How to Groom a Calico Cat

Reviewed by Grooming Expert: Clarissa Stevenson, CFMG

Table of Contents

If you’re lucky enough to have a calico cat in your life, you know how special these cats are.

With their medium, luxurious coats, grooming can be a bit of a challenge. Don’t worry though, with a few tips and tricks, you can keep your Calico looking and feeling their best. From brushing to bathing, we’ve got you covered. So, grab your comb and let’s get started!


Calico Cat Characteristics

Body TypeCoat type and lengthCat ImageCoat Texture
ModerateShorthow to groom a calico catCalicos have a tri-colored coat that is typically a mix of white, black, and orange. Their fur is usually medium-length and soft to the touch.

Calico cats are known for their unique coat pattern of white, black, and orange patches. They are not a specific breed, but rather a color pattern that can be found in many different breeds such as American Shorthair, Persian, and Japanese Bobtail. Calicos are typically female, and are known for their independent and sassy personalities. They are also known to be affectionate and playful with their owners. Calicos require regular grooming to maintain their beautiful coat, and should be brushed at least once a week to prevent matting.


Essential Grooming Tools for Calico Cats

To groom your Calico Cat properly, you’ll need the following:

Grooming ToolDescriptionPrice
Slicker brushRemoves loose hair, untangles minor mats, and keeps the coat shiny$10 – $20
Grooming glovesSoftly detaches shedding hair while delivering a calming massage$10 – $25
Nail clippersHelps you clip your cat’s claws safely to avoid excessive growth and potential harm to itself and other cats/humans$5 – $15
Ear cleanerRemoves debris and cleans the ear to ward off infections$8 – $15
Cotton ballsAllow for precise application of ear cleaning solutions and enable reaching the nooks and crannies of the cat’s ears without causing discomfort$1 – $5
ToothbrushKeeps your cat’s teeth clean to avoid dental problems and promote good oral hygiene$3 – $10
ToothpasteToothpaste designed for cats helps to effectively remove plaque and tartar buildup, promoting healthier teeth and gums.$5 – $10
ShampooCat shampoos are specially formulated to maintain the natural pH balance of a cat’s skin, which helps to prevent skin irritations, dryness, and itching$3 – $12

Equipped with our grooming tools, we’re ready to start grooming our cats!


Step-by-Step Guide to Grooming Your Calico Cat

Brushing Your Cat

Brushing a cat's hair

Frequency: Brush your Calico once a week

Technique: Use the slicker brush or grooming mitt and brush in the direction of hair growth.

Use a de-shedding tool to remove loose hair and minimize shedding.

Bathing your Calico Cat

bathing a cat

Calicos are known for their beautiful, tri-colored coats. When it comes to bathing them, it’s important to use a gentle shampoo that won’t strip their fur of its natural oils. 

  • Start by wetting their coat thoroughly, being careful not to get water in their ears. 
  • Apply the shampoo and work it into a lather, making sure to cover all areas of their body. 
  • Rinse thoroughly and repeat if necessary. After the bath, wrap them in a towel and gently pat them dry.

Calicos are generally good at grooming themselves, so you shouldn’t need to bathe them too often.

How Often Should I Bathe My Calico Cat?

You should bathe your calico cat only when necessary, such as if they get into something dirty or smelly, as cats are generally able to groom themselves effectively.

How to Trim the Nails of a Calico Cat:

trimming a calico's nails
  • Start by getting your Calico cat comfortable with having their paws handled. Gently touch and massage their paws regularly to get them used to the sensation.
  • Choose a quiet, well-lit area to trim your Calico’s nails. Make sure you have a good pair of cat nail clippers on hand.
  • Hold your Calico securely but gently, and use your fingers to extend one paw at a time.
  • Look for the pink part of the nail, called the quick. This is where the blood vessels and nerves are located, so be careful not to cut into it.
  • Trim just the tip of the nail, avoiding the quick. If you’re unsure where the quick is, it’s better to err on the side of caution and trim less.
  • Repeat the process with each paw, giving your Calico plenty of praise and treats throughout.
  • Aim to trim your Calico’s nails every 2-3 weeks to keep them at a healthy length.

Remember, regular nail trimming is an important part of your Calico’s grooming routine. It can help prevent painful ingrown nails and damage to furniture and carpets. With a little patience and practice, you can become a pro at trimming your Calico’s nails!

How to Clean the Ears of a Calico Cat:

Cleaning a cat's ears safely
  • Gather your supplies: cotton balls or pads, ear cleaning solution (make sure it’s safe for cats), and a towel.
  • Hold your Calico cat securely and gently lift one ear flap to expose the ear canal.
  • Squeeze a few drops of the ear cleaning solution into the ear canal. Be careful not to insert the dropper too far into the ear.
  • Massage the base of the ear for about 30 seconds to help the solution work its way into the ear canal.
  • Let your cat shake their head to help loosen any debris or wax.
  • Use a cotton ball or pad to gently wipe away any debris or excess solution from the ear flap and surrounding area.
  • Repeat on the other ear.
  • Watch out for any signs of discomfort or pain, such as your cat pulling away or vocalizing. If you notice anything unusual, stop immediately and consult with your veterinarian.
  • Avoid using cotton swabs or inserting anything into the ear canal, as this can cause injury or irritation.

Remember, regular ear cleaning is important for your Calico’s overall health and well-being. Aim to clean their ears once a month or as recommended by your veterinarian.

Cleaning Your Cat’s Teeth

brushing a cat's teeth

1. Start by getting your Calico cat comfortable with having their mouth touched. Gently lift their lip and give them a treat or praise to associate positive feelings with the experience.

2. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and cat-specific toothpaste. Human toothpaste can be harmful to cats.

3. Apply a small amount of toothpaste to the brush and gently brush the teeth in a circular motion. Focus on the outer surfaces of the teeth as that’s where plaque and tartar build-up occurs.

4. Be gentle and patient. If your Calico cat becomes agitated or stressed, take a break and try again later.

5. Brush your Calico cat’s teeth at least twice a week to maintain good oral hygiene.

Remember, regular brushing can help prevent dental problems and keep your Calico cat’s teeth healthy and clean.

Preventing and Addressing Common Coat Issues

We’re pretty much done with the grooming process. However, we still need to talk about some potential issues:

Fleas and Ticks

calico cat fleas
  • Use a flea comb to regularly check for fleas and ticks on your cat’s fur.
  • Keep your cat indoors to reduce the risk of exposure to fleas and ticks.
  • Use a veterinarian-approved flea and tick prevention product to protect your cat from infestations.

Matted Fur

Calicos are prone to developing mats in their long hair, especially around their hindquarters and under their arms. Regular brushing and combing can prevent matting, but if mats do form, they should be carefully cut out with scissors or taken to a professional groomer.

Allergies and Skin Irritations

Calicos are prone to developing skin allergies and irritations, which can cause excessive scratching and hair loss. Regular grooming and a high-quality diet can help prevent these issues, but if they persist, a visit to the vet may be necessary to determine the underlying cause.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Often Should I Brush My Calico Cat?

You should brush your Calico cat at least once a week to prevent matting and hairballs. However, if your cat has long hair, you may need to brush her more frequently, up to every day, to keep her coat healthy and shiny.

Can I Use Human Shampoo on My Calico Cat?

You should not use human shampoo on your calico cat. Human shampoo is formulated for human hair and can be too harsh for your cat’s delicate skin and coat. It can strip away natural oils and cause dryness, itching, and irritation. Instead, use a cat-specific shampoo that is gentle and pH-balanced for your cat’s skin.