How to groom a cat at home

So is it time for your cat to have a much-needed groom, but you are unsure how to groom a cat at home? Not to worry, as here is a step-by-step guide on how to groom a cat to help have your little furry friend smelling fresh and looking glamorous.

Cat grooming may seem daunting to begin with, especially if your cat is not too fond of attention and water. However, by following these simple instructions, you can ensure your cat will be the cleanest and prettiest feline in town. 

Note: If you’re still not overly confident about grooming your cat at home once you have read through this guide, professional cat grooming services are the best option.  

Tools you’ll need for cat grooming

The good news is you don’t need many tools and products when grooming a cat, and what you do need can be used repeatedly. With all things in life, it’s wise to invest in good quality products that will last more than a groom or two while making the task easier.

  • Nail clippers - to give those sharp claws a trim

  • Scissors - to remove nasty tangles and clean up around the ears, eyes, nose, and those hard-to-reach places

  • Shampoo - to clean the fur, promote natural oils, and add a pleasant scent to your cat’s coat

  • A large dry towel - for a post-wash drying

  • Hairdryer - to make the drying job much easier, if your cat doesn’t mind

  • Mat - to prevent slipping in the sink, tub, or bath

How long does it take to groom a cat? 

The time needed to groom a cat at home depends on the cat’s co-operation and overall condition. Essentially, a cat grooming session can take anywhere from 1 hour for a neat and calm cat needing a freshen, up to 4 hours for a cat that has let itself go and is restless. 

If your cat dislikes grooming, the task becomes more challenging and takes more time and patience. Likewise, if the cat has gone too long without grooming and is a matted mess with claws like wolverine, well, you will need more time, and it will take a lot more effort, but it will be worth it!

If you opt to use a professional cat groomer with the right equipment and products, cat grooming may take 1.5 to 2.5 hours, depending on the size of the job.

How to groom a cat at home in 5 steps 

1. Brushing your cat’s coat

brushing a cat

Brush your cat regularly to ensure your cat’s coat is tidy all year round. The importance of brushing cannot be underestimated as it removes dirt and debris, untangles fur, and spreads healthy natural oil throughout the cat’s coat. 

A routine brush also makes grooming a lot easier when that time comes, saving you and your cat a lot of time trying to get rid of knotting and matting. 

Remember: Always be careful when brushing around your cat’s face, chest, and belly.

How to brush short-haired cats:

  • Brush once a week
  • Work in a head to tail motion
  • Use a metal brush to remove loose fur
  • Use a brush with bristles to remove dead fur

How to brush long-haired cats:

  • Brush daily
  • Work in an upward motion starting from the legs and belly
  • Use a metal brush to remove loose fur
  • Use a brush with bristles to remove dead fur
  • Part the fur down the cat’s spine and tail, and brush each side evenly

2. Dematting or trimming the cat’s fur

trimming a cat's fur

Dematting is necessary when regular brushing hasn’t occurred or if your cat likes to get in messy situations. Unfortunately, dematting is not always easy, as the cat may find the experience unsettling. But dematting needs to be done nonetheless.

If possible, wait until your cat is comfortable and untangle the fur with your fingers. Any lump of hair that cannot be saved can be trimmed using scissors, making future brushing easier. 

As grooming a cat with matted hair can be challenging, a local cat groomer may be the best option if the job gets too much.

3. Bathing your cat 

bathing a cat

You should wash your cat every 4-6 weeks. However, there are also other signs to look for that may require bathing sooner. If your cat’s coat feels oily, sticky, or smells unappealing, it’s best to get them into the water sooner rather than later. 

It’s important to find a brand of shampoo suited for cats, and it doesn’t hurt to go a step further and find one that suits your cat’s fur length for optimum results.

How to bathe a cat:

  • Brush out as much loose hair as possible to prevent fur from clogging the drain.
  • Put down a mat to help your cat stand on the bath, tub, or sink flooring safely.
  • Fill the tub with warm water. Be sure it’s not too hot or cold as it can harm your cat’s skin and make the bathing task more challenging.
  • Calmly wet your cat either using a hose, jug, or bucket, and be sure to avoid getting water in the cat’s eyes, ears, and nose.
  • Massage a small amount of shampoo through the cat’s fur, starting from the neck down to the tail.
  • Rinse all the shampoo from the cat’s fur, avoiding the face.
  • Dry your cat thoroughly and let them rest somewhere warm.

4. Drying your cat 

drying a cat with a towel

Dry your cat as soon as possible with a large dry towel. A hairdryer on the lowest setting is another good way to quickly dry the wet fur, but only use one if your cat allows it and doesn’t seem distressed. 

