Many people are attracted to the long-haired cats because of their beautiful coats. If you are considering adopting a long-haired cat or already have one you can expect to spend some time every day or nearly every day grooming her.

A few minutes of brushing each day will eliminate the need to brush her for longer periods. Using a pin brush is best for keeping her fur from matting and getting tangled. Frequent brushing will result in her fur being soft, clean and tangle free. Your brushing sessions also gives you a chance to check for skin lesions, fleas, ticks, lumps or bumps. If you find anything that concerns you, schedule an appointment with your vet.

A wide-toothed comb will help with mats of fur. Long-haired cats should be kept inside to keep their fur from getting dirty and matted away from plants which have seeds and burrs which can catch in her fur and cause skin problems as well as mats. A little cornstarch or talcum powder sprinkled on the clump of fur helps loosen it. Hold the mat at the base and use the comb to untangle it. Be gentle.

If all else fails, cut the mat from the hair. Be careful to not cut the skin. Smooth the hair with a brush. Cats usually like to be brushed. If yours doesn’t seem to care for it, brush her for a few minutes at a time. Gradually increase the time as long as she will allow it. Reward her with treats to make the grooming sessions more pleasant.

Long-haired cats swallow more hair while they are grooming themselves than short-haired cats do so they tend to get more hairballs. Giving them daily hairball control gel or treats lubricates the hair so it will pass through her digestive tract safely instead of being vomited on the floor.

A high fiber diet also helps to prevent hairballs. There are hairball control commercial cat foods which have more fiber than regular cat food. A teaspoon of plain canned pumpkin once in a while will also add fiber to her diet. Ask your vet about other hairball control or high fiber foods than might be beneficial to your cat.

To keep your long-haired cat’s hair soft, shiny, healthy and beautiful give her food which contains omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Read the labels. Pick those that are made to take care of her nutritional needs. If she eats canned food, you may need to wipe her mouth and chin with a damp paper towel or washcloth after she has eaten to clean off any food she gets in the hair around her face.

If you or someone who has frequent contact with your cat is allergic to her, wipe your cat daily with a slightly damp cloth to remove dander. It will also help her stay clean and free of stains. Her long hair traps the dander that is the allergy trigger more than short hair does. It may also be necessary to trim her hind quarters with clippers occasionally to keep fecal matter and litter from clinging to her fur.

Instead of clumping litter, try traditional clay or crystal litter. The clumping kind may stick to the fur around her hindquarters and between her toes. Removing the clumps is not easy and may be uncomfortable for her. Litter with larger pieces that don’t clump won’t cause those problems. Long-haired cats usually don’t need to be bathed unless they get especially dirty. If you do have to bathe your cat, be sure she is dry before brushing her. This keeps the damp hair from breaking.

To get a long-haired or short-haired cat of your own visit the Pittsburg County Animal Shelter at 1206 N. West St. in McAlester. The hours are Tuesday-Friday 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. and Saturday 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. The phone number is 918-423-7803. The adoption fee for cats is $15. All have been spayed or neutered, vaccinated and microchipped.

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