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September 18, 2018

Buddy & Porky’s Pet Health: Long-Haired Cats


Dear Porky, I just adopted a long haired cat and I know I will need to brush her to keep her clean and healthy, but I don’t know much about that. Do you have any tips?

Lynn

Dear Lynn,

Rule No 1 about brushing—from your cat’s perspective it has nothing whatsoever to do with cleanliness or health. Do not even go there. It is all about pleasure and nothing else. Sure the side effects are cleanliness and health, but unless you understand the primacy of the pleasure principle, brushing will be an ordeal for both of you and nobody wants to have to brush a very annoyed cat.

So make sure that you pick a time to start getting her used to brushing when she is happy and relaxed. If she is less than enthused at first, start slowly and for very short sessions. Never let this great bonding activity become annoying.

All of that said, here is how to do it. Long-haired cats who live indoors with artificial light and heating shed throughout the year and need grooming sessions every few days to remove dead hair and prevent tangles. Start with kitty’s abdomen and legs, gently combing the fur upward toward her head. Comb the neck fur upward, too, toward her chin. Finally, make a part down the middle of her tail and gently brush out the fur on either side. You can sprinkle talcum powder over knots and gently use your fingers to tease them apart. If the knots don’t come out by hand, try using a mat-splitter. But once again, slow and pleasurable should be your motto, not clean and healthy.

Of course, it is true that brushing your cat removes dirt, grease and dead hair from her coat, and it helps to remove skin flakes and stimulates blood circulation, improving the overall condition of her skin. Just don’t mention that to her!

Dear Buddy,

I just adopted a golden retriever and I know that he will need to be brushed, but I have never had a long haired dog before. I know that brushing is important to keep him healthy and clean. Do you have any tips?

John

Dear John,

Rule No 1 about brushing—from your dog’s perspective it has nothing whatsoever to do with cleanliness or health. Do not even go there. It is all about playing and nothing else. Sure the side effects are cleanliness and health, but unless you understand that pretty much every thing you do with your puppy is about playing, brushing will be an ordeal for both of you and nobody wants to be brushed by an annoyed human.

Grooming sessions should always be fun, so be sure to schedule them when your dog’s relaxed, especially if he’s the excitable type. Until your pet is used to being groomed, keep the sessions short—just 5 to 10 minutes. Gradually lengthen the time until it becomes routine for your dog. You can help him get comfortable with being touched and handled by making a habit of petting every single part of your dog, including such potentially sensitive areas as the ears, tail, belly, back and feet.

Here’s how to do it. If your dog has a long, luxurious coat, such as that of a Golden retriever, he’ll need daily attention:
– Every day you’ll need to remove tangles with a slicker brush.
– Gently tease mats out with a slicker brush.
– Next, brush his coat with a bristle brush.
– Also be sure to comb through his tail and the fur around the hocks and feet.

Don’t bother to tell him this, because he really really doesn’t care, but regular grooming with a brush or comb will help keep your pet’s hair in good condition by removing dirt, spreading natural oils throughout his coat, preventing tangles and keeping his skin clean and irritant-free.

And here’s the most important tip of all—pile on the praise and offer him a treat when the session is finished! And have fun!

The Oswego County Humane Society provides spay/neuter assistance, information and referral, adoption assistance to pet owners, humane education programs, foster care and adoption for pets in urgent need, assistance with lost and found pets. Our administrative offices and spay/neuter clinic are located at 265 West First Street, Oswego, New York. Check our web site at www.oswegohumane.org or call (315) 207-1070 for more information or to be placed on our mailing list for our newsletter

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