Drying is also an excellent time to check the cat for any irregularities on her skin, like cuts, bumps, and balding. These irregularities may indicate allergies, stress, or other health issues. 

Once touch-dry, let your cat rest in a warm room of the house or in the sun to allow its coat and skin to dry completely.

How to dry a cat:

  • Lay down a large dry towel on a flat surface.
  • Place your freshly washed cat on the towel.
  • Use the towel to dry the cat’s fur.
  • If suitable, use a hairdryer on a low setting to blow-dry your cat.
  • Wrap the cat in a large towel to absorb any excess water and warm its coat.
  • Let your cat rest in a warm place.

5. Clipping your cat’s nails

clipping a cat's nails

Many cat owners wait until they get a nasty little claw scratch before they remember to clip their cat’s nails. However, similar to brushing and bathing, the more frequently you clip your cat’s claws, the easier it is to maintain. Regular nail clipping also helps your cat get more comfortable with the experience. 

Claw maintenance should be performed approximately every 2 weeks; However, how often you clip your cat’s nails depends on how fast they grow.

Cat nail clipping is not always an easy task, so make it a playful one to help your cat feel safe. Giving treats can help make things more relaxed. 

How to clip a cat’s claws:

  • Gently apply pressure to the cat’s foot until the claws can be seen.
  • Use a nail trimmer designed for cat claws.
  • Only cut the white tip of the claw; Never clip the inner pink area as it has blood vessels and nerves.
  • Styptic powder is good to have in case there is an accident and bleeding occurs.
  • Give the cat a treat at completion to acknowledge its good co-operation.

Also read: Cat Care 101 - Tips for grooming your cat at home, grooming an anxious cat, house training, and more

It’s time to groom your cat 

These easy-to-follow steps on how to groom a cat at home are all you need to have your cat looking neat, tidy, and fresh. The first few times are always tricky for both cat and cat owner. However, over time and with the right tools, you can become a competent home cat groomer in no time.

If you are still unsure if cat grooming is the job for you, you can hire a Tasker to do it. Airtasker connects you with all sorts of cat care solutions, including professional cat grooming, cat sitting, and cat boarding services, so put up a task today!

FAQs on how to groom a cat

Even though cats are known to self groom, they still need periodic grooming, including brushing, dematting, trimming, bathing, drying, and claw clipping. Thorough grooming stimulates the skin to produce oil which helps strengthen their furry coat. Grooming also removes loose hair and dirt and leaves your cat clean to avoid infection and illness.

Whether you choose to groom a cat at home or take it to the groomer, a cat should be fully groomed every 4-6 weeks. If you decide to take your cat to a groomer, discuss the best grooming maintenance schedule with them, as it will vary depending on your cat’s fur length, age, and domesticated lifestyle.

Persian cat grooming at home is not too different from the step-by-step guide above. You can follow the same brushing instructions for brushing a long-haired cat. However, it is advised to use a wide-tooth comb to catch any missed tangles and matted fur for the best final brushing results. Alternatively, you can always hire a cat groomer who specializes in grooming Persian cats.

You should try to groom your cat when it is relaxed, and it may be a trial and error situation. Maybe after dinner is the best time when your cat is sleepy or maybe in the morning after a good night’s sleep and some breakfast. You will soon know if they are not in the mood or are distressed, which may mean you need to try again another day until you find the perfect time for grooming your cat.

Even though cats are known to self groom, they still need periodic grooming, including brushing, dematting, trimming, bathing, drying, and claw clipping. Thorough grooming stimulates the skin to produce oil which helps strengthen their furry coat. Grooming also removes loose hair and dirt and leaves your cat clean to avoid infection and illness.

Persian cat grooming at home is not too different from the step-by-step guide above. You can follow the same brushing instructions for brushing a long-haired cat. However, it is advised to use a wide-tooth comb to catch any missed tangles and matted fur for the best final brushing results. Alternatively, you can always hire a cat groomer who specializes in grooming Persian cats.

Whether you choose to groom a cat at home or take it to the groomer, a cat should be fully groomed every 4-6 weeks. If you decide to take your cat to a groomer, discuss the best grooming maintenance schedule with them, as it will vary depending on your cat’s fur length, age, and domesticated lifestyle.

You should try to groom your cat when it is relaxed, and it may be a trial and error situation. Maybe after dinner is the best time when your cat is sleepy or maybe in the morning after a good night’s sleep and some breakfast. You will soon know if they are not in the mood or are distressed, which may mean you need to try again another day until you find the perfect time for grooming your cat.