A healthy kitten will always groom itself. However, as a cat parent, there are some essentials that you will need to keep at home to ensure that your kitten is healthy and well-groomed.
Nail clippers are easy-to-use and the quickest way to protect yourself and your furniture from your cat’s natural scratching tendencies. A scratching post or platform may not be adequate to keep the sharp tips of your kitten’s nails trimmed.
A completely indoor cat will require nails to be trimmed with a nail clipper. There are a variety of clippers to choose from, where the nail is inserted into a small opening and a slight squeeze cuts the tip. Catclaw scissors are also available, which have blunt ends to prevent accidental cuts for both the cat and the parent.
Avoid using dog nail clippers for cats as they are much larger in size and inexperienced pet parents can accidentally clip the nails too deep.
There are dozens of brush types to choose from. Some are designed to groom specific types of cats or to accomplish specific goals. For example, a flea comb is suitable for young kittens with a flea infestation. The bristles on the grooming brush can be hard, soft, wire or pins.
The most popular type of brush is a slicker brush which is a flat rectangular platform, covered with slender steel bristles. It can be used on all cat types and most cats love being brushed by this. Other options for grooming your cat include rubber grooming pads or grooming gloves that fit over your hand. These massage your cat’s skin and effectively remove dead hair. Additionally, combs such as fine-toothed flea combs or wide-toothed combs are also available. Combs are beneficial when working with long-haired breeds which tend to get knotted or matted easily.
Toothbrushes & Toothpaste
You may not believe it, but kittens require dental care just like humans do. Cats can get heavy deposits of tartar, tooth decay and possible gum disease, which will require a veterinary visit for professional teeth cleaning and dental procedures. Hence, it is advisable to clean your cat’s teeth regularly.
Start small and get your kitten comfortable with you touching her teeth with your finger or a toothbrush from a young age. Offer treats after each session. Slowly increase the duration of the brushing until you can access all the teeth. This will usually take over 2-3 weeks depending on how quickly your kitten gets comfortable with this process.
Always use only cat-friendly toothpaste as human toothpaste can be very harsh on their teeth and gums.
Pet wipes are wet wipes safe for use in pets. They can be used to quickly clean up dirty paw pads, soiled fur, ears or even the anal region.
Cat shampoos are a must, even if baths are infrequent. While cats do not require baths as often as dogs do, only cat-safe shampoos should be used on their skin and fur. There are many types of shampoos with different ingredients meant for different purposes. Always start with a mild kitten shampoo. If required, your veterinarian will prescribe medicated shampoos to treat bacterial or fungal skin infections, tick/flea infestations or allergies.