I have found that a pretty reliable predictor is the sudden presence of cat hair… everywhere! Even though I’d like to think I keep a pretty tidy house, no amount of vacuuming seems to be able to keep up with the pace at which Ivy the Wonder Cat sheds her winter coat.
Last week, I was a little startled when I found a stray cat hair on my breakfast plate, peeking out from under my food, even though the kitchen was spotless. Another day, I was on the couch watching TV, when I suddenly started choking when I inhaled a stray cat hair that was floating around.
Even as I am writing this, I am noticing a cat hair on the lip of my coffee cup.
I conclude that cat hair must be following me around like a cloud. To maintain a more positive outlook, I prefer to think about it as an extension of my aura. Fortunately, it’s just a temporary, seasonal thing.
Just the same, I sprang into action and took the vacuum out. An hour later, after vacuuming in every corner and crevice in the house, the dirt cup was quite full even though I had just done it a few days prior.
What is really fascinating is that it is like it happens overnight. Throughout January and February, there is a modest amount of cat hair in the vacuum’s dirt cup every time I clean, which seems perfectly normal.
But as soon as March rolls around, BOOM! It’s like someone hit the cat’s “hair ejector” button. For the amount of hair I collect, I often wonder how Ivy isn’t bald because there’s just so much of it.
But after 4 years together, I am used to it, and there is definitely a positive side to it. To me, the solution is to help Mother Nature along.
At any time, Miss Ivy loves the attention, when we can have some mellow time together for a gentle brushing. The trick has been to find the right brush that helps release that excess hair that is ready to fall. In Ivy’s case, after a couple of years of trying different brushes, a “slicker brush” worked best on her thick coat, to help release not only the hair from her winter coat, but also the dandruff she develops from the winter-time dry air. (Ask your vet or your pet store staff for advice on choosing the right brush for your pet)
This past week, just for fun, I picked up one of those gloves with the rubber nubs that help to release pet hair. I was pleased to see that it worked very well on her.
What I found to be the unbeatable combination was to use both, a few strokes with the glove to release the hair, followed by a clean-up with the slicker brush. In a matter of minutes, the glove collected a respectable amount of hair, as did the brush.
Not surprisingly, Ivy enjoyed the extra attention, when I offered her a little pampering and grooming every evening this week, and to my delight, always releasing more hair each time.
When it comes to brushing, Ivy calls the shots. When she is really into it, she will move around as if to say “don’t forget this side” or “you missed a spot here” and then strategically positioning herself. She is very smart and obviously she likes it. But when she’s done, and that could be 1 minute, 3 minutes or 10 minutes, she stands up and leaves the room. Her body language says it all, and it’s up to me to follow her lead to keep it a fun activity for both of us.
And frankly, just one week into the experiment, her coat looks better already. Because of the stray hairs that were sticking out, when she stood still, she was starting to look like a blurred picture. But that’s not the case anymore.
I am hoping that by gently coaxing the shedding process a little, in a way that is enjoyable to both Ivy and me, more hair in the brush and in the glove, means less hair scattered around the house. Plus that also means less hair in Ivy’s tummy from her own grooming, which means fewer hair balls coming back up that need to be cleaned up. Those can be pretty gross.
In the end it’s just acceptance that shedding is a fact of life, and part of the package deal of having a happy little cat. And as I keep reminding myself, she has no more control over it than I did when I lost my hair.
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Have a great day,