’s a necessary step to take when you own one. Otherwise, a cute, furry cat may end up having painful skin conditions due to a matted coat. Good thing it’s possible to take care of your long-haired cat at home without incurring steep grooming costs.

If you want to know how to groom your long-haired cat yourself, what tools you need, how long it will take, and more, you’ll find the answers in this cat grooming guide!

Tools you need to groom a long-haired cat

  • Wire brush – for combing out loose fur and gently brushing out mats without pain
  • Undercoat comb – untangles and removes loose hair in the undercoat while getting rid of dirt
  • Flea comb – has fine bristles to help you find and eliminate fleas from your long-haired cat
  • Talcum powder or cornstarch – prepares the matted fur for dematting
  • Cat shampoo – aids in maintaining a clean, healthy coat without leaving the skin dry
  • A large soft towel – snuggly dries your cat after a bath
  • Blow dryer – for a faster post-bath drying process
  • Nail clippers – keeps your cat’s claws well-groomed

How long will grooming my long-haired cat take?

Grooming a long-haired cat can take one hour to almost half a day. Long-haired cats require more extensive care than their short-haired or medium-haired counterparts. That’s why it’s recommended you groom your long-haired cat on a day when you’re not packed with other commitments or errands. 

The time it takes to groom a long-haired cat depends on the following factors: 

  • Your cat’s disposition and willingness to cooperate. If your cat tends to become unruly at the sight of a bath, you already know it’ll be a challenging few hours. 
  • The gravity of the task at hand. Does your cat need a simple nail clipping and brushing? Or have your cat’s mats been left unattended for a long time? 

If your pet needs urgent care and you cannot attend to its demanding grooming needs, you can count on an experienced cat groomer to get the furry job done.

How do I groom my long-haired cat?

Step 1: Brush your long-haired cat’s coat.

brushing long-haired cat

No matter what type of cat you have, regularly brushing them will help keep their coats tidy and smooth. However, long-haired cats especially require daily combing and brushing.

Follow these steps when brushing your long-haired cat: 

  • Make your cat rest on a comfortable surface and bring it to a calm state. 
  • Once soothed, run down the wire brush through your cat’s body. Get significant tangles fixed, but be mindful not to hurt your cat; Some knots are way too close to the skin that there’s a danger of tearing your cat’s skin if you brush it forcefully. 
  • Focus on mat-prone areas such as the armpits, around the ears, and legs. 
  • Next, use an undercoat brush to remove dirt and shredded hair in the deeper parts of its fur. 
  • If your cat has flea problems, you can also use the finer bristles of a flea comb to solve that.

Since their coats are thicker, cats with long hair need everyday brushing to remove dirt, tangles, and dead hair. Daily brushing reduces the chances of matted fur. Plus, this practice helps spread healthy essential oils throughout your cat's coat.

While you try to manage your cat’s fluffiness every day, don’t forget to look around the house for pesky cat hair. Examine your couch and see if it needs to be freshened up by professional couch cleaners.

Step 2: Deal with your long-haired cat’s matted fur.

dematting a cat with a brushOut of all the steps, dematting your long-haired cat may be the most challenging part of DIY grooming. When done wrong, your pet can get hurt and traumatised. For this reason, it’s essential to know the risks and guidelines for a pleasant dematting session.

If you want to demat your cat:

  • Assess the condition of its coat first. Identify which tangles can be easily fixed and which ones are far worse.
  • Concentrate only on the manageable knots and let a professional cat groomer deal with the worst mats.

Never wet the matted area before dematting because water will only dry out and tighten the knot further. You may put some cornstarch or talcum powder on the matted fur to soften it, then use your fingers to fix the knot gently. Once untangled, brush the hair downwards until smooth. 

Step 3: Give your cat a nice bath.

bathing a black cat in a tub

Start bathing your long-haired cat by gently wetting them with lukewarm water, avoiding the face. Get an ample amount of cat shampoo, and massage it through the coat and body. Then, rinse your cat thoroughly with clean lukewarm water once the shampoo has reached all key areas, excluding the face. Take a wet washcloth and gently pat your cat's face instead of pouring water directly. 

