Feline cleanliness is a matter of survival and health. Because cats are predatory animals, if a cat were to emit an odor, their rodent-supper would be alerted to their whereabouts and get away. Additionally, to avoid attracting unwanted attention from prey animals, cats need to be extremely clean. Neither their prey nor predators should be able to smell them hiding or approaching.
Without a rigorous grooming regime, infections and parasites could compromise your cat’s health. His rough, scratchy tongue stimulates an oily secretion or sebum produced by the sebaceous glands located at the base of each hair follicle. This oily substance is spread over the cat’s coat both lubricating and water proofing his hair. Cats like to roll in dry dirt as part of the cleansing process. The oil is absorbed into the dust and the cat can lick off excess oil from his fur.
Cats spend roughly 50% of their waking hours meticulously grooming themselves. However, long-haired cats and older cats are not always able to keep up with the demand for a clean healthy coat. They could use some help from their human even though they don’t always take kindly to your assistance.
As part of a desensitization training campaign in helping your cat adapt to your help in grooming, you can add a gentle acupressure session. There are specific acupressure points, also called “acupoints,” known to enhance trust and provide a sense of well-being.
There are two acupoints shown in the chart below on the cat’s foreleg just above his wrist (carpus) that have the effect of reducing fear by calming the mind and building trust. When you place your thumb and pointer finger on these acupoints and stay on them for a slow count to 20 you will be effectively supporting your mutual bonding around grooming.
Repeat these two acupoints on the opposite front leg of your cat for maximum effect. Now you two can enjoy being together and well-groomed.
Learn how to use acupressure to treat a variety of conditions in Amy and Nancy’s articles here on Animal Wellness Guide, in their hands-on and online courses, and in their books on canine, feline and equine acupressure: