While cats are basically self-cleaning animals, there are times when they definitely need human assistance, in the form of claw trimming, detangling mats, routine brushing for prevention of hairballs, dental care products to help prevent tooth decay and loss, and the occasional bathing when they've rolled in something nasty. It pays to keep a kit for storing all those needed supplies, so that you don't come up short in an emergency. This list includes some of my own top choices.
Photo and Review © RandFsMom
Klaw Kontrol is a scientifically engineered bag for containing cats when necessary for administration of medications, claw trimming, or other procedures which require cooperation by the cat. Be sure to read the guest review by RandFsMom, popular About Cats Forum member, which describes the pros and cons of Klaw Kontrol as used with her cats Fiona and Romeo.
Trimming your cat's claws is really simple if you approach the task with a relaxed cat, and don't try to rush it. You may have to start off just doing one or two claws a day. If you have never attempted to trim cats' claws before, ask your veterinarian or his assistant to give you a quick demonstration, or read my online tutorial, How To Trim Your Cat's Claws
Millers Forge Cat Claw Scissors are hot forged from the the finest quality U.S. steel. The cutting edges have been heat treated to ensure the longest life.
© Soft Claws, used with permission
For some cats, grooming will not be complete without an application of Soft Claws Nail Caps. They are an attractive and humane alternative to declawing (which I hope is not even an option for your cat.)
Soft Claws come in Kitten, Small, Medium, and Large sizes, and in Natural, Purple, Pink, Blue, and Red colors, and are available online, in local pet stores, and from veterinarians. If you are seeking relief from destructive or painful scratching by a cat, I highly recommend Soft Claws.
Photo Credit: © Lance Syufy
Longhaired cats and cats with thick double coats are particularly susceptible to mats caused by excess shedding of hair. Mats can be especially painful, but regular grooming can prevent them. An even worse result of the shedding is hairballs, which can cause dangerous bowel obstructions. The FURminator effectively removes the loose, shedding undercoat, without cutting any hair. Read my review of this popular deshedding tool
I love the Kong Zoom Groom, and so do my cats. Its size fits perfectly in the palm of my hand, and the soft rubber "bristles" get right down into those thick undercoats to whisk away loose hairs. A daily brushing with the Zoom Groom is a must for my cats - a terrific way of building quality together-time, while helping with their grooming needs.
A dental rinse or spray helps keep cats' breath fresh, and also helps kill bacteria which can lead to tooth decay.
From the well-respected Halo company comes this all-natural shampoo, which contains Aloe, JoJoba Oil, Rosemary, and other soothing herbs to help relieve irritation to the skin. The 16 oz. bottle's ingredients are detergent free, biodegradable, hypoallergenic, and absolutely free of artificial colors, fragrances, or preservatives.
Even indoor-only cats can be susceptible to fleas and ticks, as we unwittingly may carry those beasties indoors on our clothing, where they multiply in carpets and rugs. If you are concerned about the chemicals in commercial spot-on drops, you might feel more comfortable with a natural form of flea repellant. This shampoo and conditioner contains only natural products, so you can keep your cats clean and protected from fleas and ticks - a two-for-one benefit.
Earthbath Natural Grooming Wipes are a handy way to spot-clean your cat when he really isn't dirty enough to need a bath. Does your Fluffy tend to get "cling-ons" in her "britches?" These wipes are an excellent way to remove them. Soft and gentle, and a generous 7" x 8" wide, Earthbath Natural Grooming Wipes are made with Polysorbate 20 (a natural derivative of sorbitol), Green Tea Leaf Extract, Hawaiian Awapuhi Extract, Aloe Vera, Vitamin E, and Benzoic Acid (a natural preservative). They are safe to use for all cats over six weeks old. Comes in either Green Tea Leaf Fragrance Wipes or Hypo-Allergenic & Fragrance Free Wipes, for kitties with sensitive skin.
If you have a Persian or other short-nosed cat, he may be troubled by blocked tear ducts, which cause ugly staining under the eyes. Halo Herbal Eye Wash is a natural herbal alternative that is effective, gentle and easy to use. A two-step process involves mixing two solutions that clean away brown discharge, opens up clogged tear ducts, soothes irritated tissue, and reduces swelling. Kit contains Eyebright Eyewash #1,Goldenseal Eyewash #2, and a convenient mixing bottle
A gentle, effective ear solution. Ingredients: Chamomile Extract, Sage Oil, Clove Oil, Hore Hound Extract, Southern Wood Extract, Marigold (Calendula) Extract, Penny Royal Oil, St. Johns Wort Oil, in a witch hazel base. Simply poor one-half to one capful of his soothing blend of herbal extracts into your cat's ear, fold the ear flap closed and massage gently, then let kitty shake the excess out. Halo Herbal Ear Wash eliminates ear wax, odors, prevents infections and heals abrasions, promoting healthy new cell formation. NOTE: If a very strong odor or discharge indicates a current ear infection, consult with your veterinarian before using this or any other home remedy.