Step 4: Dry your long-haired cat. 

towel drying a cat

After bathing, bring your cat to a warm area. Then, grab a large soft towel and wrap it around your damp long-haired cat. Gently pat the towel on your cat to absorb moisture.

You may also use a blow dryer at low heat mode to quicken the drying process, but watch out for your cat’s reaction as this may be a stressful experience for them.

Step 5: Trim your cat’s nails.

trimming a long-haired cat's nails

Don’t wait for your long-haired cat to scratch you with its insanely long claws. Make it a habit to trim your pet’s nails every two weeks or as needed.

To have a smooth nail-clipping process, make sure to put your cat at ease first. Play with their feet tenderly and speak with a soothing voice. You may also give treats to encourage good behaviour when grooming.

Here’s how to trim your cat’s nails: 

  • Once your cat is calm, gently press the cat’s foot until you see the claws. 
  • Then, grab the cat nail clipper and start cutting only the white tip of each nail one by one. 
  • Work your way through all four feet to ensure that your cat’s nails are just the right length.

Additional tips in caring for long cat hair 

It’s the owner’s responsibility to ensure the pet receives a proper diet and nutrition – aside from keeping the cat’s external appearance clean. Proper diet and nutrition largely help keep your long-haired cat’s coat and skin in tiptop shape. 

Having a well-groomed cat pays off. Apart from the affection you will receive, when your cat’s basic needs are met, they will be more likely to thrive in learning new skills and tricks. If you’re interested, you can talk to a professional cat trainer and discover the possibilities for your furry friend.

Not sure about DIY grooming for your long-haired cat?

The success of your DIY grooming session at home lies in you and your long-haired cat’s dynamics. It requires patience, effort, time, and compassion towards your cat since their well-being is basically in your hands. Continue equipping yourself with the proper knowledge and tools, set a schedule to follow, and ease your cat into this new routine for more favourable results.

Alternatively, if you’re still worried about doing all of these yourself, you can hire a Tasker to help you out. With Airtasker, you can easily connect with trusted cat groomers in the area, so put up a task today!

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FAQs on grooming a long-haired cat

How often to groom a long-haired cat varies from case to case. As the owner, you’ve got to consider your pet’s age, health condition, and lifestyle to determine its bathing schedule. Once a month is considered safe by many. Keep in mind, however, that you shouldn't bathe your cat too often, so you can avoid getting rid of natural oils.

As a general guideline, you should check if your cat needs a trim every month. Silky long-haired breeds need to be groomed every 6-8 weeks, while extremely hairy breeds require grooming every 4-6 weeks to prevent matting. If this schedule is too much to handle, you can contact a local cat groomer and discover even more grooming styles appropriate for your long-haired cat!

Despite their thick coats, long-haired cats adapt well to summer heat. However, in case you want to freshen up your cat over the hot season, you can have a professional cat groomer do the haircut. A cat groomer would know how much of your cat's coat needs to stay intact to prevent sunburns and other nasty skin conditions.

How often to groom a long-haired cat varies from case to case. As the owner, you’ve got to consider your pet’s age, health condition, and lifestyle to determine its bathing schedule. Once a month is considered safe by many. Keep in mind, however, that you shouldn't bathe your cat too often, so you can avoid getting rid of natural oils.

Despite their thick coats, long-haired cats adapt well to summer heat. However, in case you want to freshen up your cat over the hot season, you can have a professional cat groomer do the haircut. A cat groomer would know how much of your cat's coat needs to stay intact to prevent sunburns and other nasty skin conditions.

As a general guideline, you should check if your cat needs a trim every month. Silky long-haired breeds need to be groomed every 6-8 weeks, while extremely hairy breeds require grooming every 4-6 weeks to prevent matting. If this schedule is too much to handle, you can contact a local cat groomer and discover even more grooming styles appropriate for your long-haired cat!