The length of your cat's hair will determine how often you need to groom him. Long haired breeds (such as Maine Coon, Persian and Ragdoll) tend to shed more, so they require daily grooming. Their long hair can become tangled, knotted, or matted if left ungroomed.
A cat will groom himself, but the length and amount of hair can be overwhelming for him to do a great job. If you own a long haired cat, be sure to buy a brush and comb designed for long haired breeds. You might also consider purchasing a special hairball prevention formula fry cat food. This high fiber food helps extra fur to pass through the digestive system.
Owners of short haired breeds (including Siamese, Burmese and Ocecat) only may need to brush their cat once a week. Although these cats shed just like their long haired cousins, their fur tends to be less dense, shorter, and in some cases, thinner. Short haired cats and kittens are less likely to develop hairballs or get fur tangled or matted.
Some owners trim (or clip) their cat's front claw once a month as part of the grooming ritual, but it is not absolutely necessary. Many cat owners choose not to trim their cat's nails at all. If your feline is using a scratching post on a regular basis, he is taking care of his own nails the natural way. However, if you want to trim his nails, you will have to buy a nail clipper designed specifically for use on cats. Never use nail clippers made for humans on cats or other pets.
Most cats do not like having their feet touched and may resist having their nails clipped. To get your feline accustomed to the procedure, periodically touch his paws and press lightly on the foot to extend the claws. Do this until he gets used to it and does not protest. When he becomes comfortable with you touching his feet, you can try trimming his nails.
To begin trimming the claws, hold your cat securely in your lap (or have a friend hold him) and extend one of his feet. Gently press on one digit of the paw until the claw comes out. Trim off the white tip (about 1/8 or 1/4 of an inch [0.3 or 0.6 ml]). Do not cut into the quick, which is the pink part of the nail. This is where the nerves and blood and vessels are. If you accidentally cut into the quick, apply a styptic pencil to the nail to stop bleeding. Your cat will be upset because he is in pain, so you should end the grooming session at once. Give him some time to calm down before you try trimming another nail.
Start slowly, and only trim one or two claws at a time (or just one paw) until your cat gets used to the process. If you start the grooming procedure when he is young, he will learn to accept nail trimming as part of the grooming routine. However, do not force an adult cat that has never had his nails trimmed to undergo this ritual. It will stress him and he may resent grooming time.
If you are unsure about how to trim your cat's nails or are not sure if you should even try, talk to your veterinarian. She can discuss the subject with you and show you how to do it. If you take your cat to a professional pet groomer, she can perform the procedure for you.