When a kitten is very young, you have likely witnessed the mother cat constantly grooming the youngsters with her tongue. She pays careful attention to their daily care and grooming. It is her natural instinct to do so. But once a kitten is adopted out or is otherwise away from their mother, is it still necessary to take care of the kitten’s hygiene?
Many new kitten owners ask us about this very important issue. This is why the team at Redwood Veterinary Hospital is here to provide you some tips on how to groom your kitten with care and ease. Keep reading to learn more!
Kitten Hygiene 101
There are several things to consider when caring for a new kitten, such as safety around the home, proper nutrition, and yes – keeping them clean. Since cats are fastidious self-groomers, you may not consider grooming your kitten to be a priority, but it is. Like most babies, kittens and puppies aren’t adept at doing the things they rely on their mamas to accomplish, which is why you must be their surrogate mother.
As your kitten grows into adulthood, they will be able to navigate those difficult to reach places like the head and behind. In order to keep your sweetie clean and healthy, follow some of these easy cleaning tips.
- Gather a washcloth that is soft and doesn’t become abrasive when wet, a gentle kitten shampoo, some tissues, and a fluffy, dry towel.
- Using a damp, warm (not hot) washcloth with a dab of shampoo, start cleaning your kittens back. Using top to bottom strokes. Ensure your kitten doesn’t get too soapy, as this will be harder to get out.
- If your kitten is comfortable, move to their head and face, working your way down the neck. Avoid getting shampoo and water in their eyes, as this can be irritating and cause discomfort.
- Continue washing down the torso, legs, and under the tail.
- Make sure that your kitten is free of any soap residue. You may want to place them in a very shallow pan of warm water to ensure they are rinsed.
- Grab your soft towel and gently pat dry your kitten. Stay in a warm place in the home with them until the fur is dry and they are comfortable.
Caring for Your Kitten’s Coat
Daily brushing or combing is a great way to encourage good coat health. Find a soft brush or comb designed for kittens. Brush your kitten in the direction of fur growth to remove any dead fur or tangles. Don’t pull on the fur, though. This gentle daily routine can help you bond with your kitten as well as keep their coat shining.
Trimming the Nails
Work with your veterinarian on how to trim your kitten’s nails and how much. We recommend using a guillotine type nail clipper for cats and only trim the very ends of your kitty’s nails to avoid cutting into the quick, or the pink portion of the nails that contain blood vessels.
Ears, Eyes, and Nose
These sensitive parts of your cat’s anatomy also get dirty more often. Use a warm, wet cloth and dab around your kitten’s eyes to remove any debris. Keep the nose dry and clean by dabbing a cotton ball or clean rag around the nose.
The nose should be moist and cool to the touch without excess discharge. To clean your kitten’s ears (which don’t need to be done more than once or twice a month), use a gentle ear cleanser for cats. Squirt a tiny amount of the cleanser in the canal and use a cotton ball (never a Q-tip) to clean up around the entry of the ear.
Brushing Your Kitten’s Teeth
Getting your kitten used to a regular tooth brushing routine is a wonderful step you can take to contribute to lifelong oral hygiene and dental health. It’s actually easier to get a kitten started off on a tooth brushing routine than an adult cat, so keep this in mind as good motivation.
Find the toothbrush that is designed for young kittens, as well as a cat formulated toothpaste. There are several good instructional videos on brushing a kitten’s teeth online and we invite you to come in with your sweet kitten for their wellness checkup so we can show you the ropes.
If you have questions or concerns about grooming your kitten or maintaining the best health possible for them, please call us. We look forward to meeting your cute little companion soon.