If you are a cat lover, then you know that their hair comes in multiple lengths. When you welcome a new kitten into your home, you want to take care of it properly, which includes knowing what type of fur to expect.
So, will my kitten be a long or short-haired cat? It’s helpful if you know your kitten’s breed. Cats like the Persian, Himalayan, and Maine Coon cats have long, soft hair. If you don’t know your cat’s breed, you can look up the parentage of your kitten to see what its hair looks like because long hair traits are recessive.
Many kitten owners want to provide the best possible care for their furry friends. So, what is the difference between long-haired vs. short-haired kittens?
Figuring Out the Parentage of Your Kitten: The Genetics
If you are adopting a kitten from a local rescue center, the vast majority of these rescue centers will know the parents of these kittens they have for adoption. Therefore, it is a good idea to ask about the parents of your kitten. Even if the shelter does not know the father, the shelter will probably know the kitten’s mother.
Remember that the long hair trait is recessive. Therefore, if the mother has short hair, there is a high likelihood that the kitten will be short haired. If the mother and the father both have short hair, it is even more likely that your kitten is going to be short haired.
There is still a chance that the mother may be carrying a hidden, recessive kind of long hair trait. If she mates with a father that is also carrying a hidden long hair trait, there is a one-in-four chance that your kitten will have long hair. On the other hand, if neither of the parents has a long hair trait, then there is no chance that your kitten will have long hair.
The genetics of kitten hair can get a bit complicated; however, if you are wondering if your kitten will have short or long hair, a good place to start at the shelter. Ask them if they have any information bout the parents of the kitten. They should be able to help you figure out if your kitten is going to have short or long hair.
Looking at the Physical Traits of the Kitten
If you do not have any information on the genetics of your kitten, or you do not want to delve into the biological weeds, you can also take a look at the physical traits of your kitten. The vast majority of kittens will be soft and fluffy when they are young, regardless of whether they are going to have short or long hair when they get older.
In general, kittens will reach about eight weeks of age before you can see any signs of long hair. In particular, you will want to pay close attention to the tail of the kitten. If the kitten has a very fluffy tail, there is a chance that your kitten is going to be long-haired.
If you are willing to be patient, you can also wait and take a look at the kitten’s hair as it gets older. If you can wait until the kitten is about 12 weeks old before adopting, the hair length should be visible. If you cannot tell how long the kitten’s hair is at this age, then ask the vet for help. Individuals who work at rescue centers spend a lot of time looking at a wide variety of kittens. By the time kittens reach three months of age, a trained eye should be able to tell whether that cat is going to have short or long hair.
You will want to make sure you know how to groom your cat properly. Understanding the differences between the hair length of kittens is a great place to start.
Caring for a Cat with Long Hair
If you adopt a kitten with long hair, it will require more grooming than a short-haired cat. At the same time, the amount of grooming that you will have to perform for your long hair cat can vary widely depending on the type of hair and how well the cat grooms itself.
In general, the softer and silky are the cat’s hair, the more help it will need in keeping itself free of tangles. Therefore, be sure to invest in a brush specifically designed for cats with long hair. Spend a few minutes every day brushing out the hair to get rid of any tangles that might be present. In addition to taking care of your cat, this is also a great way for you two to bond. By removing extra hair, you can also reduce the chances of hairballs developing. Regularly brushing your cat is a great way to combat unwanted hairballs.
When you brush your cat, you may find that it has matted fur, tempting you to cut the mats out. Even though this seems like an easy fix, you could inadvertently cut the skin underneath, which can lead to a serious laceration for your cat and harm your relationship. Furthermore, the cut could become infected, leading to even more complications. Instead, it is a good idea to rely on a professional groomer to remove matted fur. That way, you don’t run the risk of cutting your cat’s skin in the process. If you brush your cat regularly, the chances of his or her fur becoming matted are relatively low.
Tips for Brushing a Cat’s Fur Properly
When you first welcome a new kitten into your home, you may have difficulty getting it to sit still for brushing. Remember that your cat may be seeing a brush for the first time. He or she may not know if that brush is going to attack. Therefore, extend the brush slowly and let your cat sniff it. Do not start grooming your cat right away, or it may inadvertently learn that attacking grooming tools is somehow acceptable—a serious problem when you take your cat to the vet or the groomer.
Then, start by stroking your kitten with your hand first. Do not start brushing right away. Otherwise, your kitten may get up and leave. Once your kitten is relaxed, start to brush your cat’s fur with long, gentle strokes. Remember that the goal of this process is to remove dead fur. Therefore, begin by brushing against the direction of the hair growth remove any dead hair that might be present. Then, brush in the direction of hair growth to complete the grooming process.
Don’t fear trying different brushes to figure out what your kitten likes best. Remember that during the first year of your kitten’s life, his or her fur is going to change significantly. Therefore, a brush that works well at a few months of age might not work as well at a year of age. If you end up changing brushes a few times, there is nothing wrong with that. You want to go with a good brush for removing dead fur while also not harming your kitten in the process.
Watch this video to learn how to brush your cat’s hair:
Frequently Asked Questions About Long and Short-Haired Cats
Some of the most common questions that people have about long and short-haired kittens and cats include:
Why is it important to groom a kitten or a cat?
Regularly grooming your kitten or cat gives you an opportunity to check for health problems. You might notice lumps, broken teeth, ear mites, and even skin problems. Furthermore, brushing your cat is a great bonding opportunity. You want to develop a strong relationship with your kitten so that he or she trusts you. Finally, when you brush your kitten regularly, you also reduce the chances of matted fur developing.
Do I need to take my kitten or cat to a professional groomer?
Yes, you should take your kitten or cat to a professional groomer regularly. Even if you brush your cat consistently, you still need to make sure that your cat receives the attention of a professional groomer because groomers do much more than brush your cat. If you have a long-haired cat, your cat should go to the groomer every 4 to 6 weeks. If you have a short-haired cat, your cat should go to the groomer every 8 to 12 weeks.
How can I stop my kitten from clawing at everything?
If your kitten looks like he or she wants to scratch everything, this is normal behavior. You can put plastic, double-sided sticky tape, and sandpaper on a variety of desirable objects to keep your cat from scratching the furniture. Furthermore, if you see your kitten scratching, simple redirection can go a long way.