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Why Does My Cat Scratch The Wall?

A white cat with black and grey patches looking up at something and extending its right paw towards it.

You’ve no doubt seen your cat do it, that lazy stretch up the wall followed by the digging in of their claws as they return to the floor. Or maybe you’ve witnessed your cat, with intense determination, frantically scratching at the wall with both paws as if trying to dig a tunnel. Scratching your wall can be a normal behavior for cats, but not one that you may want to promote. Let’s learn why cats scratch walls and how you can try to stop it.

Why Do Cats Scratch?

Two kittens, one cat is black, white, and orange sitting down on the right. The other kitten is white and orange, and is standing and clawing at a wooden board sticking in the ground.

The scratching behavior is important to your cat. It’s completely natural and normal. The trouble is that it can often involve the destruction of furniture, carpets, and other things you would like to keep intact. 

Reasons Why Scratching is Important for Cats:

  1. Maintain Claw Health: Scratching helps to remove the outer layer of a cat’s claw. This layer is often flaky and needs to be removed to make way for the healthy layers underneath. Scratching also helps keep nails a comfortable length so that they don’t get so long that they cause pain. Also, scratching helps to sharpen the ends of those claws into a nice point. While sharp claws aren’t nearly as important for our housecats as cats in the wild, it’s still instinct to keep their claws sharp and ready for protective purposes.
  2. Mark Their Territory: When a cat scratches the wall, they’re doing more than just sharpening their claws. The scratch marks they leave can tell other cats that this area belongs to them-both visually and by smell. Cats possess scent glands in their feet that leave their specific scent where they scratch. It helps other cats know who was here and when.
  3. Stretch: A big ritual in a cat’s day is stretching. It has to be considering the amount of time that they sleep. Your cat may find all kinds of interesting ways to stretch, including standing up against your wall. Scratching also can help stretch their feet, toes, and hand legs.
  4. Get Your Attention: Your cat may scratch the wall next to you, the door, or the place where their food is kept to get your attention. It’s hard not to notice a cat when they’re leaving their mark in places like that.

Why Do Cats Scratch the Wall?

A grey and white cat with black stripes standing up clawing at a ropes tied around a wooden post.

If it makes sense to you why cats feel the need to scratch, you may still be confused about why it happens on your wall. Most of the time, cats prefer to scratch things with specific textures; think about scratching posts covered in fabric or rope. Sometimes they want something different. 

Even though your cat may have every scratching post, pad, or toy on the market, it doesn’t mean they’re satisfied. Some scratching equipment for cats might be too small to achieve a good stretch while scratching, or the material might catch their nails. Instead, your cat may prefer the wall because it’s big enough to accommodate a full stretch, and it won’t obstruct their nails.

How to Keep Your Cat From Scratching the Wall

A light brownish cat with black stripes with one of its paws clawing a scratching post.

If your cat’s scratching behavior has become destructive, it’s time to steer that behavior in another direction. There’s no use in trying to keep your cat from scratching altogether. Instead, try the solutions listed below.

  1. Use a Scratching Post: A good scratching post can be the answer to you and your cat’s needs. Observe your cat’s habits. Does your cat only scratch at the wall, or do they have other favorable spots? This will help you determine what kind of textures and orientations to consider. If walls are the preferred option, look for a large vertical surface, preferably one that you can hang in the location that they’ve been scratching.
    • The same goes for scratching near the door or food cabinet. Place a large, vertical scratching post in these areas. This will still allow them to draw attention to themselves without damaging your home.
    • You can use some attractant, like catnip, on the new scratching posts to encourage use.
  2. Use a Deterrent: If your cat is set on scratching the wall, especially in a specific area, using a deterrent may help. You can place furniture or some other object to block the area off, or you may also try covering the area in aluminum foil or double-sided tape.
    • For a chemical deterrent, you may try one of many commercial sprays available on the market or some DIY solutions with essential oils that cats don’t like the smell of.
  3. Clip Their Nails: By clipping your cat’s nails, you’re keeping them short so that your cat doesn’t have to. It will also blunt the tip so that their scratching doesn’t cause as much damage. Just be sure to use the right type of nail clipper for your cat.
  4. Keep Them Engaged: Scratching can result from boredom or as a way to get your attention. Make sure your kitty gets their fill of together time by carving out some time for play, grooming, or snuggles every day, preferably when you first get home.

Final Thoughts

Scratching is completely natural for cats. However, it may also be something that is coming between you and your feline friend. Hopefully, if your cat is scratching the wall, some of these tips will help you maintain minimal damage while fulfilling your cat’s scratching desires.

The Best Cat Nail Clippers

A close-up of a cat's paw with someone clipping one of its nails with a nail clipper.

Whether they mean to or not, there may be times when your cat’s nails snag your skin, furniture, or blankets. Most of the time, your kitty will have precise control over their nails, but if those nails are allowed to grow too long, you could have some trouble. 

Not only can long nails snag, but they can also be painful for your cat and can even grow into the pads of the toe if you’re not careful. Rather than risk any of these issues, be sure to trim their nails with a reliable clipper. Here is a list of the best nail clippers for your cat and an informational buying guide to help you find the perfect product.  

Overall Best Product:  Boshel Cat Nail Clippers

Boshel Cat Nail Clippers
Recommended by professionals.
Ergonomically designed and easy-to-use.
Top grade stainless steel will last for years.

Clipping cat nails is all about comfort for you and your cat. The Boshel Cat Nail Clippers are one of the best products for comfort. They have an ergonomically shaped, non-slip handle to make it easier to avoid accidental cuts, and they feature angled blades so that you can better see what and where you’re cutting. 

On top of that, these clipper blades are super sharp, making a clean-cut, and are made of stainless steel to ensure years of high-quality use. They are also small in size and not cumbersome so that you won’t be fumbling around with the nail clippers while trying to hold your cat’s feet still. These clippers also have a 100% satisfaction guarantee, so you can get your money back if you don’t care for them.

However, if you happen to have bigger hands or prefer a clipper with a little more bulk, these are not the clippers for you. Some people don’t care for the angled blade, opting for a straight blade cutter instead.


  • Ergonomically shaped
  • Non-slip
  • Angled blades for better visualization


  • Too small for some hands
  • Won’t work for larger or tough-to-cut nails

Best Electric Nail Trimmer: Casfuy Professional Electric Pet Nail Trimmer

Casfuy Professional 2-Speed Electric Rechargeable Pet Nail Trimmer
Recommended by veterinarians and pet grooming professionals.
Super low noise & vibration.
Lightweight and ergonomic body design.
Built-in battery lasts 2 hours after a 3-hour charge.

If clipping nails terrifies you or your kitty, an electric nail trimmer like the one from Casfuy, might be the way to go. This electric nail trimmer can quickly and easily grind nails down to a manageable length. It’s also quiet and produces a low vibration to reduce stress in anxious kitties. 

This electric nail trimmer is also very versatile, making it an excellent choice for multiple pets of various sizes. The adjustable two speeds allow you to work at a slow speed for smaller nails and a faster speed for larger nails. 

There are also three different ports to accommodate different sizes of nails. Another great benefit is that this nail trimmer features a rechargeable battery that lasts up to two hours per charge and an indicator light to let you know how much battery life is left. The unit is also small enough that it is easy to hold without being cumbersome.

However, electric nail trimmers can cause increased anxiety in some cats. This is usually because it is noisier than regular nail trimmers and does create some vibration that can be upsetting for kitties that aren’t used to it. Also, they can trim nails too short very quickly, so care needs to be taken to prevent that.


  • Quiet motor, low vibration
  • Quickly and easily trims nails
  • Rechargeable battery


  • Can trim nails too short
  • Can be upset some cats
  • More expensive than regular nail clippers

Best Guillotine Style Nail Clippers: Pettom Cat Nail Clippers

Pettom Cat Nail Clippers
Safe and comfortable ergonomic design.
Durable stainless steel construction doesn't rust.
Safety stop blade greatly reduces the risk of cutting nails too deep.

Some cat parents and professionals swear by guillotine-style nail clippers for cats. These nail clippers have one blade that slides across a hole where you put your cat’s nail through. They provide greater visualization and only one cutting surface to decrease the chance of trimming nails too short. These clippers from Pettom are a great choice if you prefer the guillotine style of nail trimmers.

Not only are they safer to use, but these clippers are also made from high-quality stainless steel to increase durability and sharpness. They are ergonomically shaped for greater comfort and efficiency when using them. The blade is also replaceable so that you never have to deal with or worry about a dull blade that won’t cut.

This is important because if guillotine clipper blades aren’t sharp, they can crush the nail instead of cutting it. 

This may make some cats and cat parents hesitant to use it. It’s also essential to ensure that all parts are in working order and replace any that are not. These clippers need to work in one smooth motion for the best results. Any hang-ups or chopping can hurt the nail.


