PETS Magazine: Ask the experts column, by Desmond Chan (Persians and their coat)
Q: My six-year-old male Persian has an extremely thick coat that needs regular grooming, but he gets very distressed whenever I bring him out of the house. I bought grooming clippers to do it myself, but always “butcher” his coat! Can you share tips on how to trim my cat’s fur?
A: You are very much encouraged to trim your cat’s fur yourself if it allows your cat to experience less stress than being at the groomer’s. Before you begin to trim your cat’s hair, you need to understand how pet grooming clippers work, as well as your cat’s fur coat.
A Persian cat has two coats: The outer guard hairs and the undercoat. The guard hairs give colour, protection from external elements and do not shed. The undercoat is cottony and soft, helps to regulate your cat’s body temperature, and sheds year-round, especially during warmer times of the year.
All grooming clippers have two blades—the comb blade and the cutting blade. When you run the clipper across the fur, hairs that get “combed” into the comb blade get cut by the cutting blade. Some clippers come with a set of attachment combs that can be attached to the clipper to adjust the blade length.
The most common reason a cat’s coat looks chopped and uneven after a groom is clumpy fur that couldn’t get “combed” smoothly into the comb blade. Felines shed throughout the year and require regular brushing and de-shedding. Without proper grooming, the shed undercoat gets trapped, forming dense and clumpy fur that hinders the clipping process.
HOW TO GROOM KITTY YOURSELF
Step 1: Remove excess undercoat through de-shedding, which is done by running a de-shedding comb through the cat’s fur to remove the excess shedded undercoat. Focus on areas such as underneath the tail, the bum, the underside, the belly, and chest. This would result in a smooth, well-separated coat.
Step 2: Using a greyhound comb, comb through your cat’s fur to ensure there are no clumps or tangles left behind.
Step 3: Holding the shaver at an angle of 30 to 35 degrees, run it through his fur while holding the skin taut. There should not be much resistance.
Tip: Many times, a cat’s hair grows in a way where it crops close to the body, making it challenging to run the pet clipper through in the direction of the hair growth. Try using the clippers in the reverse direction for a better cut.