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.
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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. 

HuffPost may receive a share from purchases made via links on this page. Every item is independently selected by the HuffPost Shopping team. Prices and availability are subject to change.

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.

Before You Go

Just 21 Things That Are Great For Anyone With A Pet To Own
Eco-friendly, sustainable and delicious dog food(01 of 22)
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Open Farm has a range of different recipes, including dry food, wet food, gently cooked food and treats. They use humanely-raised and antibiotic-free meats that are wild-caught and sustainably farmed and sourced. It's free of growth hormones, artificial flavors or fillers, and can be used as a topper or a whole meal. Every provider the company works with is audited to make sure they meet high environmental and health standards. Open Farm also holds itself accountable to certification partners that make sure they maintain the highest standards of farm animal welfare. It's basically fine dining for your pet. (credit: Open Farm)
A Dash dog treat maker(02 of 22)
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Promising review: "This treat maker is really neat. A recipe book is provided. You can also find places on the website for more recipes and you can even make up your own. It is fast and easy to use. You can also save money and your pets will love it." —Donnie G.

Get it from Amazon for $28.99.
(credit: amazon.com)
A backseat cover that's basically a hammock for your dog(03 of 22)
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Promising review: "I have a Swiss shepherd and he often gets very messy. I used to take him to the park and lake without seat cover and my car was a big mess. My last cover broke pretty quickly so I replaced it with this one. I love the nonslip bottom, it is waterproof and protects my car seats from mud, water, and fur. The seat belt openings are large enough. This is a great product, high quality and reasonably priced." —electric

Get it from Amazon for $39.99+ (available in two sizes and four colors).
(credit: amazon.com)
A slow-feeding bowl(04 of 22)
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Promising review: "My Blue Heeler eats WAY too fast, and then gets all full of belches like Barney Gumble. This put a stop to that INSTANTLY. It took him about a minute to figure out how to really get at the food, and now he eats all meals from this bowl, and no more upset tummy." —David Broido

Get it from Amazon for $7.56+ (available in four sizes and 11 colors).
(credit: amazon.com)
A poop bag holder with a built-in LED flashlight(05 of 22)
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Promising review: "Perfect for nighttime walks! It is made of quality material, not something that will break after a few uses. They also provided spare batteries and different clip-on accessories to fasten to the dog’s leash. It is definitely worth the upgrade from our previous bag dispenser which would often get stuck when we inserted a new set of poopy bags. Personally, this dispenser is easier to dispense as they provided slightly more wiggle room than our last." —LP

Get it from Amazon for $9.99 (available in four colors).
(credit: Amazon)
A pack of all-natural chew sticks(06 of 22)
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Promising review: "I have two middle-aged cats, who both love these chew sticks. They could smell them before the package was opened. They rolled about like kittens and frolicked for quite some time. They must be carrying them about because the sticks aren’t in their toy box. A sure stamp of kitty approval. Thank you for packaging in a resealable bag. I’m very satisfied with this product." —K B

Get them from Amazon for $9.97.
(credit: Amazon)
A cat condo with hammocks and scratching posts(07 of 22)
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Promising review: "Incredibly happy with our purchase! Fast shipping + easy assembly! Our cat Bones approves, the pictures prove it!" —stewiesanson

Get it from Amazon for $89.98+ (available in four colors).
(credit: amazon.com)
An interactive wand with feathers(08 of 22)
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Promising review: "What a great set of toys! My kitties get so bored when it's cold outside and can't play in the gardens. These wands are the perfect toy for exercise and mental health. These are well-made, good-quality wands that resemble mini fishing poles. The line is a heavy gauge fishing line with a swivel on the end to attach the feather or the fuzzy toy. There is a bell on the end of the toys and as soon as my cats hear the bell they come running to play. I am happy with this purchase and would recommend to any cat lover like me." —Bear Mountain Farmer