  • Only one blade to worry about
  • Safer due to better visualization of the nail
  • Easy to use


  • Dull blades may crush rather than cut the nail
  • May lock up if not working properly
  • Not for larger pets (like dogs)

Best Value: Pet Republique Cat Nail Clippers

Pet Republique Cat Nail Clippers
Comes with a 90-Day money back guarantee, and 4-year warranty.
Thick stainless steel blades are strong and stay sharp for years.
15% of the profits are donated to the American Animal Rescue Society.

Pet Republique makes a scissor style nail trimmer that is small and convenient for clipping the nails of cats or even small dogs. It is made of durable stainless steel to stand up to multiple trims while retaining its sharpness for a clean cut every time. The size of these clippers allows them to easily fit into your hand without being overly large and hard to manage. They are also very affordable, making them a great choice if you’re trying to figure out what nail clippers will be the best for you and your cat.

Also, for every purchase made from the Pet Republique, a donation of 15% will be made to the American Animal Rescue Society to help rehome rescued and abandoned animals. So, if you’re looking for an easy to use and reliable nail trimmer from a company with a positive cause, these may be the trimmers for you.

These nail trimmers are for cats and small animals only. They won’t work well on larger dogs. So, if you have multiple pets of varying sizes and are looking for an all-around nail trimmer, these won’t do it for you. It’s also a must to check and retain the sharpness of these blades as dull blades can crush the nail or create a jagged cut that is rough and will catch on things.


  • Inexpensive
  • Easy to use
  • Durable


  • Not for larger dogs
  • Some blades may show some machining defects

Best Human-Style Nail Clippers: Jackson Galaxy Soft Grip Cat Nail Clippers

Jackson Galaxy Soft Grip Cat Nail Clippers
Made specifically for the nails of cats.
Non-slip comfortable rubber handle makes it easier to hold the clipper, providing a safer grooming experience for your pet.

If you’re more comfortable with human-style nail clippers for your cat’s nails, look into these from Jackson Galaxy. Even though these clippers may look like those in your bathroom cabinet, they are specifically designed for cats. They are the right size and shape to efficiently and comfortably trim any cat’s nails.

The handles feature a rubber pad for your comfort so that your fingers won’t slip or be pinched when using them. Like human nail clippers, the top handle swivels for more convenient storage and is mechanically designed to cut with less force than most other nail clippers. It is also inexpensive if you are questioning and want to give it a try.

These clippers look and work like human nail clippers. While the action and use of these nail clippers will be reminiscent of your own nail clipping, they provide less visualization of cat’s nails, so be sure to use them with caution to prevent cutting nails too short.


  • Familiar design and action to human nail clippers
  • Comfortable and easy to use


  • Can easily clip nails too short
  • Top handle swivel may be confusing if you’re not used to this style of clipper

Best Cat Nail Clippers Buying Guide

A woman holding a grey and white cat in her arms while she is cutting one of the cat's nails with a clipper.

Whether you’re a new cat parent or seasoned owner, having a good set of nail clippers is a must for any cat-occupied household. Even though cats usually take care of grooming and nail care themselves, trimming their nails does carry many benefits. Having the right nail clipper is vital if you want to cut your cat’s nails and with less stress easily.

Why Do Cats Need Their Nails Trimmed?

A close-up of the face and paws of a grey and white cat with black stripes. The cat has its front paws on a ledge and looks to be hanging from that ledge while peering over it.

You’ve no doubt experienced your cat clawing at furniture, the carpet, or even your leg. This is a cat’s natural way of sharpening their claws and removing the older, outer layer. It can also prevent nails from getting too long. However, most of the time, this behavior is discouraged as we would rather keep our couch and carpets in one piece. 

Trimming your cat’s nails will help decrease the destruction they do when performing this natural behavior. It can also help prevent the painful repercussions that come from having nails that are too long.

When cat’s nails are left to their own growing devices without proper access to a scratching post or other structure, they can grow to the point that they curl back into the pads of the foot, creating a painful and possibly infected area. Regular trimming will help prevent this from happening and give you a chance to notice any broken or split nails before they become a bother.

Clipping your cat’s nails can also decrease the chance of an errant nail scratching you or your furniture. Cat’s nails are retractable, meaning they are under cover most of the time, but when nails get too long, they become harder and harder to conceal, allowing for accidental scratching.

Shorter and blunter nails will also cause less damage to furniture and carpets when your cat gets the urge to scratch to remove the nail’s excess outer layers.

How Do You Trim a Cat’s Nails?

A brownish and orange-ish cat being held by someone and another woman cutting the nails of the cat's front paw with a nail clipper.

Trimming a cat’s nails can be a one or two-person job, depending on your kitty’s willingness. Before attempting a nail trim, gather all necessary tools, help, and your cat. For kitties that need a little encouragement, a large bath towel or cat sack may help. You’ll want a good set of clippers and even some corn starch on hand in case you get a little blood. 

Get a comfortable hold on your cat’s body and paw and push down on the footpads to extend the nails. Take notice of the pink triangular area of the nail as that is the blood supply and the area that you’ll want to avoid. 

A drop of baby or mineral oil on the nail can help make that spot more visible. Using your clippers, trim off the tip of the nail just beyond the pink area. It may take several clips, especially if you’re uncomfortable and only want to take small bites at a time. Repeat with all nails. 

If you happen to trim one too short and get a little blood, dabbing corn starch on the spot can help stop the bleeding. Be sure to reward your kitty for a job well done. Don’t hesitate to enlist the help of others if your cat is nervous.

How to Choose the Best Cat Nail Clippers

A close-up of cat's paw with one of its nails being cut with a cutter by someone.

The style of nail clippers you choose for your cat will depend on your cat’s temperament towards nail clipping and your preference. There are many styles to choose from, including:

  1. Scissor Style Clippers: These are exactly as they sound. They feature two cutting blades that come together in a scissoring action to clip the nail. They may be spring-loaded to facilitate clipping larger nails or not have a spring for smaller nails. This style of clippers may require a little more experience as it can be hard to see where the lower blade is cutting, making it easier to clip nails too short.
  2. Guillotine Style Clippers: These clippers have a single cutting blade that slides over a hole for your cat’s nail to go through. They provide great visualization but may crush the nail if not kept sharp enough.
  3. Electric Nail Grinders: These are more popular for larger dogs with thick nails that are hard to clip. These grinders use an electric motor that operates a file that grinds nails down. They are quick but can be loud, scary, and grind the nail too short, especially in cats. These usually require more experience to prevent grinding the nails too short.
  4. Human Style Clippers: These look like, or are, exactly what you would use to clip your fingernails. They feature two cutting blades that come together and cut the nail when you push down on the upper handle. They are usually inexpensive but provide little visualization of your cat’s nail as you are cutting it and may be better suited for experienced nail trimmers.

Most beginners prefer a guillotine-style clipper, while most pet parents with multiple pets of various sizes may prefer a scissor style or electric grinder. Whichever clipper you choose, make sure that the blades are as sharp as possible and that all parts are in working order before attempting a nail trim on your kitty.

Final Thoughts

Trimming your cat’s nails may be something you need to do regularly or for your feline friend. Either way, having the right nail clippers will significantly reduce the stress and increase the job’s efficiency. Then your kitty can enjoy their comfortable paws while your household can enjoy fewer tears and scratches.

The Best Cat Self Groomers & Buying Guide

A grey and white cat with some black stripes lying down holding and biting a pink brush.

Cats love to look their best, and as you’ve probably have realized, it doesn’t come without effort. It sometimes seems that they spend nearly every minute of their waking hours grooming themselves. And sometimes they still need a little help from you and a brush. If you want to help your kitty continue to look good but want to save them and yourself some time, look into getting one of the best cat self-groomers to boost their grooming routine.

Best Overall Self Groomer: Petstages Scratch and Groom

Petstages Scratch & Groom Corrugated Cat Scratch Pad With Catnip
Self-groomer and scratcher that helps reducing fur shedding and hairballs.
Scratch pad includes dried catnip to further entice your cats.

For a 2-in-1 product with a simple design, it’s hard to beat the Petstages Scratch and Groom. It features an arched brush mounted on a cardboard scratching pad. The brush provides the perfect location for your cat to self-groom or get a little self-massage. The cardboard flooring is perfect for working out those claws and their natural scratching behavior without sacrificing your carpet.

Another great thing about this product is how lightweight and easily mobile it is. It can blend into any décor and be moved throughout the house. Your kitty will like the do-it-yourself ability of this product. They can get a back scratch whenever they want! During those heavy shedding times of the year, you should find yourself wallowing in less and less cat hair as your cat can get rid of it at their leisure. 

The cardboard bottom is also infused with catnip to entice your kitty to use it.

Since the bottom scratch pad is made of cardboard, it will wear out. If your cat scratches especially hard with their claws, it may leave bits of cardboard pieces that can scatter around your house. If kitty is a vigorous clawer, they can end up moving or tipping the whole product over.


