From nearly effortless de-matting to quick-and-painless claw-clipping, these 10 tools definitely take grooming to the next level.
Find a soft-bristled toothbrush specially made for cats at your local pet store. The head must be small enough to easily fit in your cat s mouth, and the bristles should readily flex when swiped with your thumb. For kitties that refuse a standard brush, purchase a “finger ” brush — a rubber sheath with raised ripples that slips over your finger. Simply slide your finger back and forth across your cat s teeth to give them a good cleaning. Finally, for very small cats and kittens, experts suggest using a standard cotton swab in lieu of a toothbrush.
2. The Perfect Brush
Cat brushes come in all shapes and sizes, but professional cat show exhibitor Lisa Fuller recommends wide-tooth brushes with plastic bristles and beaded tips for longhaired cats, and roller-teeth combs with short bristles for shorthaired cats. She emphasizes the most important consideration when choosing a brush is to test out several different types and settle on one the cat likes to be groomed with.
3. Grooming Glove
For a sneaky way to keep a not-so-cooperative cat s coat looking its best, try using a grooming glove. The glove, featuring tiny bumps perfect for snagging up loose fur, slips over the owner s hand for easy use. Just stroke the cat as usual, and stray hairs are pulled right up. The beauty of this tool is that cats will not even realize they are being preened.
4. Safety Nail Clipper
Clipping a cat s claws can be tricky, since the base contains an area filled with nerves and capillaries called a “quick. ” Clipping down too far can therefore cause immediate pain. To avoid this, purchase a safety nail clipper made specifically for cats, which features a mechanism to stop the clipper from going too far down on the claw.
5. Kitty Wipes/Washcloth
Cats can have allergies, and allergies often produce runny eyes and noses. Experts recommend gently wiping away the discharge with a warm washcloth, as one would with a child. For owners on-the-go, several companies make “kitty wipes, ” wet wipes formulated to be feline-safe and quickly dispensed, that can serve the same purpose as a washcloth.
6. De-shedding Tool
When the weather warms up, cats need to cool off, which often results in a houseful of fur and a cat covered in mats. Eliminate up to 90 percent of shed fur by using a handheld de-shedding tool, available at many pet stores. A specially designed stainless steel edge collects the loose fur, yet does not penetrate or scratch the cat s skin. This tool removes much more shed fur than a regular brush or comb, which are designed for detangling as opposed to hair collection. Less loose fur in the coat means fewer tangles.
When tackling the toughest of tangles, use a de-matter as opposed to scissors to avoid leaving gaping holes in your cat s coat. A de-matter features elongated, razor-like prongs which work their way through the mat, teasing it out in small parts at a time. This method gets the job done while maintaining as even a coat as possible.
8. Thinning Shears
If a mat seems beyond detangling with a de-matter, don t head for the scissors. Grab a set of thinning shears. Make delicate buzz-cuts in a crisscross pattern around the edges of the base of the mat until it s released. Thinning shears can eliminate the “blunt-cut look ” associated with scissors, and also provide a safer way to cut out unmanageable knots.
9. Corn Starch
The average cat owner may not consider corn starch a grooming tool, but many professional cat show exhibitors consider it a “must-have trick-of-the-trade. ” That s right – a simple dusting of corn starch rubbed into the base of a cat s fur makes the coat noticeably fluffier and less greasy. This easy, safe tactic can turn flat to full in no time.
10. Seafood-flavored Toothpaste
What better way to gain your cat s cooperation in brushing its teeth than to use a savory-flavored paste? Since “human ” toothpaste can harm cats, specialty feline toothpaste is the only option. It makes sense to purchase a “feline ” toothpaste that not only cleans your cat s teeth, but makes the activity easier on you and more enjoyable for your cat in the process. Entice your cat with tuna, beef, or chicken flavored toothpaste, and watch tooth-brushing transform from a chore to a pleasurable experience.
Kristin Grant is a freelance writer based in Baton Rouge, La., where she enjoys grooming her three cats Max, Jasmine, and Daphne … when they allow her to.