Jennifer is a writer, editor, feminist, and Potterhead. She also loves her cat and studying cat behavior.
Assuring that your cat is properly groomed and clean is very important. If you're having difficulty choosing between a long-haired and a short-haired cat, hopefully this article can help you decide whether you will have the time and money for proper upkeep.
Grooming Your Cat
Your strategy for grooming your cat will depend on its hair length. It is going to be easy-going with short-haired cats, but there a few things you can do to tame the mane of your long-haired friend.
You do not have to brush them, though I bet your feline friend will insist. A simple pet brush (like a rubber glove brush) will give you bonding time with your feline and get rid of the shedding at the same time. However, keep in mind that there is usually more shedding with short hair. Is your home carpeted? Plan on vacuuming two to three times a week to keep the pet fur off of your furniture. While it is still suggested to bathe your short-haired cat, it's not such a big to-do as with long-haired cats, and you surely do not have to do it as often.
With medium hair length, the grooming is sometimes tedious, especially if your cat is prone to matting. Luckily, there are hair softeners and detanglers that will help with this. A great detangling brush I recommend is the Ultimate Touch Instant Mat & Tangle Remover. It says it's for dogs, but it's super cheap and can just as safely be used on your cat.
For a cat with long fur, there is usually less shedding, but the matting is so much worse. If you have a cat with long hair, and she is getting her tongue stuck trying to groom herself, you have a mat on your hands. Because of this, you simply have to be willing to groom her. Again, use a detangling brush. She will love the time you spend with her, and she will feel relieved when she can lick herself without knots!
It is suggested to give long-haired cats gentle baths, as anything too rough will knot the hair right back up. Imagine having to brush that out again. Give your cat a bath once a month, and make sure to wipe around the eyes, especially with cats that might have more eye stains than others. To get rid of these stains, I've heard that people use hydrogen peroxide, but I'm not sure I'd suggest that. Your best bet is to use a gentle dish soap.
Practicing good cat hygiene will assure that your pet will remain healthy for years to come. Cats are fairly clean creatures, but here is how you can help keep them out of litter trouble.
Short-haired cats are generally cleaner about the litter. They rarely get litter or feces stuck to their fur. If you do see it happening, however, their stool might be too soft, and this means that their diet isn't right. Keep in mind that hard food is usually better.
They may make a mess right next to the litter box with their digging, but a simple rubber mat can fix this. Just remember to vacuum or sweep it up often.
Medium and Long Hair
Unfortunately, these beauties are prone to getting litter residue stuck to their fur. Again, grooming will help your pet avoid this problem. Remember that the less matting there is in the fur, the less hair will drag in the litter box. Some owners will even trim their cat's tail or bottom to keep it out of the way.
Again, if you have a cat with medium length or long hair, you simply have to be willing to groom. This includes brushing out litter residue and trimming the fur away in appropriate areas.
Other Maintenance Tips: Clipping Claws
You should also consider trimming your cat's claws. Longer claws pick up litter more easily. This could lead to your kitty tracking litter and dirt throughout the house, which means more vacuuming and sweeping for you. Fortunately, some cats will bite their claws to keep them at a short length. My Prince Fredward does not, however, and he and I do a monthly clipping.
For proper clipping techniques, I highly suggest reading the Humane Society's article on Trimming a Cat's Claws. Trimming their claws every few weeks is an important part of maintaining your pet’s health and protects him, you, your family, and visitors as well as the sofa, curtains, and other furniture.
Do keep in mind that every cat is different. For my Prince Fredward, I have to have someone else hold him by the scruff of the neck, which seems to completely immobilize him. Then I gently hold one of his paws in one hand to stretch out his claws and clip with my other hand.
He might meow in protest after a while, but as long as I don't take too much time, he's fine. (And he always gets a treat after!)
I prefer small/medium clippers with rounded edges and without the guillotine. The Humane Society's article mentions a couple of different tools and each are safe. Use what you are most comfortable with. Trust me, your cat can tell if you're nervous about that sharp object in your hand.