  • Inexpensive
  • Self-groomer and scratcher in one
  • Catnip infused to attract use


  • Will need to be replaced
  • May leave bits of cardboard around your house
  • Easily tipped over or moved

Best Combo Product: Happi N Pets Premium Cat Arch

Happi N Pets Premium Cat Arch Self Groomer Cat Massager
3-in-1 multipurpose designed cat grooming brush & massager.
Luxury cork surface and high end plush surrounding the scratching pad for extra comfort.

The Happi N Pets Premium Cat Arch is more than just a self-grooming brush. It also includes a cork scratching pad and a catnip-filled mouse toy mounted on a spring to keep your cat entertained. 

The self-grooming arch’s bristles are longer than previous versions of the product, making it ideal for cats of all hair lengths. The cork scratching pad base offers a different texture than most scratching pads for kitties with picky scratching tendencies, and the mouse toy provides mental and physical stimulation for when you can’t be there.

This product’s base is weighted and lined with plush fabric to make it attractive, comfortable, and sturdier. Cats can play, scratch, and groom all day with less chance of tipping it over or chasing it around the house. The longer bristles provide more grooming power to get through even thick or long hair. This can help to catch loose hairs and keep them from floating around your house.

A possible issue with this product is that the brushed arch is relatively small, making it difficult for cats to walk through it. While small cats and kittens may be fine, larger cats might avoid using it since they will have to crouch or crawl through to get the full effect.


  • Combo product featuring brush, scratching pad, and toy
  • Weighted bottom to prevent tipping over
  • Longer bristles to accommodate all hair types


  • Small arch
  • Some cats might not like cork for scratching

Best Self Grooming Vertical Brush: Amazon Basics Cat Scratching Post With Toy

AmazonBasics Cat Scratching Post with Toy
Durable, scratch-friendly design allows your pet to entertain themselves for hours on end, keeping their claws busy and their mind content.
Made of natural jute rope with a carpeted MDF wood base, for long-lasting quality and durability.

This product’s name implies that it only has a scratching post, but it also features a mounted vertical brush to aid your cat with self-grooming. Included on the base is a mounted vertical scratching post with a toy attached at the top, making this an all-in-one entertainment station for your kitty.

This product is durable, featuring a jute rope covered scratching post, carpeted base, and a stiff-bristled grooming brush that helps remove shed hair, prevent mats, and stimulate the skin through massage. Your kitty can rub or roll against the brush, reaching all groom-able parts of their body. 

This product works best with kittens or smaller cats. Since it is only about 21 inches tall, it might not be a favorite of those long-bodied types that like to get a full stretch when scratching. Taller cats may have trouble using the self-grooming brush since it will be difficult to reach the higher parts of their sides and back without laying down. This product can also be easily flipped over, especially if your cat is an aggressive scratcher or groomer.


  • Includes scratching post, toy, and vertical self-grooming brush
  • Durable materials
  • Helps to remove hair and stimulate the skin


  • Easily tipped over
  • Only for smaller cats

Most Versatile Product: IMISNO Cat Self Groomer With Cat Nip Pouch

IMISNO Cat Self Groomer with Catnip Pouch
Made of eco-friendly softer plastic, so it is safe and won't hurt your cat's skin and it easy to install on walls.
Can be used as an self-groomer or as a handheld brush.

For a wall-mounted self-groomer with plenty of versatility, look into the IMISNO Cat Self Groomer. Not only can you mount this brush on a corner or flat surface, but you can also use it as a hand-held brush to groom your kitty. Since this product comes in a four-pack, consider doing all of the above! There is also an inner compartment for putting catnip if your cat needs a little extra nudge to get used to this brush.

The IMISNO Cat Self Groomer can be easily mounted on walls or cabinets with screws or adhesive strips. If your cat prefers a flatter surface, it can even be mounted on the floor. The plastic bristles will help stimulate the skin while catching loose hair and preventing mats and tangles. Your kitty will love how this brush promotes their natural rubbing behavior, and they may appreciate the little catnip enticement.

Some kitties might find the bristles of this brush too hard, especially if they are aggressive groomers or rubbers. The nice part about this version is that your kitty can adjust the intensity they use if the bristles seem too stiff.


  • Can be mounted on flat or curved surfaces
  • Easily cleaned
  • Inner compartment for catnip


  • Bristles may be too stiff
  • Can cause damage to walls

Best Wall Mounted Product: TTSAM Cat Corner Self Groomer

TTSAM Cat Corner self Groomer
Made of upgraded version 3.0 softer ABS plastic base and softer plastic bristles, to ensure gentle massaging and grooming without painful remove fur or scratch the cat's skin.
Easy to install, disassemble, and to clean.

If you want to promote your cat’s natural tendencies to rub on things and get a little grooming at the same time, look at this wall mounted self-groomer. The TTSAM Cat Corner Self Groomer attaches around the corners of walls, cabinets, or even table legs to provide a surface for your cat to rub and self-massage while collecting hair and preventing tangles. 

This self-grooming brush is easily mounted using optional screws or adhesive strips. It can be mounted at any height to ensure that your cat is comfortable and wants to use it. 

The brush can also be removed for easy cleaning in soapy water. The soft plastic bristles won’t cause any damage to your cat yet are sturdy enough to massage and stimulate the skin while collecting loose hair and preventing mats.

Before buying this product, make sure that you have the proper surface for it. Since it wraps around for two-sided use, you’ll need a corner that sticks out rather than goes in. You’ll also want to make sure it won’t cause any damage if your cat is aggressive and pulls it off of the wall.


  • Versatile brush that promotes a natural cat behavior
  • Collects loose hair
  • Easily cleaned and assembled


  • May cause damage to the wall or cabinet
  • Cats may need some enticing or training to use it

Cat Self Groomer Buying Guide

A close-up of a brush and its bristles with the text, "Cat Self-Groomer Buying Guide" written on it.

Whether you’re looking at a self-groomer for your cat to reduce the amount of hair around your home or your kitty just wants a little stimulation, make sure you buy the best product by following some of these tips.

Why Does My Cat Need a Self-Groomer?

If cats are such professionals at keeping themselves clean and presentable, you may be wondering why they would need a self-groomer. The answer is, they don’t need one, but they might love having one around. Self-groomers consist of some version of a brush mounted to a platform or wall that allows your cat to rub against it at their leisure. It works to both help remove loose, shed hair and to massage and stimulate the skin. Frequent brushing also helps prevent tangles and mats and distribute natural skin oils for healthy softness and shine.

A cat’s tongue may be good at removing dirt and debris and preventing tangles, but a brush can really help get the job done. Brushing is essential for those cats that don’t groom as they should due to illness or age. While brushing your kitty is also a great way to bond and spend time with them, it’s often not feasible for us to be with them all day. A self-groomer is an excellent substitute for when you want your kitty to have the benefits of brushing but just don’t have the time.

How to Choose a Self-Groomer For Your Cat

As with all cat products, there is a wide variety of self-groomers out there. Choosing the best one for your cat’s needs requires knowing your cat’s preferences and natural behaviors.

  1. Arch Style Self-Groomers: For those kitties that love to rub against your leg or crawl under blankets, an arch type brush may be best. These self-groomers features a firm bristled brush mounted in an arch over a base that often doubles as a scratching pad or play area. This brush allows your kitty to walk or crawl through, getting the full effect of a nice back rub or massage while collecting loose hair, combing through mats, and spreading skin oils.
  2. Wall-Mounted Self-Groomers: Most wall-mounted self-grooming brushes are smaller and work best for cats that like to face or body rub along a vertical surface. They can be mounted at a comfortable height and promote a cat’s natural behavior for “head butting.” These brushes can also work well at collecting loose hair, massaging, and can be placed nearly anywhere without being another piece of cat furniture that’s in the way.
  3. Vertical Brush Self-Groomers: Another style of self-groomer is a vertically mounted brush or post. These are often found on a platform and allow your cat the same benefits of being able to headbutt, walk by, or roll along on their belly to reach the brush’s bristles. 
  4. Combo Products: If you’re short on space or don’t want another cat product in your home, look into a combo self-groomer. These can have the self-grooming brush, in the form of an arch or vertical brush, with an attached scratching post or pad, toy, hammock, or bed. They are often carpeted, weighted, and durable to make them safe and comfortable.

How Do I Train My Cat to Use a Self-Groomer?

Most kitties will take to a self-groomer instinctively. They have the urge to rub against things, especially if they get a pleasing massage in return. But some cats may have a harder time coming around. For those that are more difficult to convince, try these tips:

  1. Allow for Exploration: Cats are curious by nature, and most will willingly come to inspect a new piece of equipment. Leave the new self-groomer out where they can see it and use it without any pressure or observation.
  2. Add in Some Play: Don’t hesitate to play with your cat and the self-groomer. Show them that it isn’t scary and is something they can enjoy.
  3. Demonstrate: If your kitty just doesn’t understand, show them how it works. Help them to rub against it or brush them near the product. Once your cat is comfortable with this, brush them against the groomer gently.
  4. Catnip: If all else fails, rub some catnip on it. Catnip is a natural cat attractant and can be used on just about any cat product to make it more enticing. If your self-groomer doesn’t feature a catnip compartment, you can rub some on the bristles or base to get your cat interested.

