By: Brittney Gobble
Grooming is very important for your new cat. Since there is less hair, it is normally much easier (I say that with a giggle) then haired cats. First is a bath! We find it easier to have a tub or sink with warm water already in it. The sound of running water tends to cause the cats to panic (although some Lykoi love playing in running water!). We then put the cat in the water and gently wet the entire cat. For routine bathing with our cats, we use a very mild, hypoallergenic pet shampoo. The reason I am suggesting the pet shampoos is because animals have a different pH in there skin that humans. If you use the human shampoo, you could cause irritation. Our preferred shampoo is a Veterinarian shampoo called “Hylyt”. However we have tried many other Vet shampoos and we were not happy with any of them. You want to be careful to get a shampoo that is not a “degreaser” as this will strip the oils and cause excess oils to be produced. But you also do not want to get a highly moisturizing shampoo as this will also cause excess grease. I have found this organic shampoo from Artisan Soap By JC to be amazing as well. The amount of bathing depends on your cat. The less hair a Lykoi has, the more oils it will produce. Our Lykoi with the “typical” coat often can go months without bathing. But some do produce more oils and you will need to bath ever few weeks. Your individual cat will have to decide that.
Second is those wonderful ears. The can look dirty. Because the Lykoi lack a full undercoat to help distribute the oils away from the ears and nails, the natural oils will pool in the ear. This is NOT caused by mites or yeast. This also does NOT cause them to have a higher susceptibility to ear infections! We have never had one of our own Lykoi have an ear infection. They do still have to be cleaned though. We use a dry q-tip to clean the ears. Sometimes, an ear solution can be used to break up the material, although we do not personally use them in our own grooming protocol. In my vet practice with cats I use a commercial pet ear cleaner, but I have heard of other groomers using plant oils, vinegar and alcohol, and peroxide (I do not recommend the peroxide since it turns to water later). We wipe the ears and use the q-tip to clean the skin folds in the ear. We will also move down the canal to remove more material. It can safely be done as long as the q-tip is parallel to the jaw. Have your groomer or veterinarian show you the proper technique if you are nervous. Remember, only clean what you can see!
Thirdly, we have cat claws to deal with. They will build up a black material like the ears. We trim the nails first. This takes some practice to get it right, but it can be done. In most Lykoi cats, the quick of the nail can be seen. Again, seek assistance before attempting the first time. The black material around the nails can be cleaned with baby wipes. If you push on the top of the nail at the skin, the nail will extend. Then it can be wiped. Sounds easy.
If you have a cat that is very difficult to hold, we wrap the cat in a towel like a little kitty burrito. Then you can expose the ears or whichever leg you want to clean. Remember that cats have five very sharp weapons to escape from you. Lykoi cats are usually gentle but very wiggly, so they will only tolerate so much. I know this sounds like a lot of work, but honestly once you get the hang of it, this will take only about 20 minutes (I can do it in 10!). Lykoi are pretty wash and wear and usually require less grooming than other hairless breeds. Good luck, we needed it at first, and so will you!