Tuesday, January 17, 2012

When the Fur Flies

Attending to the needs of my cats isn't always easy. They have so many that one loses track of when one last attended to them. I try to groom them regularly now. I never used to, brushing them when I remembered to do so. Now, it's a weekly ritual, every Tuesday evening.

I don't actually brush them. I tried different brushes but some of the cats disliked them, and the ones who accepted the brushes, did so without enthusiasm. So I switched to the comb. For some reason, this appeals to them to a greater degree. They all like combing-time, but their behaviour may make one think otherwise.

Three of them will not stand stay put while I comb them. Tungsten tries to get away and seems not to want to be combed at all. Yet she purrs happily while I comb her. I have to be most careful with her; she feels like nothing but skin and bones under the comb's teeth, and so I am very gentle with her. She appears to like it but longs to leave at the same time. Then, when I move on to the other cats, she follows me, and clearly wants more. Frustrating creature. This is the result of a minute's combing of Tungsten.

Josie more evidently likes the feel of the comb. She will stay in one place for longer periods, lying on her side, twisting her head and brushing her face against the teeth of the instrument. Her purr will become loud and unabashed. Then she will stand, turn, walk away, push her fuzzy head against a chair leg, then wander back for further attention. This is not unusual behaviour for my Chubs, since she often does the same thing while I am petting her. Her fur becomes silky under the comb's movement, and I think she feels it to be a beauty treatment, as if she needed it. This is the result of a minute's combing of Josie.

Renn loves the comb and doesn't care who knows it. He's an emotional beast and, just as he grows excited at the prospect of a bath (mine, not his), so too does he wax exuberant under the comb's ministrations. His rough purr will begin. My big boy lies on his side, then on his back, ensuring that the comb will give him the chest-rub that he loves so much. Then he will get up and throw himself down again, rolling about, almost somersaulting in his enthusiasm. But not once will he move away, as the others do, and when his time is over, he will sit and watch wistfully while his roommates get their share. Renn's fur is long and tough, and I use more force in combing his than the others'; if I don't, he will barely feel the effects. This is the result of a minute's combing of Renn.

Finally, Tucker. The roly poly one's reticence falls somewhere between Tungsten's and Josie's. He obviously enjoys his combing, his medium-pitched rumbling starting quickly. He will lie on his flanks, but not patiently, and doesn't care for the comb going too far down his sides. But he doesn't want the grooming to cease, either. He moves away, but not enough to tell me he's done, just enough to make it difficult to do a decent job. I pull him back and he rolls over, purring. He has soft fur, with a thick undercoating, which comes off readily. It is very fine but almost bushy, and combs away in clouds. Though he grooms himself often, Tucker develops mats easily, so I tug as softly at them as I can. This is the result of a minute's combing of Tucker. As you can see, his fur likes the comb more than any other cats'.

Combing is good grooming, keeping the cats' fur soft and clean, and therefore healthy. Aside from this, the cats enjoy it - despite their superficial reactions - and brings a person and his pet closer together. At the very least, an animal knows that you are bringing him comfort and affection. It's something for them to look forward to, a weekly ritual of joy for them. That means it's one for me, too.


  1. We love to get combed and brushed!! 'Specially Zoey! But she squirms around so much and then she tries to eat the brush! She's crazy!!

    Wally & Ernie

  2. I have tried several different brushes, and neither of my kitties like any of them. I never thought of going to a comb. I may have to try it!
    You could almost knit a new cat with all that fur.. MOL

  3. Kitties are fussy about getting brushed. Most of us like the Zoom Groom, available from a lot of places (including WalMart). Doesn't look like it should pick up loose fur, but it does.

  4. The only kitties here that liked getting brushed are the ones with hair. The Sphynx are not thrilled. Wonder why. Hmm...

  5. Mom Paula is still trying to get us used to being combed and brushed. She said we need to learn to like it because of our long floof. We're not so sure about it yet!

    Truffle and Brulee

    1. It seems as if Mom Julie has a different approach with each of us. Of course, Mitty, the tabby doesn't need brushing, but likes it. I have floofed out soo much since being adopted, I'm like a barrel with legs and I'll take brushing any old way. Tink "the tank" is not to be brushed until he gives the okay..

      Nice to meet all of you! The piles for each of the kitties is cute.