Final Thoughts

Self-groomers for cats can be great products that help promote the health of your cat’s skin and haircoat. They can replace you having to brush them when you can’t be there. Self-groomers can also provide your cat with entertainment and independence, especially if grooming has become difficult for them to do themselves. Choosing the right self-groomer for your cat will depend on their natural habits, your available space, and if you want any additional bells and whistles. 

The Best Cat Shampoos: advice from a veterinarian

A light and darker grey cat in the bath with soapsuds all over its body and on top of its head. An arm can be seen in the background washing the cat.

We’ve all heard that cats hate water. While it’s true that most felines would avoid a plunge in a lake or running through the sprinkler, they can learn to tolerate an occasional bath. 

To get your kitty to enjoy baths more, it helps to have the right tools. Among the most important is using a proper shampoo. There are so many brands available on the market that knowing which one to choose can be challenging. To help you find the perfect product for your cat, here is a list of the best cat shampoos you can buy, along with a buyer’s guide with essential information.  

1. Best Overall Shampoo: Burt’s Bees Hypoallergenic Shampoo With Shea Butter and Honey

Burt's Bees Hypoallergenic Shampoo
Made with high-quality ingredients and does not use any fragrances, sulfates, colorants, and harsh chemicals.

If you love Burt’s Bees products for yourself, chances are you’ll love their pet care line as well. This hypoallergenic shampoo is made from all-natural ingredients, like shea butter for moisturizing and honey to add a little extra shine to your cat’s haircoat. 

There are no harsh chemicals, including fragrances and dyes, that can be toxic or cause harm to your cat’s skin. The formula is pH balanced to be gentle yet cleansing for all skin types, even young kittens and older cats.

Even though Burt’s Bees Shampoo is made with natural, non-toxic ingredients, it can still get the job done, leaving your cat’s hair soft, shiny, and free from mats. It will also leave their skin moisturized without irritation. This product isn’t scented, so you won’t have to worry about being overwhelmed by a strong perfumey fragrance.

On the other hand, if you’re looking for something with a fresh scent, you won’t get it with this product. It also doesn’t produce a lot of lather, making it easy to use too much. This also makes it harder to tell if you’ve completely rinsed the product out of your cat’s fur.


  • All-natural ingredients
  • Includes shea butter to moisturize skin and hair
  • Includes honey for some extra shine


  • Doesn’t lather well
  • No added fragrance 

2. Best Detangling Shampoo: Earth Bath Mango Tango 2-in-1 Pet Conditioning Shampoo

Earthbath Mango Tango 2-in-1 Pet Conditioning Shampoo
Does not contain any soap, gluten, DEA, parabens, synthetic dyes, sulfates, or phthalates, and is animal cruelty free.
Safe to use on all animals over 6 weeks old.

Another all-natural product from Earth Bath is their Mango Tango 2 in 1 Conditioning Shampoo. This is a good choice for long-haired cats or those prone to tangles and mats. The gentle cleansing and conditioning leaves hair shiny and smooth to prevent and help remove nasty snarls and knots. It’s also free from harsh chemicals, like parabens and sulfates, so that it won’t over-dry your kitty’s skin.

The combination of shampoo and conditioner in this product will cut down on a step in the bathing process, getting your kitty out of the tub sooner while still leaving their hair and skin soft and moisturized. When used regularly, this product can help reduce the number of mats and tangles in your cat’s haircoat, especially when combined with regular brushing.

The mango tango in this product’s name is due to the fragrance, so if you’re not into strong scents on your kitty, this product isn’t for you. Not only can that added fragrance be irritating to your nose, but it can also be irritating to cats with sensitive skin, causing rashes. Use with caution in kitties with previous skin sensitivities.


  • All-natural ingredients
  • Helps to detangle and prevent mats and snarls
  • Gentle and conditioning


  • Scent can be overwhelming
  • May cause irritation in cats with sensitive skin

3. Best for Shampoo for Sensitive Skin: Pro Pet Works All Natural & Organic Oatmeal Shampoo + Conditioner-

Pro Pet Works All Natural & Organic Oatmeal Shampoo + Conditioner
Hypoallergenic soap-free blend for pets with allergies & sensitive skin.
Does not contain any soap, detergent, sulfate, alcohol, or parabens & is cruelty free.

This product, formulated for both dogs and cats, has everything you’ll need to clean your cat’s sensitive skin and haircoat without being over-drying or causing irritation. It is soap, alcohol, detergent, and sulfate-free.  

It does contain ingredients like aloe and almond oil to moisturize and prevent itchy skin. The addition of oatmeal also makes it soothing for kitties that already have a case of the itchies. Along with all of those ingredients, there are vitamins to help boost haircoat health as well.

This product is gentle enough to use frequently without causing excessive dryness, yet can remove dirt, extra oils, and loose hair. It’s 2-in-1 formulation provides a cleanser with a conditioner to cut down on the amount of tub time for your cat without skipping the all-important conditioning step that will leave hair soft, shiny, and tangle-free.

The natural cherry scent in this product can be overwhelming for some people and cat noses alike. It’s also essential to thoroughly rinse this product from the hair and skin as leaving it on can lead to dry skin and irritation.


  • Gentle and chemical-free for sensitive skin
  • Added conditioner to moisturize
  • Soap, detergent, sulfate, paraben, & alcohol-free


  • Scent can be overwhelming
  • Thoroughly rinse to prevent over-drying

4. Best Shampoo for Shedding: Top Performance Shed Patrol De-Shedding Shampoo

Top Performance Shed Patrol De-Shedding Dog and Cat Shampoo
Formulated with aloe vera, wheat germ oil, and vitamins to reduce unwanted shedding.
Enhances the shine and revitalizes your pet's coat.

To prevent shedding, a cat shampoo has to be deep conditioning. This prevents breakage and damage. Top Performance Shed Patrol De-Shedding Shampoo does just that, using omega fatty acids found in wheat germ and moisturizing with aloe vera. It also provides essential vitamins to make hair healthier and stronger so that your cat will shed less in between baths. Deep conditioning has the added benefit of leaving your cat’s hair soft, shiny, and smooth.

If your kitty is a heavy shedder, de-shedding shampoos like this one from Top Performance can cut down on the amount of hair left on your couch, carpets, and clothes. Providing deep conditioning will also help improve and moisturize your kitty’s skin, helping to decrease irritation. This product is also sold as a concentrate, meaning that one little bottle will make plenty of shampoo to keep your kitty clean and soft through many, many baths.

Any time you bathe your cat, they’re going to shed more right off the bat because you’re pulling those dead and loose hairs from their haircoat. A de-shedding shampoo is no different, so don’t be surprised if you see more shedding immediately following a bath. 

However, with regular use and grooming, the amount of hair that is shed should decrease over time. Deep conditioning shampoo also isn’t great for kitties that produce a lot of natural skin oils as the extra moisturizing can lead to a greasier haircoat.


  • Can decrease the amount of shedding between baths
  • Highly moisturizing and conditioning for optimal skin and haircoat health


  • May cause a greasier haircoat in some cats
  • Will increase shedding immediately following a bath

5. Best Waterless Shampoo: Wahl Pet-Friendly Shampoo

Wahl Pet Friendly Waterless No Rinse Shampoo
No rinsing necessary: Just dry with a towel and brush your pet's coat.
The pH balanced formula is, alcohol, paraben, and PEG-80 free.
Calming formula cleans, conditions, detangles, and moisturizes.

If your kitty just can’t be persuaded to take a traditional bath, or if you’re pressed for time, a waterless shampoo may be the way to go. Waterless shampoos are sprayed on and then patted dry to gently clean and condition without having to put your cat in the sink. 

Wahl Waterless Shampoo is an excellent choice because it is alcohol and paraben-free and pH balanced for all skin types. This gentle formula will clean, condition, detangle, and moisturize without getting your kitty overly wet.

Another bonus is the use of lavender and chamomile as natural, plant-derived calming ingredients. This may help keep those nervous kitties calm and comfortable during the entire bathing process, even though you aren’t immersing them in water like a traditional bath.

The lavender scent can be overpowering, especially since you don’t rinse it out. If you find it too strong, you can consider using less of the product more frequently to achieve the level of cleanliness without the overwhelming smell. Also, since this is a leave-in product, you don’t want to use too much to prevent your kitty from getting sick when self-grooming.


  • Waterless formula-no bathtubs required!
  • Gentle and effective
  • Can be calming for nervous kitties


  • The scent may be overwhelming
  • Can make cats sick if they lick it off immediately

Best Cat Shampoos Buying Guide

A young, blonde woman holding and inquisitively looking at a bottle that looks like pet shampoo. She is in a store and in front a shelf with a row of products in front of her.

