Kitty Hygiene: 5 Tips on How to Teach Your Cat to Clean Itself

Discover the secrets to fostering impeccable kitty hygiene with our expert tips. Learn how to teach your cat the art of self-cleaning for a happy and healthy feline companion.

Key Takeaways:

  1. Gentle Introduction: Gradually introduce grooming tools to acclimate your cat.
  2. Positive Reinforcement: Use treats and praise to make grooming a positive experience.
  3. Routine Maintenance: Establish a consistent grooming routine to prevent matting and hairballs.
  4. Choosing the Right Tools: Opt for cat-friendly brushes and combs for effective grooming.
  5. Observation and Patience: Pay attention to your cat’s cues and be patient during the grooming process.

If you’ve ever owned a cat, you know that they can be very independent creatures. But that doesn’t mean they don’t need our help to stay clean and healthy! 

When it comes to keeping their fur clean and free of tangles, most cats are pretty good at taking care of themselves. However, there may be times when you need to give your feline friend a little help in the grooming department especially if they’re getting older or have long hair that’s prone to matting.


Here are a few tips on how to teach your cat to clean itself:

Bum Care

Some cats usually are not thorough when it comes to cleaning their bums. Sometimes, they miss some spots here and there on the regular. Not only that, but sometimes, some dried excrement is present on your cat’s bum. One way to encourage them to be more thorough with their bums is to do the usual damp cloth or wipe technique. However, if it’s extremely dirty, you might have to do other measures like filling a sink with warm water and adding kitty shampoo.

If your cat is uncomfortable with the sink, you can simply put warm water in a spray bottle and spray your cat’s bum with it. You can then use a gentle brush to clean out the fur in their bum. This will also encourage your cat to be more thorough with cleaning its bums.

You could also give them a much more efficient potty training. Most people train their cats with cat litter, but you could also teach them to use the toilet. Make a makeshift litter above the toilet seat and put a hole in the middle. The more comfortable they are, the bigger the hole you can make until they can finally use the toilet without litter.

Brush Their Fur

If you’re having trouble with your kitten, the best way to teach them how to groom themselves is by brushing their fur regularly. Sooner or later, through this technique, they’ll eventually learn to pick this up as a habit. 

This is also an excellent opportunity to make your cat more comfortable with their brushes, as even if they start grooming themselves regularly, they will still want your help in brushing their fur, which for the most part, is their way of bonding with you. But why do cats need to brush their fur? Brushing removes loose hair and dead skin cells from their skin. 

It’s an effective way to keep your cat’s fur from dirt and foreign debris. If your cat doesn’t partake in self-grooming sessions, it’s all the more reason to train them by brushing their fur by yourself.

Use a Damp Cloth

If your cat is still a kitten, it might be messy to groom themselves as they haven’t developed that skill. Of course, as they grow old, they’ll get better at it but in the meantime, helping them clean themselves is a good way to go about it. Kittens usually develop self-grooming techniques from their mothers, so for them to learn, you need to imitate how their mothers clean them, which is through a damp cloth.

You can use a damp cloth or paper towel because it can imitate the feeling of their mother’s tongue. Usually, they’re groomed by their mothers when they’re low energy, after nap time, eating, or before their nighttime sleep. However, you can still use this technique when dealing with an adult cat. 

This can trigger their need to go over those spots with their tongue. Usually, a cat that doesn’t engage in self-grooming tends to neglect sensitive parts like its eyes and ears, so going over those spots will make them do the same.

Go to the Vet

If your cat isn’t trying to groom itself, as mentioned earlier, there are quite a few reasons, including the medical condition. Pain can restrict a cat’s movement and flexibility, which might be why they’re not trying to groom themselves, not because they want to, but they can’t. It might be caused by pain in their body or from dental issues. When you suspect this is the case, go to the vet for a checkup. Once everything is okay, you can then train them in self-grooming techniques.

Paw Care

Do not ever declaw your cat. Instead, as a form of paw care, you can install cat-friendly scratching posts in several areas around the house. You can teach them by letting them watch you as you pretend to declaw your “nails” in one of these scratching posts. If they’re not doing the same after days of training, then you might want to check their paws. Usually, they don’t engage in scratching because of a wound infection or some other medical conditions regarding their paws.

Final Words

Some of these tips might be common, but they’re very effective if you want your cat to be cleaner and to learn how to clean themselves. Some cats need help, and we must teach them how to be a cat. After all, they are our children, and we always want what’s best for them.

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