Do you have an old cat? Mine is 18 and she’s starting to look it. But the old girl still had a lesson to teach me about why it’s so important to groom your pets.

I returned to my childhood home for a visit. My old cat was in bad shape. I’m not great with cat breeds, but she’s got black fur, four legs, two eyes, claws, pointy ears, and a tail. One of those sorts of cats. You know the ones. Buffy had stopped grooming herself and gotten all greasy and matted with old fur. She had these tufts of grey in her that I had never seen before.

It’s a bit of a vicious cycle. When a pet gets a bit gross, perhaps starting to smell, get dirty, or unkempt, people don’t stop to play with them. So, they get down due to lack of attention, they continue not grooming and the problem only worsens.

I was told she had stopped cleaning herself at all. Not a dangerous sign, but certainly not a good one.

Basic Cat Grooming

First, I gave her a bunch of attention, as she was clearly craving some. Her fur was a little grim, even sticking to my fingers and coming away in little tufts. But who cares? It’s a process.

I brushed and stroked her in equal amounts to keep her calm so she wouldn’t run off. I managed to remove basically a whole cat’s worth of fur from her. She must have been struggling in the summer heat with all that unshed hair.

Buffy before being groomed

The cat mid-groom.

The grey tufts actually just came free as I brushed. Her fur was soft and all of the dandruff-like flakes had been removed. She was the same cat I remembered underneath. Now, she looks a hundred bucks, when before she was a rough $38.07.

The best part? She immediately started licking herself and cleaning her head. It seemed like with just a little attention and grooming she had gained a new lease on life and some self-worth. It put me in mind of haircuts for the homeless. Someone may look shabby, but those issues are only skin deep. If you take a moment to help them clean themselves up and show a little care, it can make a huge difference.

Buffy the pet cat after being groomed

Trust me, she’s happier.

Groom Your Old Pets

Groom your pets, whatever age they are. While it’s difficult to understand how complex animal emotions might be, they clearly have a sense of self-worth. We see that in the behaviour of pets which have been neglected. Grooming can go a long way towards building self-worth for all animals. So if you’re having a rough day, have a shower, a shave, style your hair, put on some nice clothes. It works for us and it works for our pets. Or, spend some time grooming your pet. It’s very soothing and they’ll love you for it.

If this story made you feel slightly warmer in that icy heart, check out our article on the benefits of pets for seniors.

If you have a pet story you would like us to spotlight, we’re all ears. Feel free to reach out and we might feature your pet on Pep and Pup!