The grooming supplies market for cats has recently exploded, which may seem weird since cats tend to do most of it themselves. However, even the most fastidious self-groomers can use a little assistance sometimes. For those kitties, having a great shampoo on hand can really help you out.

Why Do Cats Need Baths?

A grey cat with black stripes being washed by someone. It has soapsuds on its head and body.

Before we get into shampoos, it’s important to understand why cats need baths in the first place. After all, most cats spend 90% of their time awake bathing themselves, so why do they need your help? The truth is, the cat tongue is a great bath and comb all in one, but the occasional bath with shampoo can boost your cat’s skin and hair health. Baths are especially important for several reasons.

  1. Detangling: Long-haired cats are especially prone to mats and tangles. Regular baths with a moisturizing shampoo can help prevent and remove tangles and mats. They work by leaving hair slick and smooth, making it harder to form knots.
  2. Shedding: Shedding is a natural process where old hair is replaced with new hair. However, some cats may shed more than others because their hair is dry and brittle, leading to increased breakage and damage. Deep conditioning cat shampoos provide extra moisture to hair to decrease the amount they lose on your clothes and carpet.
  3. Degreasing: The skin produces natural oils that help to moisture the hair to keep it healthy and shiny. Some kitties produce more oils than others, causing a greasy haircoat. Shampooing can gently remove some of that excess oil to promote a shiny coat without the greasy feel.
  4. Cleansing: While it’s less likely than dogs, cats are capable of getting into “stuff.” Sometimes things can leave your cat’s haircoat so dirty that they can’t clean it off themselves. They may even contact things that could be harmful for them to clean off, making a bath from you an important step.
  5. Fleas or Other Parasites: Some flea and other parasite treatments come in the form of a shampoo. These products will help remove the adult fleas and eggs to treat the infestation and prevent it from spreading to other animals.

How to Choose the Best Cat Shampoo

A grey cat with black stripes lying on a pink towel which is on top of a countertop. There are bubbles floating in the air, and one bubble is directly in front of the cat's face. We see that cat's face through this transparent floating bubble.

Once you’ve decided to undertake bathing your cat, it’s important to have a shampoo that will work with you. Understanding your cat’s needs from a shampoo product will help you choose the one that’s right for you.

Safety: First and foremost, you want a product that is safe to use on your kitty. This means a shampoo that is free from parabens, alcohol, and phosphates. You’ll also want to find something free from fragrances and dyes if your cat has sensitive skin or a sensitive respiratory tract. Always try the product on a small patch of skin before covering your entire cat to ensure it won’t cause irritation.

  1. Conditioning: Each cat shampoo product offers different degrees of conditioning. Depending on your cat’s skin and haircoat type, you should choose one that will provide more or less conditioning. Dry skin and hair should have more conditioning, while greasy hair and skin should have less. 
  2. Skin Sensitivity: Some kitties will get irritation seemingly from the sight of shampoo, so it’s vital to use hypoallergenic or a sensitive skin formulation for them. These products are usually free from fragrances, dyes, and other chemicals. They may also contain skin soothers, like oatmeal and aloe vera, to keep your cat’s skin healthy. Again, always try a new shampoo on a small area of skin to test for irritation before using it all over their body.
  3. Hair Type:   Long-haired kitties have different needs than short-haired kitties. The same goes for thick versus thin haircoats. Be sure to use a shampoo with plenty of moisturizers for long-hair to prevent tangles in long or thick-coated critters. You may also want to look for a shampoo that helps cut down on shedding if your feline friend is especially prone. 
  4. Your Preference: Most kitties aren’t going to care what scent their shampoo is, as long as it’s not irritating. They also aren’t going to care if it lathers well or not. Those preferences are up to you. You may also have a preference over using a concentrated formula versus one that’s ready-to-use. And, of course, pricing is also part of it. You’ll want to find a product that is safe, effective, and affordable.


A smiling cat with a shower cap on, lying in a small bathtub with bubbles and a rubber duckie toy. There is a blue curtain drawn halfway covering the right half of the bathtub.

Whether you’re a cat bathing veteran or this is your first go, it’s crucial to have the right tools. Not only does it make a possibly complicated process more manageable, but it’s also imperative that you have a product that is safe and effective for your kitty. 

Hopefully, this list of the best cat shampoos will help you find a product that will leave your cat clean, soft, shiny, and content without a lot of fuss or grumpiness.

How Hot is Too Hot for Cats?

An orange-tannish and white cat lying on the sand with the ocean in the background.

Cats tend to seek out sources of warmth-consider their quest for the perfect sunbeam, cozy blanket, or cat pile. However, that doesn’t mean they won’t reach a melting point. Not every kitty has the same level of heat tolerance. What each cat considers too hot will depend on several factors.

With an average body temperature that is slightly higher than our own, around 100 – 101° F (37.8 – 38.8° C), they can tolerate a bit more heat than we can. But as temperatures rise, cats are very limited in the layers that they can shed and their mechanisms for cooling their body. So, it’s essential that as cat parents, we pay special attention to our cat’s comfort to prevent potentially serious problems.

How Can I Tell If My Cat is Too Hot?

A small grey kitten with black stripes lying on its back with its paws outstretched to its sides on sand on a beach.

Most commonly, cats that are feeling warm will act uncomfortable. They may be restless and move around from place to place, seeking cooler temperatures. They may not eat as much and drink more. You may see them pant, especially after exercise. Or you may notice them grooming more often to increase the cooling effects of evaporation.

When cats start to get dangerously hot, they can experience heatstroke when the body temperature gets to 104° F (40° C) or above. At these high temperatures, organs and systems can start to fail and shutdown. Cats with heatstroke may pant excessively, drool, sweat from their footpads, appear disoriented, vomit, stagger, and have bright red gums. Heatstroke is a medical emergency and should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.

How Hot is Too Hot For Indoor Cats?

A white, grey, brown cat with black strips is sitting on someone's legs, with a fire burning in a fireplace in the background.

Most of the time, indoor cats are at little risk of getting too hot. Humans will be uncomfortable well before they are. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen. 

Situations like power outages when the A/C doesn’t work, or if a cat is in a confined space can lead to overheating. As a general rule, anytime temperatures exceed 90° F (32.2° C), your cat needs to be provided with a cool space, fan, or another cooling source, and plenty of water to feel comfortable.

How Hot is Too Hot For Outdoor Cats?

A small grey kitten with black stripes in outside in the grass, looking up at something.

Outdoor cats may be a bit more acclimated to hot temperatures, especially if they have access to cool, shady spots. However, to be safe, stick to the rule of 90 degrees to ensure their safety. Since outside temperatures in some areas routinely exceed 90° F, consider letting your cat indoors during extreme heatwaves.

How To Cool Down a Hot Cat

A black and white can sleeping on top of a table, with a small, blue fan in front of it. There is a sofa in the background.

Cats are usually more likely to seek cool spots and suspend activity than their canine companions, making heatstroke less common in cats. However, it’s still nothing to mess around with. When body temperatures reach 104° F or above for extended periods, your cat’s life could be in danger.

If you suspect your cat has heatstroke, cooling them is the priority. If you have a rectal thermometer, use it. It may be important to know their body temperature as a reference point to see how quickly they can be cooled down. 

Cooling them down should be started before you head to the veterinarian. Start by moving your cat to a cool spot, either in the shade or in front of the air conditioner or fan. Place them on a cool, wet towel. 

You can then spray or wipe cool, not cold, water on their fur, and use a fan to increase evaporation. If your cat is alert, offer them cool water. You can add tuna oil or low sodium chicken broth to entice drinking. Once you’ve knocked their temperature down a notch or two, get them to the vet for further treatment.

How to Prevent Your Cat From Getting Too Hot

A black, grey, and white cat lying on its back on a hardwood floor in a bathroom.

Always provide your kitty with a safe, cool spot. This may be as simple as a cardboard box that offers some shade. Bathrooms or laundry rooms with tile or vinyl floors are also preferred. Keep the temperatures in your home low and comfortable and invite outdoor kitties in when it’s too hot outside. 

Frequent grooming to remove excess hair and providing clean, fresh, water is also a must. Never confine your cat in a hot car or poorly ventilated room. A cooling mat may also offer some comfort for indoor or outdoor kitties.

Factors That Affect a Cat’s Heat Tolerance

A yellow-tanish and white cat sleeping on the ledge of a house or store which is located right in front of a body of water.

We all experience heat in various ways. The same temperature on the thermometer can feel different depending on humidity, wind conditions, shade, if you’re moving, or if you have a cold drink. Cats are no different.

1. Ventilation

Stagnant air turns the temperature from warm to hot, really quick. A fan or breeze can help to move that warm air providing a cooling effect on your cat. 

2. Exercise

Muscle movement creates heat, which is exemplified by the heat in the environment. Cats that are moving or playing are more apt to get hotter than those who choose to lounge when the temperatures rise.

