Cat grooming tools generally include brushes, combs, grooming gloves, nail-clipping tools, and even toothbrushes. While most cats tend to groom themselves regularly, extra grooming can help improve the cat's health and appearance while reducing mess in the home. Breeds with long fur will generally require more grooming care, and additional cat grooming tools may be needed for these animals. Breeds with short fur are generally easier to keep groomed, since shorter fur does not form knots and mats as quickly. Cat grooming tools are usually designed with the safety of the animal and the convenience of the owner in mind.
Many people consider toothbrushes to be essential cat grooming tools. Toothbrushes for cats are generally soft and rubbery and can be worn over the fingertip of the owner. Brushing a cat's teeth daily can help prevent tooth decay, but the routine should usually be introduced when the cat is a kitten. Kittens are generally better able to adapt to such a routine. Specially formulated toothpastes and other oral hygiene products, made specifically for cats, are usually recommended, rather than toothpaste intended for human use.
A nail-clipping tool may be one of the most valuable cat grooming tools available. These tools can be used to dull the cat's claws, making it less likely to harm household objects or people by scratching. Most experts recommend a guillotine-style nail clipping tool. To use this style of nail-clipping tool, the very tip of the cat's claw is generally inserted through a small hole at the end of the device, so that when the handles are squeezed, a blade safely removes the claw's tip. Other nail-clipping tools include the scissor type, and some people use a human nail clipper to trim a cat's claws.
Some cats may need to be bathed, although minimizing this practice is generally advised. Animals that have become excessively soiled may need to be washed using a shampoo intended for use on cats. Animals with certain skin conditions and parasitic infestations may also need to be bathed, although veterinary advice in these situations is usually recommended.
Brushes, grooming gloves, and combs can help prevent excess shedding and improve the appearance of the cat's fur coat. Grooming gloves are usually considered best for short-haired breeds. One simply pets the cat while wearing the glove, allowing loose hairs to adhere to its rubbery palm surface. Brushes may have soft bristles or rubbery bristles. Combs with fine teeth are generally useful for cleaning dirt and fleas from the cat's fur.