What You Need To Groom Your Cat At Home, According To Groomers

Brushes to deal with excess hair, detangling combs and hypoallergenic shampoos that are great for your pet's skin.
Keep up with your cat's health and grooming at home with self-cleaning slicker brush, a hypoallergenic shampoo bar and saline eye wash to get rid of tear stains.
Keep up with your cat's health and grooming at home with self-cleaning slicker brush, a hypoallergenic shampoo bar and saline eye wash to get rid of tear stains.

Cats get a reputation for being independent creatures capable of fending for themselves, especially when it comes to grooming. While this might be true in a lot of ways, most cats will need some form of assisted grooming in their lifetimes, especially if you want them to maintain optimal health.

According to Whitney Bullock, a certified feline master groomer and owner of The Charleston Cat Groomer, cat grooming is all about preventing further issues from occurring.

“Regular grooming prevents matting, pelting, excessive shedding and hairballs, along with just making the cat look and feel better,” Bullock told HuffPost.

This is especially the case for longer-hair cat breeds like Persians, Maine Coons and Ragdolls. Although they have been specifically bred for long, luxurious coats, their tongues have not ― and this means assisted grooming is a must.

Maria Drechsel, lead groomer and owner of Calgary’s Fabulous Feline Grooming, added that all cats become seniors eventually and by getting them accustomed to an at-home grooming routine now, you can reduce the potential for stress later on down the road.

“Like humans, cats get older and tend not to be able to do as much. They may not be able to reach certain areas to groom themselves. Their skin and hair also changes and they can become more prone to matting and grease buildup,” Drechsel said.

Bullock and Drechsel said that at-home grooming routines should include daily brushing and, for more high-maintenance breeds, eye cleaning about twice a day. If you notice your cat is smelling, has debris buildup or litter remnants on their coat, you may want to consider a bath.

It’s important to note that if you are an untrained professional, you should never attempt to cut or shave a cat’s fur and always visit a grooming professional or veterinarian, especially for severe instances of matting.

Whether you’re in between grooming sessions, want to maintain your cat’s health or want to start a grooming routine at home, our experts weighed in below on some of the products you should have on hand to keep your cat looking and feeling fine.

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Professional-style nail clippers for pain-free claw trimming
"My number one tip for home-groomers: TRIM THEIR NAILS FIRST!" Bullock said. "Nail-trims serve several purposes. They boost your cat-handling confidence, prevent in-grown nails and furniture destruction and, most importantly, keep you from bleeding during grooming sessions." Bullock said that she prefers simple scissor-style nail clippers.

These extra-sharp stainless scissors cleanly cut nails and the ergonomically designed non-slip handles are easy to grip. Plus, there is a safety stop guard to prevent nails getting cut too short, making these a great option if you're nervous or trimming cat claws for the first time.
A self-cleaning slicker brush to help remove matting and excess fur
Bullock told HuffPost that if you have a long-haired cat, daily brushing and combing is an absolute must, done preferably once a day. This slicker brush features angled and capped stainless steel bristles to penetrate deep into the coat and undercoat and lift loose hair, debris and matting. It can also stimulate and increase circulation to the skin. A hair-release mechanism also pushes the fur off the brush for you to make cleaning easy.

Drechsel added that you can use a slicker brush during the bathing process after a shampoo to effectively get out any mattes or knots in your cat's fur from bathing.
A mid-tooth metal detangling comb with multiple bristle lengths
Detangling combs with rolling pin teeth are good for releasing tangles and loose fur that can cause matting later on, all without puling at the cat's skin. "I like a detangling comb with two lengths of bristles, because it allows you to get into the coat much deeper and reach both the top and bottom coat," Drechsel said. These combs can also be useful in grooming harder-to-reach areas like the underarms and around the tail.

She also noted that the width between the bristles of the detangling comb that you choose should depend on the thickness of your cat’s coat. For instance, thicker coats common among breeds like British short hairs or Persians would do better with a wide tooth metal comb to better glide through the fur without causing tension, whereas cats with thinner coats might do well with finer tooth combs.
A hypoallergenic and plant-based shampoo bar just for pets
If you are planning on bathing your cat, Drechsel said that a hypoallergenic shampoo is a must, and preferably one that doesn't leave a residue on the fur which could potentially be ingested when your cat licks themself. This gentle lathering shampoo bar is formulated with coconut oil to be great for skin and conditioning the coat and rinses out easily and cleanly. Using a bar over a liquid can also make it easier to suds up your animal while they are wriggling around or trying to escape.
Hypoallergenic cat wipes for quick ear, eye or butt cleaning
"Earthbath cat wipes are my go-to for a quick ear cleaning and for wiping eye boogers out," Bullock said. These fragrance-free hypoallergenic wipes are formulated with vitamin E and aloe vera to moisturize both coat and sensitive skin while eliminating excess dander, messes or oil buildup.
A sterile saline solution for eye cleaning and tear stain removal
Many cats, especially short snout breeds like Persians, are prone to excess tear production and build up around the eye which needs to be cleaned daily. For this, Drechsel prefers first aid saline solution because it's eye-safe and free from additives. She recommends soaking a cotton pad really well then placing it over the eye to loosen up any thicker or dried-up sections without harming or ripping out the fur underneath.
A calming ear cover to protect ears during bathing and drying
If you are going to bathe and dry your cat, Bullock said that she always uses a "Happy Hoodie" to help prevent water entering the ear canal and to muffle the loud noises from the dryer. The gentle compression and swaddling effect that this washable hood provides can also help minimize anxiety and make your cat feel more comfortable.
A protective grooming sleeve to prevent scratches
If your cat is prone to scratching while being groomed it might be useful to use a scratch-resistant protective sleeve during the process. Partially constructed of Kevlar, this sleeve is washable for easy cleanup and is flexible for unrestricted movement.
A spray nozzle attachment for the sink for easier rinsing
"For at-home grooming, it's important to use a deep sink if you have one, and a spray nozzle," Bullock said. Spray nozzles can make rinsing easier and help make sure that you are able to rinse off every part of the cat. She added that placing a towel at the bottom of the sink or basin can help make your cat feel more secure.

This easy-to-install attachment comes with a handheld shower sprayer with two spray modes as well as a faucet diverter and a mountable shower head holder. The flexible recoil hose can be extended up to 6 and a half feet.
A plastic e-collar to provide both distraction and protection
According to Bullock, using a plastic e-collar or "cone of shame" around your cat's neck can provide them just enough distraction to help get the job done while also shielding you from any bites. This waterproof cone collar is available in multiple sizes and has a padded trim neckline for a comfortable wear.

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