3. A Cool Space

You may notice that cats tend to “disappear” during the hot summer months. This is because they are hiding out in a cool, dark spot to keep their body temperature down. Without access to these cool hideouts, heat becomes more of a problem.

4. Age and Health

Older and younger kitties can’t regulate their body temperature as effectively as healthy adults. Similarly, those with chronic health conditions, such as kidney disease, may have trouble as well.

5. Weight

Excess fat provides insulation, which is great in the winter months but not so much as it gets warmer. Overweight kitties will have a harder time staying cool.

6. Haircoat

Before giving your cat a summer haircut, it’s important to realize that that haircoat provides some insulation against the heat. However, in long-haired or thick-coated cats, the protection against heat is overcome by the hair’s heat absorption. Frequent brushing to remove dead hair can help.

Grooming also helps to cool cats down. Wetting the haircoat with their tongue is sort of a cat’s way of sweating as the evaporation of that water helps to cool them off.

7. Breed

Cats cool themselves by panting, similar to dogs. Panting moves hot hair from inside the body through the mouth and nasal cavity, where it utilizes evaporation to cool down. Cats with “smushed” faces, such as Persians, Himalayans, and Scottish Folds, have a shorter nose and, therefore, less area to provide that cooling effect. 

8. Access to Water

Hydration is a major factor in a cat’s cooling process. Having a moist nasal and oral cavity is a must to allow for evaporation during panting. It is also essential to keep systems functioning at higher temperatures.

Final Thoughts

Even though we often think of cats as heat seekers, they can get too hot. Providing them with ways to cool off is key in preventing discomfort and heat stroke.

Why Does My Cat Lick and Then Bite Me?

A grey, brown cat with some white patches is lying down on a black and white blanket, holding someone's hand with its paws and biting their finger.

Biting is usually seen as a form of aggression in cats, but what if they were licking you first? Why in the world would a cat lick you first only to bite you a few seconds later?  

When a cat licks and then bites you, it can be for several reasons, including showing you affection, telling you they’re done with this interaction, or trying to spark a playful exchange. To know where this licking and biting is coming from, you’ll need to look at some other clues as well.

1. Licking and Biting as a Sign of Affection

A black cat lying on a blue sheet with white dots (possibly a chair or sofa cover) biting the finger of a woman.

You’re undoubtedly aware that when cats groom themselves, their tongue is the main tool used to smooth and clean their hair. Long, luxurious licks are often coupled with quick bites or nibbles to remove dirt, seeds, or mats. 

Cats are social creatures. In the wild, they will often live in clans where multiple cats share in the hunting, sheltering, and even the grooming duties. When cats groom other cats, they will also lick and then bite in order to get their haircoat in peak condition.

Your housecat considers you part of their clan. They will groom you just as they would any other furry member. So, while you’re busy petting and loving on them, they may try to return the favor by grooming you-often with a lick and then a bite or nibble. These types of bites aren’t hard and don’t break the skin. You won’t find any other signs of aggression, such as growling, hissing, or tail switching. They will most likely be calm, have their eyes half-closed, and continue to lick you after the bite. 

You usually don’t have to do anything to correct this behavior. But if you aren’t a huge fan, you can try ignoring your cat to let them know you didn’t appreciate their love bite.

2. Licking and Biting as a Form of Play

A close-up of a grey and tan cat with patches of white and black stripes is seen biting the hand of someone.

When you’re right in the middle of an epic petting session, your kitty may see this as an opportunity to turn that attention to something a little more rambunctious. Sort of a “while I have you here” action.

This type of biting isn’t usually hard; just enough to get your attention. They may also curl up and play-kick you with their hind legs, or immediately jump up and dart around as if in pursuit of something. This will be more common in younger kitties that are prone to playing anyway.

Again, no aggression here. Although, they may stand back and twitch their tail as they prepare to pounce on you for the next round of play. If this isn’t what you had in mind, simply ignore the behavior and move onto something else. Don’t punish your kitty for play-biting, and don’t continue to play with them until they’re ready to play nice. Make sure you use a toy as a middleman so that your cat won’t abuse your fingers or hands.

3. Licking and Biting to Tell You They’re Done

A light brownish cat with some patches of white and black stripes is behind a cushion, grabbing on to someone's outstretched hand with its paws. The cat's mouth is open, seemingly to bite the person's finger.

Even the greatest and most relaxed petting sessions can’t go on forever. While we are usually the ones to end these fluffy lovefests, sometimes your cat may decide that enough is enough. They may start by licking you as a way of saying thank you for the attention and then bite you to signal the end of the interaction.   

Often, a cat will get up and leave after they bite you if this is the message they are trying to convey. However, if you happen to be sitting in their favorite napping spot, they may prefer that you leave instead. This might bring out a little aggression with some soft hissing or growling or even some claw-less batting until you get the idea and leave. 

With this type of behavior, ending the interaction is exactly what they want. Walking away and ignoring their behavior may not be the best way to let them know you don’t appreciate them biting you. 

Instead, you’ll want to end it on your terms. Try to watch their body language and stop petting them before they bite. They may get tense, pin their ears against their head, or start to squirm around a little before biting you. You can then stop petting them and even set them down on the floor or move them away from you so that they understand that this was your idea and that they don’t need to bite you. 

Are Cat Licks and Bites Unhealthy?

A small grey kitten with black stripes and some light brown matches is licking the fingers of someone (close-up shot).

Cat’s mouths aren’t the most sanitary places to hang out, but a few harmless licks or nibbles on your skin isn’t going to cause much of an issue unless you have open wounds. However, it’s never a bad idea to wash your hands and arms after petting or playing with your cat. This helps to remove excess germs and dander that may cause your allergies to act up.

Most bites after licking that you receive from your cat aren’t going to break the skin. They probably won’t even leave an indentation. If that’s the case, you’re good to go. If a bite does break the skin, it’s best to wash thoroughly with soap and water to reduce the chance of infection. 

Cat bites can commonly cause abscesses, and a more severe condition caused cellulitis if left untreated.

Cats have many behaviors that we often view as strange, with licking and then biting us topping most of our lists. However, it can be completely natural for cats within their cat community (of which you are part). Most of the time, take your cat’s licking and biting as a sign of affection and acceptance. Just be sure you can tell the difference between being playful and when they mean more serious business. 

Cat Vitamins and Supplements: Does Your Cat Really Need Them?

A dark brown, plastic bottle with a white cap and light green/dark green capsules inside, standing up on a grey carpet. There is also a grey cat with black stripes closing its eyes in the background. There is some white pills or possibly a cover next to the medicine bottle.


Cats require a nutritionally balanced diet just like any other animal or human. Most high-quality cat foods from reputable brands provide the balanced nutrition each cat requires, but in some cases, your cat may need a little nutritional support with supplements.

Usually, supplements are required in addition to their regular diet if there is an underlying health condition your veterinarian has diagnosed. Some of the most common conditions that require supplementation for cats include kidney disease, gastrointestinal disease (including hairballs), decreased immune system, joint disease, behavior conditions, dental disease, and liver disease. There are thousands of various supplements and vitamins on the market for pets. Make sure to be judicious in your use of these supplements and only use those recommended by your veterinarian.

Does My Cat Need Vitamins or Supplements?

There are eight main areas in which your veterinarian might recommend supplements for your cat. These areas are:

  1. General immune system support
  2. Kidney support
  3. Gastrointestinal support
  4. Skin and haircoat support
  5. Joint support
  6. Liver support
  7. Dental support
  8. Behavioral support

Here is the list of several quality supplements that are available under each category.


1.  General Immune System SupportA cute, light brownish cat with black stripes on what appears to be a cushioned chair, licking paste off of someone's hand.

There are two typical supplement types for general immune system healthy support:

  • Lysine Supplements
    • These are helpful supplements for cats for general immune system health and additional respiratory and eye support, especially from a viral disease such as Feline Herpesvirus.
  • General Health Vitamins and Supplements
    • These supplements are found as tinics, multivitamins, immune supports powders, or gels that provide additional immune support for older, sick, or otherwise immune-compromised cats.

There are several reasons why a cat might have a decreased immune system. One common reason is viruses that can weaken the immune system.

Some viruses that cats are especially susceptible to include:

Cats who have been diagnosed with these viruses should receive immune support under the direction of their veterinarian. Immune supplements can include L-lysine supplements, vitamins, fish oils, minerals, and more.


 1.  Viralys

Vetoquinol Viralys L-Lysine Supplement for Cats
Daily L-Lysine supplement for cats helps support a strong immune system and eye &

respiratory health.

Helps manage common feline health issues such as sneezing, runny nose and watery, inflamed eyes.

L-lysine is an essential amino acid that some studies show blocks the replication of Herpes virus cells and possibly decreases the virus’s shedding. Overall it supports the immune system. This supplement comes in powder to mix in wet food, or gel which has a molasses-like consistency.


2.  Enisyl

No products found.

