[dropcap]Y[/dropcap]ou’ve just purchased a rambunctious little rascal of a Bengal kitten, and despite all of the grief your new kitten has been giving you, you’re just glad to see that the little fella is healthy enough to give you any trouble at all.
Even so, you’re also a bit anxious about what the future holds for your kitty; Bengal cat care does, after all, differ slightly from conventional domestic cat care.
The grooming standards for Bengal cats, for example, are some of the most significant differences between Bengal cat care and typical cat care.
Unfortunately, however, not all owners of Bengal cats are aware of these differing grooming standards.
That said, because we want to make sure that your kitties are happy and healthy, we’ll be sharing a few grooming tips that will help you keep your Bengals nicely groomed.
Before you decide on a grooming schedule for your Bengal, you need to understand why exactly Bengal cat care requires that you follow a slightly different set of rules. In order to get to the heart of the matter, we must briefly examine the breed’s grooming habits and the reasons behind those habits.
The general consensus is that Bengal cats shed less than other breeds; some people even insist that they don’t shed at all, but there is no evidence to support such claims.
Regardless of whether or not they shed, however, there is no question about the fact that Bengal cats groom themselves as frequently as other cat breeds.
This frequent grooming increases the amount of cat saliva that is deposited in the cat’s environment. A protein in this saliva is reponsible for cat allergies in humans; however, Bengal cats are generally considered to be hypoallergenic.
But why does any of this technical information matter to someone who is trying to put together a Bengal cat care routine?
Because, simply put, if you’re going to properly care for your Bengal, you’re going to have to take this information into consideration.
If, for example, you’re trying to figure out how often to brush your Bengal cat, you’ll probably want to consider the fact that this breed of cat doesn’t shed as much as other cats. Further still, if someone in your household is allergic to cats, you might opt to brush the cat less often.
However often you should choose to brush your cat, just make sure that you’re using the right brush and brushing in the direction of your cat’s coat.
Now that we’ve established that your Bengal doesn’t need to be brushed as often as other breeds, we need to work on putting together a wash routine for your kitty.
Although we’ve repeatedly stated that Bengal cat care is unique in some ways, your Bengal’s wash routine will be more or less the same as other breeds’. The only difference will be the frequency of the bathing sessions; the special properties of your cat’s coat will allow you to wash it less frequently.
Knowing how often to bathe your kitty, however, does not guarantee that you’ll know how to safely bathe your cat, which is why we’ll be going over a few rules in this section.
First and foremost, make sure that you brush your cat before you bathe it. Brushing it will allow you to remove any minor mats and globs of dirt that may be present.
Now your Bengal is ready for a bath.
Your Bengal’s bath should always start with an inspection. Start by dampening your hands and massaging your cat in order to check for any abnormalities. You should be looking for rashes, abrasions, and any other anomalies.
After you’ve completed the inspection, you can really get down to business. Assuming that you already have a basin of water prepared, gently place your cat in the water.
You can now apply your shampoo of choice. Needless to say, it should be an approved cat shampoo. Continue to gently massage your cat as you apply the shampoo and rinse it off.
Once you’ve rinsed all of the shampoo off of your cat, gently dry its entire body (starting with its face) with a soft cloth.
Of course, bathing your cat isn’t as simple as just washing and rinsing.
While the general process is much the same as washing your own body, you need to be careful not to get the water anywhere near your cat’s face. Simply put, water is not good for your kitty’s ears or eyes.
Though you’ll still need to clean their eyes and ears, we won’t go over the specifics of the cleansing process until later. The only thing that you need to know for now is that sticking a dry, soft cotton ball in each of your cat’s ears during bath time will help keep any water out of them.
Thus far, we have assumed that your cat plays well with water. Needless to say, however, not all cats will allow you to get anywhere near them with water.
So what do you do in these cases?
One of the only things you can do: Mollify your cat until he or she is mellow enough to tolerate a bath. You can achieve this goal by making sure that your cat isn’t too hyper when bath time rolls around.
If your cat will not allow you to bathe it in water under any circumstances, you can look into dry shampoo. Although the application process will still require your cat to be still for some time, your cat definitely won’t be as freaked out by powder as it would be by water.
Cleaning Bengals’ Ears
As we stated before, you should try your best to keep water away from your Bengal cat’s ears during bath time; truth be told, Bengal cat care and conventional cat care pretty much converge here.
Even so, you still have to make an effort to clean your Bengal’s ears.
You should start by inspecting its ears. You should be checking to make sure that there are no strange objects or organisms (e.g. mites) hiding in your cat’s ears.
You can then move on to the actual cleansing process. Instead of water, you’ll be using a veterinarian approved ear cleaner for this step.
Just apply a bit of the cleaner to a soft cotton ball and carefully wipe away any gunk you find around your cat’s ears. You might have to fold your cat’s ears back a tad bit to get the job done, so be gentle.
Cleaning Bengals’ Eyes
Like the cleansing process for your cat’s ears, the cleansing process for your cat’s eyes makes Bengal cat care similar to general cat care.
You’ll need another cotton ball or two for this process.
Just dampen the cotton ball(s) and gently dab at the areas around your cat’s eyes.
Since the overall goal is simply to remove the dirt from around your cat’s eyes, be careful not to actually dab your cat’s eyes during the process. Your cat definitely won’t be happy, and any subsequent attempts to clean its eyes probably won’t go over well.
We’re aware of the fact that most people probably don’t pay much attention to their cats’ oral hygiene.
Still, the health of your cat’s teeth isn’t something that should be so easily dismissed; your cat is just as susceptible to oral infections as you are.
In order to prevent these infections, you should regularly monitor your cat’s oral hygiene.
While some people just take a look inside of their cats’ mouths every now and then, others opt to brush their felines’ teeth.
Of course, they don’t just use any old toothpaste or toothbrush to get the job done.
Not only do you have to purchase oral products that are specifically made for cats, but you also have to ease your cat into a toothbrushing routine.
Some cat owners, for instance, start by using their fingers to clean their cats’ teeth and gradually begin to use toothbrushes in place of their fingers.
The idea of using your fingers to probe your cat’s mouth may sound disgusting, but if you love your Bengal, we have a feeling you’ll make the sacrifice.
Assuming that you haven’t had your Bengal declawed (a decision which many people support since your kitty needs to protect itself), your cat’s grooming routine will need to include a bit of nail trimming.
Declawing is partial digital amputation. The procedure is extremely painful, causing chronic pain and contributing to behavioral problems.
While some people use regular nail clippers for this task, we recommend that you purchase a pair of nail clippers designed for cats. The blade of these clippers should be kept sharp in order to make that you don’t have to apply too much pressure to your cat’s paws in order to keep its nails trim.
Note that this tip isn’t just exclusive to Bengal cat care; your other cats (and dogs) will certainly benefit from the extra care you take here.
Overhauling Your Bengal Cat Care Routine
Unfortunately, regardless of how careful you are about piecing together your Bengal cat care routine, grooming can still be stressful for your cat.
At the end of the day, there is only so much you can do to make your cat comfortable, and that comfort starts with settling your pet into a routine.
That said, even if your cat never quite settles into a routine, always reward your kitty for letting you poke and prod at him or her for extended amounts of time.
Who knows? In time, your cat just might warm up to the idea of being groomed.
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