There are 8 welfare benefits and therefore reasons to combing your shorthaired cat with a flea comb. The benefits concern cat and owner. It should be a proper flea comb designed for cats and of decent quality. Sometimes you see flea combs which are not going to do the job because the teeth are too widely spaced. It’s important that the teeth are near enough together so that they can rake out objects effectively. I always focus on the areas he can’t get to but not exclusively: the back of the neck, the cheeks down to the shoulders, under the chin (very gently), down the spine and even the tail (to pick up particles).
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I flea comb my cat every day although he has no fleas. I don’t do it because he has fleas. I do it for the following reasons:
- He loves it. He loves the feeling of it on his skin although is important to do it gently and with some precision. Obviously never drive through matts. It will hurt your cat. Patience is the rule. You don’t want to do it too vigourously because your cat might not like it and that would undermine the whole process and benefit of the exercise. So the first reason is that cats like the feeling of it provided it is carried out with precision and gentleness.
- It is a great bonding process. You are delivering something to your cat which makes them happy. There is no better way of bonding with your cat particularly when the interaction is that close and direct.
- The teeth of flea combs are very close together, as mentioned, and therefore they pick up particles and dirt next to the skin which have become trapped between the hair strands. So flea combs do more than just trap fleas, it traps foreign bodies.
- Flea combs also rake out dead hair which has become enmeshed with the hair which is still attached to the skin. Therefore a flea comb does what a cat does to themselves when they groom themselves, in this respect.
- Of course, if your cat is likely to have fleas then the flea comb is the tool for the job. You will rake out the odd flea and hopefully it is not more than the odd flea. In my opinion they should be killed instantly with the nail of your thumb pressing against the flea on the flea comb. This crushes the flea. You have to act quickly.
- The comb also removes grease if it is there, and skin flakes. These are minor benefits but they exist nonetheless.
- Flea combing also helps to stimulate blood circulation to the skin. It is a form of cat massage and that is good for both parties.
- And I believe it also helps to stimulate the sebaceous glands which in turn helps the coat become more glossy because there is more oil from those glands on the hair strands. I know my cat’s coat always feels very glossy and soft to the touch. The food that a cat eats also is relevant in this regard.
Ironically, bearing in mind the criticism that dry cat food receives nowadays on the Internet, I find that Hills Oral Care dry cat food benefits my cat’s coat. It makes it feel more silky. I am convinced that this is down to this particular brand of food. Although I am generally slightly reluctant to praise dry cat food in this instance I have to. It’s a good food and what I particularly like about it is that the kibble pellets are much larger than normal. The size of the pellet is important because you don’t want cats to swallow them whole rather than chew them.
As you can see, I believe that there are numerous benefits. And I believe that the flea comb is better than a brush in this regard because the teeth are much closer together and therefore it can rake out small objects more effectively. The flea comb less suitable for a medium-longhaired or longhaired longer cat, in which case a brush is better. Although flea combing a long-haired cat should be done perhaps after brushing and with great care but the purpose will be to pick up fleas rather than the other benefits mentioned.
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