Enisyl is another L-lysine supplement that comes in chews, bites, and a paste.


3.  Imuquin for Cats

Nutramax Laboratories Imuquin Immune Health Supplement for Kittens 6 Weeks and Older and Adult Cats
Veterinarian formulated mixture of vitamins and minerals to help support every day health.

Enisyl is another L-lysine supplement that comes in chews, bites, and a paste.

This is a great immune health supplement with a variety of ingredients including Beta Glucan to support healthy immune system function, Marine lipids as a source of omega-3 fatty acids to reduce inflammation, and vitamins and minerals to maintain a normal immune system and cellular activity.


4. Nutri-Cal

Nutri-Cal Nutrical High Calorie Gel
A high calorie supplement for cats and dogs.

Nutrical is a supplement that is high in calories and helps when a sick cat doesn’t have a great appetite. It is great for adding calories to the diet of an underweight or immune-suppressed kitty as well. This is a thick, molasses consistency gel that contains fish oil, vitamins, and protein.


5. Liqui-Tinic

Liqui-Tinic 4x Flavored Vitamin and Iron Supplement for Dogs, Cats, Puppies & Kittens
Iron, B-complex vitamins, and amino acids that is palatable for your pet and can help to support the healthy growth of young cats.

This is a flavored supplement that provides additional iron, vitamin B, and amino acids. Your veterinarian might recommend this product if your cat is deficient in any of these nutrients.


6.  Pet-Tinic

Pet-Tinic Vitamin-Mineral Supplement for Dogs and Cats
Contains iron, copper and 5 essential vitamins for pets that may not be receiving complete nutrition.

Pet-Tinic is another liquid dietary supplement that your veterinarian might recommend to supplement nutrients your cat may be lacking. It contains iron, copper, and vitamins.


7.  Vetriscience NuCat

VetriScience Laboratories - Nu Cat Multivitamin for Cats
An all-in-one multivitamin and mineral supplement that provides total health for cats of all ages.

NuCat has multivitamins that are great for additional nutrients to support your cat’s immune system. The multivitamin has essential vitamins, minerals, amino acids such as taurine, and omega fatty acids. It comes in tablets and chews, and they even provide additional supplements for senior cats specifically. This is an all-around quality supplement to support a sick, elderly, or otherwise immune-compromised cat.


2.  Kidney SupportA grey cat with black stripes lying down on a carpet, looking a little sick with its eyes half closed.

Kidney disease is common, especially in older cats. They require not only general immune system support but also kidney-specific health supplements. There are different aspects of kidney disease that can be supplemented, depending on the stage of kidney disease. There are potassium supplements, phosphorus binders, and probiotics specific for kidney health.

As cats age, they are prone to kidney failure, also known as chronic kidney disease. This disease occurs in several different stages that require additional nutritional and hydration attention.

Kidney disease has no specific treatment but can be supported through special care, including increased hydration and fluid intake, providing increased calories and high-quality nutrition. Adding supplements may help with secondary issues that kidney disease causes, such as anemia, increased phosphorus, decreased potassium, protein loss, blood pressure changes, and urinary issues.


1.  Azodyl

Vetoquinol Azodyl Kidney Health Supplement for Dogs & Cats
Azodyl probiotic caps to help support kidney function; safe for cats & dogs of all ages and sizes

Contains beneficial bacteria to help promote good kidney health & manage uremic (renal) toxins.

Azodyl is a special probiotic and prebiotic supplement that specifically supports kidney health.


2.  Epakitin

Vetoquinol Epakitin Chitosin-Based Phosphate Binder for Cats & Dogs – Renal Support
Chitosan-based phosphate binder is highly-palatable & supports renal function in dogs & cats.

Soy protein-based nutrition powder naturally supports normal kidney function & health in dogs & cats

This supplement helps to control rising phosphorus levels in the bloodstream as kidney failure advances. It contains phosphorus binding ingredients as well as protein supplementation.


3.  Renal K +

Vetoquinol Renal K+ (Potassium Gluconate) Potassium Supplement Powder for Dogs and Cats
A potassium gluconate supplement that is highly palatable & supports normal renal health in dogs & cats.

Renal K + is a supplement that helps potassium deficient cats in kidney failure. It provides additional potassium in the form of a powder or gel.


4.  Hydracare

Hydra Care Pro Plan Supplement
Nutrient-enriched water to support healthy hydration in cats.

This is a nutrient-enriched water supplement that provides osmolytes to increase water absorption. Cats diagnosed with kidney disease are prone to dehydration and can use hydration support in any way possible. Hydracare comes in a small packet that can be added to your cat’s food or fed alone.

Here is a video explaining it in detail.


3.  Gastrointestinal SupportA brown cat with black stripes and white chest is looking up with its eyes closed, and looks to have a big smile on its face.

The health of the gastrointestinal tract is essential.  This is where cats digest all its nutrients. Supplements to support the gastrointestinal system are important, especially in cats who have underlying gastrointestinal diseases such as inflammatory bowel disease, food hypersensitivities or are prone to hairballs. These include probiotics and omega fatty acid lubricants.

Cats that have frequent hairballs, vomit regularly, or have loose bowel movements, should be checked out by a veterinarian. Your veterinarian may recommend a probiotic supplement to replenish the good and beneficial bacteria in the cat’s GI tract.


1.  Proviable-DC

Proviable DC for Cats and Dogs
A multi-strain probiotic supplement to support gastrointestinal health in cats.

Proviable is a probiotic supplement that provides billions of beneficial microorganisms to your cat’s intestinal tract. This can be helpful for long- or short-term episodes of gastrointestinal upset. These probiotics help stimulate the immune system, digest nutrients, and produce vitamins and essential fatty acids. This probiotic comes in a paste or sprinkle capsule.


2.  Fortiflora

Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets Probiotics Cat Supplement
Probiotic supplement for the dietary management of kittens and adult cats with diarrhea.

This is another probiotic supplement that provides beneficial bacteria to a cat’s GI tract. It comes in packets of powder that are sprinkled over a cat’s food daily.


3.  Propectalin

Vetoquinol Pro-Pectalin Tablets for Dogs & Cats
Supplement that contains probiotics that support digestive and intestinal health & microbial floras.

Propectalin comes in a flavored gel or tablet form to provide beneficial bacteria to the GI tract and includes kaolin and pectin to aid in firming up loose stools. It helps maintain proper pH in the GI tract and supports normal digestive function.


4.  Laxatone

Laxatone Original Maple Falvor
An oral gel that is palatable, gentle, and an effective lubricant that aids in the elimination and prevention of hairballs.

Laxatone is a thick molasses-like gel given as a supplement to lubricate the GI tract to prevent and eliminate hairballs in cats. It contains mineral oil, molasses, and omega fatty acids.


4. Skin and Haircoat SupportYoung Asian woman kissing a yellow and white cat

Fish oils provide sources of omega fatty acids to support healthy skin and nails.

Cats that suffer from allergies, hair loss, skin infections, poor grooming, dandruff, dry skin, or dull haircoats can benefit from a daily fish oil supplement providing omega fatty acids. There are many different fish oil supplements for cats. They come in oil pumps or capsule varieties. They help nourish and support the skin and fur.


1.  Eicosa3FF SnipCaps

Dechra Eicosa3FF SnipCaps
Concentrated form of beneficial Omega-3 Fatty Acids in a free fatty acid form recommended to aid atopic dermatitis, dry skin or haircoat.

This is one of many varieties of fatty acid supplements. The free form fatty acid is well digested, and the snipcap variety is formulated to make dosing easier in cats. You simply snip off the tip and squirt the oil over your cat’s food.


5. Joint SupportA yellow cat lying down, being held by someone with green gloves. The cat's right front legs is wrapped in gauze.

Cats are prone to arthritis as they age, just like dogs and humans. Providing a high-quality glucosamine chondroitin supplement is beneficial for joint health.

As cats age, they are prone to arthritis and other joint diseases just as dogs and humans. While cats are smaller and, therefore, don’t have as much weight on their joints, they can still have difficulty navigating stairs, jumping on and off furniture and cat trees, and overall have decreased mobility. Supplementing with a high-quality glucosamine chondroitin supplement will help support the joints. These kinds of supplements are also beneficial in cats who have had accidents or injuries affecting their musculoskeletal system.


1.  Dasuquin Advanced

Nutramax Dasuquin Capsules
Formulated with glucosamine and chondroitin to support joint health

Dasuquin Advanced comes in a capsule that is sprinkled over the cat’s food or a tasty chew treat.


2.  Cosequin

Nutramax Cosequin Sprinkle Capsules for Cats
Contains 125 milligrams FCHG49 Glucosamine and 100 milligrams TRH122 Chondroitin Sulfate per capsule to help maintain joint health.

Cosequin is another supplement for cats that provides a high-quality source of glucosamine chondroitin to support joint health. It also comes in a sprinkle capsule or chews.