Get it from Amazon for $11.98.
(credit: Amazon)
A plush duck squeaker toy(09 of 22)
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Promising review: "My guy is little, but a very powerful chewer. His favorite thing in the whole world is to immediately disembowel stuffed toys of their stuffing and squeakers. Most toys don’t make it much past the five-minute mark but this duck is going on two weeks now!! Surprisingly durable! It’s been such a hit I bought another one to give one of my granddogs for Christmas! Definitely recommend it!" —C. Grant

Get it from Amazon for $6.48.
(credit: amazon.com)
A pack of yak dog chews(10 of 22)
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Promising review: "This treat rings all the bells: it lasts a while, it satisfies my dog’s need to chew, it doesn’t smell, it’s all-natural, and it apparently tastes good - my dog just loves them. The best part is that all of the treats are edible - when it’s chewed down to a small piece, toss it in the microwave for 45 seconds and watch it turn into a giant doggie Cheeto. And that’s what my dog loves most!! Highly recommended by my dog and me!" —LS

Get a pack of three from Amazon for $21.95+ (available in four sizes and also in multi-packs).
(credit: amazon.com)
A pack of peanut butter flavored Greenies Pill Pockets(11 of 22)
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Promising review: "These pockets are highly malleable and that really comes in handy. I have one dog who takes one pill a day and one dog who takes five pills twice a day. One pocket lasts me all day. I pull off a small piece to give the 1 pill. I split the remainder in two and even a small piece contains multiple pills quite easily. Given the volume of medicine, using one whole pill pocket at a time isn't advised because it would pack on pounds. Highly recommend the Peanut Butter variety as they have almost no smell vs. the chicken variety. 14/10 would recommend." —Louise Chiffonade Brescia

Get a pack of 30 on Amazon for $7.98.
(credit: amazon.com)
A de-shedding brush for cats and dogs t(12 of 22)
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Promising review: "Wow! My cat loves this brush but, not as much as me! It removes all that extra fur and when you're done, the push button actually works really well pushing it all up to the top of the brush so you can easily remove it off the top. I have arthritis so I really appreciate the easy cleaning!" —lady

Get it from Amazon for $10.72.
(credit: amazon.com)
A Carhartt collar(13 of 22)
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Promising review: "We got the orange one for our doggo, he is a red-tri Aussie and it looks very handsome on him! Somehow, he knew it was for him and was very excited about it, so he would give a great review too if he could! :b I love that it has the reflector bits on it, and of course, the all-famous Carhartt logo. The bronze buckle is a nice accent to it as well. This collar is sturdy and fits very nicely, is very easy to adjust, and does not come loose easily. Was also able to easily attach his dog tag, and the attachment for the dog tag on this is very sturdy as well. Size is also true. Definitely recommend for the Carhartt fans who want to share the brand with their pups!" —Fox

Get it from Amazon for $14.99+ (available in seven sizes).
(credit: amazon.com)
A cat litter deodorizer(14 of 22)
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Promising review: "I have three cats and multiple litter boxes throughout my house. This stuff is a game-changer! My newly adopted cat is sensitive (or maybe I should say he's a finicky brat) when it comes to strong smells in his litter box. I recently had to switch to unscented litter for him. Having three cats, I know it's hard to find an unscented litter that helps control odor. This somehow helps a lot but isn't so strong that it bothers my cat either. I scoop the boxes daily and mix a small amount of this in when I do. It helps dramatically!" —PB

Get a 20oz box on Amazon for $2.03 (also available in a 30oz size).
(credit: Amazon)
Doggy cake mix your canine is sure to devour.(15 of 22)
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Promising review: "This was a huge hit, since both of our chocolate labs LIVE for peanut butter. Instead of the yogurt icing, I melted some actual peanut butter in the microwave and used that as icing instead. Chuckie could barely wait for it to bake!" —aim1030

Get it from Amazon for $9.99 (available in six flavors).
(credit: amazon.com)
A water fountain with a silicone mat(16 of 22)
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Promising review: "I bought this for my mom's cat because he loves running water. Her cat loved it so much so I bought one for my cat. It’s been out of the box for five seconds and he’s already drinking from it. It’s so cute! Very quiet. And holds a lot of water!" —den93011

