In addition to making your cat look good, grooming time is also an opportunity to do a health check. Before you begin grooming, take a minute and run your hands up and down your cat's body.
Notice if he has any sensitive areas, lumps, bumps, scratches or sores. Take a look at his coat. It should be shiny, and there should be no missing patches of fur. The skin should not be very dry or flaky, and the fur should not be brittle.
Check the paws and look for cracked footpads or overgrown or ingrown claws. Look inside the ears and check for excessive ear wax buildup or signs of ear mites.
Open your cat's mouth and examine his teeth and gums. The gum should be pink and healthy, and there should be no missing or broken teeth. If your cat has very bad breath, it could be a sign of gum disease or another ailment.
The eyes and nose should be clean and clear, not runny. Taking a few extra minutes to examine your cat before you groom him keeps him healthy and alerts you to any physical changes that may indicate a problem.
If you have children at home, they can help you groom the cat (depending on their age). It is a good way for them to learn responsible pet care, and it will give them time to bond with him. A child of the appropriate age can help you brush or comb the cat (with supervision). Younger children can watch as you go through the grooming process. Encourage them to ask questions and explain what you are doing and why.
Although a child can help brush the cat, never let her stand to the more complicated grooming tasks, such as bathing, nail trimming, teeth brushing and ear cleaning. Your child could seriously injure the cat, and he will not readily accept being groomed again.