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When it comes to their everyday hygiene, your cat is kind of like you — they’ve got it covered and don’t need any help, thanks. In fact, if you tried to give them a tongue bath, it would be as weird as them trying to help you wash your hair in the shower (awkward, unnecessary, and gross). Still, low-maintenance is not no-maintenance. And, as much as they may beg to differ, your cat could use a hand with their primping every now and then. We’ve rounded up six cat grooming products and one plush robe (because: this guy) you never knew you needed.
Btw, our editors (and their pets) picked out these products. They’re always in stock at the time we publish, but there’s a chance they’ll sell out. If you do buy through our links, we may earn a commission. (We’ve got a lot of toys to buy over here, you know?)
When it comes to keeping clean, most cats are all set with saliva and a scratchy tongue. If your cat is particularly stinky, waterless shampoo is a genius option. Well & Good’s spray mist is dispensed so quickly, your cat won’t know what hit ’em. And the aloe vera, coconut, and rosemary formula will keep your cat, to quote Outkast “so fresh and so clean, clean.” If you want to brave bathing a cat, here’s a step-by-step guide.
Your cat’s thick undercoat is no match for this de-shedding tool, which will brush away fur before it transforms into a tumbleweed blowing about your apartment. There are different models for short and longhaired breeds, each with a “FURejector” to discard the hair that would have otherwise blanketed every surface of your home. Getting your hands on an undercoat rake for cats might be the best decision you make all year.
Brushing your hair is enough work on its own. If you also brush your cat’s — wow, we’re impressed. For less remarkable mortals, this nifty bristled archway is designed so that your cat can self-brush simply by walking through it. Particularly rub-happy kitties should take to this cat grooming arch right away, and it will help to capture flyaway fur.
One way that cats express their affection for us is by licking us, which draws upon memories of how their mothers groomed them. Uh, no, we aren’t going to suggest you actually lick your cat. (We can all breathe a collective sigh of relief.) The LICKI brush is the perfect way to return the favor and give your cat the sensation of being lovingly groomed. The tongue-shaped silicone brush has a flat end that fits into a human mouth so you can make like a mama cat and, well, you get the picture. It’s pretty weird, but hey, the things we do for love.
The sweetest kitten can metamorphose into a feral tiger when threatened with a nail trim. For this delicate operation, we suggest gingerly approaching your cat, ideally when they’re sleeping, and muster as many snips as possible before they realize they’re under siege. Millers Forge’s plier-style clippers are the best nail trimmers that should be in every cat owner’s tool kit. They are spring-loaded for cutting precision and the safety stop prevents over-cutting.
Maybe you’ve been reading along, chuckling, thinking, Yeah no, my cat’s not going be cool with any of this. We’ve got you. If you’ve lost many battles attempting to groom your cat, a grooming bag will get the job done and will be a little less intimidating to your cat than a pair of falconry gloves. Just zip your cat securely into the bag (super easy — JK) and poke one paw at a time out through front and rear zippers. Ask for forgiveness later.
We can all agree that, no matter the occasion, a spa day is never a bad idea. Our first product recommendation is less about grooming and more about relaxing. You’re not wrong if you think this small animal-sized bathrobe resembles a swaddle, something cats who like to hide can appreciate — as will you when you start clipping nails.
Mai Lynn Miller Nguyen is a freelance culture writer who launched a neighborhood publication called The Pet Times while in elementary school. She is a devoted (read: obsessed) pet parent to Pippi, a spirited little orange cat who was found in the wilds of Michigan in 2020, has since crossed the country three times, and loves to climb trees.