Types of Long-Haired Cats
Persian and Himalayans are the most commonly recognized long-haired cats, but there are a few other breeds out there:
- Persians are gentle, quiet souls. They speak more with their eyes than with their meows, and they do well with children as long as the kids are as gentle as the cats themselves.
- Himalayans, bless their hearts, love attention and playtime, though you'll be more likely to see them lounging on your sofa than peering at you from the top of your furniture. They're pretty easy to get along with.
- British Longhairs are just gorgeous. Interestingly, they are not as common as the short-haired variety. My family had a blue/gray cat when I was younger. She was a short-haired one, but the British Longhair reminds me so much of her.
- The Tiffanie Cat is the best qualities of the Persian and the Burmese bred together. I think this is my favorite breed of long-haired cats. They are beautiful, and their breed name is almost dainty—of course, they can be either as dainty or as sturdy as cats will be. The best part? They're known to play fetch with you!
Cat and owner personalities are best matched when both can give what the other needs! Make sure to keep this in mind when adopting or purchasing.
Groom Like a Pro
Remember that whether you choose a long-haired or a short-haired cat, you must be willing to take the necessary steps for grooming and hygiene maintenance. It will not only keep your cat clean, but your house will be neat as well.
If you have any stories to share, please comment below. I'd love to hear about them. I will answer any questions about behavior as well, so don't hesitate to ask!
Good luck with your pet's maintenance!
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.
© 2011 Jennifer Kessner
Jennifer Kessner (author) from Pennsylvania on August 05, 2011:
Smeagols! That is absolutely adorable, =) and he sounds gorgeous. Thanks for the vote and comment, Kitty!
Kitty Fields from Summerland on August 05, 2011:
I have a ragdoll cat named Smeagols and he is definitely long-haired, but we love him so much. He is such a gorgeous cat. I like both long hair and short hair cats, but I think I like long hair cats just a teeny bit more! Voted up and awesome.
Jennifer Kessner (author) from Pennsylvania on July 19, 2011:
I completely agree! If I can ever afford the time and money, I'd love to get a Tiffanie cat, but any long hair breed would do. The bonding and grooming would be loads of fun. =) Thanks for the comment!
Kari_24 on July 19, 2011:
I have only ever had short-haired cats but I am determined to get a long-haired cat at least once in my life because I think they are so beautiful!
Jennifer Kessner (author) from Pennsylvania on July 12, 2011:
Thank you very much! =)
Tiggy sounds adorable! Glad to hear he's fervent about helping you out with the grooming. xD Good look with his future bad hair days. =)
CASE1WORKER from UNITED KINGDOM on July 12, 2011:
Lovely hub. I had to peer around Tiggy who had inconvenietly sat on the front of the screen for his bath.He says long hair is a bind as it is so difficult to keep clean and boy does he have bad hair days!
Reynold Jay from Saginaw, Michigan on July 12, 2011:
Yep cats are skittish sometimes. It was good to let the little fella look over the brush! Welcome to HUB writing. I enjoyed this very much. You have this laid out beautifully and it is easy to understand. Keep up the great HUBS. I must give this an “Up ONE and Useful.” I'm now your fan! RJ
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Jennifer Kessner (author) from Pennsylvania on July 12, 2011:
LOL! Cat personalities never fail to surprise me. xD When we first got Prince Fredward from my grandfather, he was already 4 years old, and I'm pretty sure he'd never been groomed at all let alone brushed.
When I bought a pet brush, he would get jumpy and skittish, and he even tried to bite me once. It was a matter of me showing the brush to him first so that he knew what it was and that it wouldn't hurt him, and then he'd let me brush him. I've experienced with different types of brushes too, to see which he prefers.
He prefers the rubber cat brush to the wire one, and he turns his nose up at combs and any other type of brush. Fortunately, his hair isn't too long, so I can get away with just a rubber brush.
Good luck if in the future you try to get Amy accustomed to it more or to any other kind of brush! I'm sure there are cats that just will never like brushing, and that's okay too. Good thing yours is short haired! =)
FloraBreenRobison on July 12, 2011:
My family has only ever had short haired cats. Amy hated getting brushed, period, until I found a fine tooth comb. Even then, she doesn't like her back being brushed. And don't try to brush her if she is not laying down.