Get it from Amazon for $27.99 (available in two colors).
(credit: amazon.com)
A Kong chew toy(17 of 22)
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Promising review: "Kongs are to dogs what Candy Crush is to humans. No, seriously. You pull the Kong out and they get this crazed hyper-focused look on their faces and you know the fun is about to start! Stuff it with treats, peanut butter, cheeze whiz, or literally nothing at all. It doesn't matter, your dog will go crazy for this toy, particularly if they're a chewer or chaser! They're great for fetch, and (shhh, don't tell my dog) I particularly like pulling ours out when I can see my Boston Terrier Xander wants to play but I'm too busy with housework (or Facebook) to throw the same ball over and over and over." —berlee

Get it from Amazon for $11.99.
(credit: amazon.com)
A pack of hypoallergenic dog wipes(18 of 22)
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Promising review: "Love these wipes for our little dirt magnets. I keep them right by the door so they get cleaned up when entering. The little guys now are starting to lift their paws." —Carole Richardson

Get a pack of 100 from Amazon for $4.99.
(credit: Amazon)
An electric flopping fish toy(19 of 22)
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Promising review: "I chose this interactive fish toy for our new 7-month-old rescued boy kitty because he was starting to annoy his older sisters. He has A LOT of energy and is quite smart. He was a little hesitant at first but after watching his sisters interact with it, he decided to take on the fish. He strikes it, wrestles with it, and carries it all around. He will play with it for a long time and is tired afterward. Exactly what I was hoping for. I love how you can easily remove the battery to charge. It charges quickly and lasts for several days. Sooo convenient! And you can easily hand wash the 'skin.' Oh, and it comes w/ a great catnip pouch that easily slips inside with the battery pack. The packaging cracked us up. It looked like smoked trout in a shrink-wrapped bag. Lol. All my cats highly recommend this toy!" —Diana V.

Get it from Amazon for $13.99+ (available in four styles).
(credit: amazon.com)
A heartbeat stuffed toy(20 of 22)
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Promising review: "Amazing!! Must buy!! Brought home our new Havanese puppy yesterday! He loves it!! Barely cried slept four hours straight!! He is only 8 weeks old!!!! A must-have for new puppy owners!!!" —Adriana Aagaard

Get it from Amazon for $39.95 (available in five colors).
(credit: amazon.com)
A hide-a-squirrel puzzle toy(21 of 22)
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Promising review: "I bought this around 6-months ago for my 10-lb, 2-year-old Chihuahua mix. It’s become his favorite and most cherished item! We still have all three little squirrels, but my dog likes to nibble on their little strands of hair, and rather than fish the squirrels out of the stump, he loves to just carry the empty stump with him everywhere and he runs to it every time he comes back from a walk or finishes eating. He also likes to carry it out with him when he goes out to sunbathe. He and I have to tug it daily! While he is a little guy, he tugs and shakes it vigorously every day and has nibbled on parts of it over time and it is still in fairly good shape. We washed it in the washing machine recently and it didn’t fall apart! Whenever this does fall apart, in time, I’ll definitely just replace it. This item is as cute and fun as it looks and I think any dog that likes toys will be excited about it as soon as you open it! :)" —Bailey O.

Get it from Amazon for $12.99+ (available in four sizes and 12 styles).
(credit: amazon.com)
And a travel water bottle to make long walks(22 of 22)
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Promising review: "This water bottle is truly a godsend! I cannot imagine using any other travel water bottle for my pups! It is slim, fits perfectly in a bottle slot in my travel bag; it is lightweight and has a loop to put around my wrist when I walk with my pups. It is extremely convenient on car rides when my pup is thirsty and needs a quick pick-me-up! I especially love the fact that it sucks the water back in, so that I am not wasting unused water. The 12-oz bottle is perfect for tiny dogs. Anything bigger than 10 lbs, I would recommend you purchase the larger bottle." —LV4NMLS

Get it on Amazon for $16.99+ (available in two sizes and also in pink).
(credit: amazon.com)
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