6.  Liver SupportA veterinarian examining a yellow cat with brownish stripes. The cat is lying down on the exam table, and the vet is using a stethoscope on the cat's stomach. The cat is looking directly into the camera.

Cat diagnosed with liver diseases can benefit from supplements that support liver health and function such as SAM-e (S-Adenosylmethionine) and Silybin A+B (also known as milk thistle).


4.  Denamarin

Denamarin Liver Support Supplements for Cats and Small Dogs
Provides liver protection, detoxification, and maintain the health of your pet's liver.

Denamarin is a supplement that contains both SAM-e and milk thistle in one tablet.


7.  Dental SupportA grey cat with black stripes having it's teeth cleaned with a toothbrush by a woman.

Dental disease is as common in cats as it is in dogs. Dental treats, chews, and plaque removing supplements help support the health of your cat’s gums and teeth.

Not only is it important to brush your cat’s teeth and provide regular dental cleanings, but you can also help support your cat’s dental health with supplements to remove plaque and tartar and help prevent inflammation in the mouth, such as stomatitis or gingivitis.


1.  Feline Greenies

Feline Greenies Natural Dental Care Cat Treats, Chicken Flavor
Crunchy texture helps clean teeth, reduce tartar buildup, and freshen breath.

Made with natural ingredients plus added vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients; nutritionally complete and balanced for adult cats.

Greenies are not only specially formulated dental chews and treats to remove tarter and promote dental health, but they are also a tasty treat that cats love to crunch on.


2.  Plaque off

Proden PlaqueOff Dental Care for Dogs and Cats
Promotes healthy teeth, gums and fresh breath.

100-percent natural oral supplement made from a specific strain of seaweed harvested from above Scandinavia.

This is a natural supplement made from seaweed to help remove tartar and plaque from the teeth and support overall dental health. It comes as a powder to be sprinkled over food.


8.  Behavioral SupportA light brown, grey cat with black strips and white patches is in a room, looking angrily to the camera. In the background, there is a shelf with a small white lamp that is very blurry.

Many cats have behavioral issues from inappropriate urination or defecation to aggression or obsessive-compulsive tendencies. Supplements that decrease anxiety and stress can be beneficial to help with these bad behaviors.

Cats can have various behavioral disorders and concerns from inappropriate urination or defecation to aggression, overgrooming, or other obsessive-compulsive behaviors. Supplements can help curb these undesirable behaviors before prescription medications might be needed.


1.  Feliway

FELIWAY Classic 30 Day Starter Kit Plug-in Diffuser & Refill for Cat
Diffuser emits an odorless copy of the facial Pheromone clinically proven to reduce scratching and urine spraying in 9/10 cats.

Feliway is a cat-specific pheromone that promotes calming and reduces anxiety. It comes in a travel spray, plug-in diffuser, and wipes to help cats with anxiety, stress, and inappropriate behaviors.


2.  Composure Chews

VetriScience Laboratories Composure, Calming Formula for Cats
Uses the natural power of Colostrum, L-Theatine and Thiamine to ease nervousness without effecting your cat's personality.

These are chews that support calming behaviors in cats, especially when exposed to stressors in the environment. They contain bioactive proteins from colostrum to help normalize brain function to encourage stress-reduction and relaxation.


3.  Zylkene

Zylkene Vetoquinol 75mg
Non-drowsy nutritional supplement to help manage pet behavior problems; helps promote sense of calm.

Zylkene contains a calming natural milk protein that is lactose-free & simple to administer daily.

Zylkene is a hydrolyzed milk protein that has calming properties and helps cats relax. It can also help make a cat more receptive to behavior-modifying training.



Frequently Asked QuestionsA light grey and white cat with black stripes staring at something on its right side. The background is all black.

Here are some of the most asked questions people have about giving their cats vitamins and supplements.


1. Why Does a Cat Need to Have Supplements?

Your cat might need to have a supplement added to their diet if they aren’t receiving adequate nutrition, have a virus that suppresses their immune system, has cancer, is a senior cat, or is otherwise sick or unhealthy.


2. How Do You Choose the Best Supplement?

The best and first thing to do is to talk to your veterinarian about which supplement is appropriate for your cat based on its health status. Your veterinarian will perform a thorough physical exam and run specific diagnostic tests to determine what parts of the body might benefit from supplementation.


3. What Are the Advantages and Benefits of Supplements?

  • Some advantages and benefits of supplements include:
  • They protect and support the immune system.
  • They help fight illness and infection.
  • There are supplements to support nearly every body system.
  • They can help correct nutritional deficiencies.
  • They can help the body absorb nutrients.


4.  What Is the Best Way to Use Supplements?

There are several different varieties of supplement formulations. Some come in powder, capsules, sprinkle capsules, gels, paste, or tablets, to name a few. Most supplements are administered orally.


5. What Kind of Controversy or Precautions Are There for Using Supplements?

Most supplements are considered nutraceuticals, meaning they are products derived from plants that claim a health benefit. The FDA regulates nutraceuticals as food instead of under the drug and pharmaceutical category. They should be administered under the direction of a veterinarian.


All About Maine Coon Cats

A big, brownish, grey-ish fur with black striped Maine Coon cat looking at the camera straight on

Quick Facts

Lifespan: 9-15 years

Size (Adult): Adult males are typically over 12 pounds while females are 8-12 pounds. Their length can reach up to 40 inches long.

Personality: Mellow, friendly, affectionate, talkative, social.

Shedding: Maine Coons shed a moderate amount with their thick, long, shaggy haircoats. They should be brushed frequently.

Pet Friendly:  Yes, they get along great with other dogs and cats. Likely other animals too!

Vocal:  Extremely vocal. They also make a unique chirping sound.

Indoor/Outdoor Cat:  Great as either indoor or outdoor cats.

Intelligence: Moderate intelligence

IntroductionA greyish brown cat with black stripes on a bed with white sheets, clawing and biting a yellow stick

Maine Coons are a large, attractive, and social breed of cat. Their gentle, friendly personalities combined with their sturdy bodies and gorgeous haircoats make them unique cats and wonderful pets. For those considering adding a Maine Coon to their family, or if you’re just curious about this breed, we have compiled some helpful information about getting to know the Maine Coon cat.


Origin/HistoryA yellow and white Maine Coon cat looking directly into the camera

There are a variety of theories and legends about how the Maine Coon cat came to be. It is thought that true to their name, Maine Coon cats originated from Maine in the United States, and were made Maine’s official state cat in 1985. They are said to have come from mating domestic shorthair cats to longhaired Scandinavian cats and first appeared in the mid to late 1800s. A Maine Coon cat named Cosey was the winner of the first American cat show in 1895. The cats adapted to the harsh New England winters, with their thick hair coats, tufted paws, and sturdy bodies. Today, we know them as one of the largest domestic cats and the only longhair breed native to the country.


SizeA big grey, tan-ish, Maine Coon cat with black strips lying down on a cushion looking into the camera.

Maine Coon cats are known as the “Gentle Giants” of the Cat fancy. They evolved through natural selection into big-boned, sturdy, muscular cats that could withstand harsh outdoor environments. They strut a broad chest, large square head, sizeable tufted paws, and a long fluffy tail.

As with many species, the males tend to be larger than the females and typically weight over 12 pounds, often nearing the 20-pound range.

Their female counterparts weigh in smaller in the 8-12-pound range, although they can be over 12 pounds. Maine Coons have long bodies reaching close to 40 inches, and their fluffy haircoats and tails often make them look even larger and longer than they already are.

Due to their size, it takes longer for the Maine Coon to reach a mature body weight. They grow slow and steady until about 4 years of age. Compared to other common cat breeds, the Maine Coon may look large and intimidating, but they will be quick to win you over with their friendly personalities.


PersonalityA cute light tan puppy resting its head on a grey cats head. The cat is slight squashed by the puppy's head, in a cute way. Both are lying on the grass.

Imagine a dog in a cat’s body, which is often what a Maine Coon cat is compared to. They are commonly referred to as the “dogs of the cat world,” with their social, playful, and affectionate personalities, even dog lovers will want a Maine Coon!

They are gentle, easy-going, sweet-tempered, and enjoy interaction with humans and other animals. These traits make them a great family pet since they get along so well with children, adults, dogs, other cats, and probably many other critters.

The only downside of a Maine Coon’s personality might be that they require more attention and talk more than their other feline friends who tend to be more reserved and quieter. Some people describe the chatter of a Maine Coon to be more of a chirp combined with a purr, rather than the traditional cat meow.

Most cats are known to hate the water. Maine Coons have proven to be the exception to this rule. Many of these cats enjoy the water and have been known to be efficient swimmers. They often like to drink from running water sources and will dip their paws and heads under the stream. Some will drink or play by scooping the water up with their paws and splash around in their water bowls. Many people mention that their Maine Coon loves the water so much they try to shower with them!

Maine Coons are intelligent cats. Many people have trained them to perform commands or tricks. They are even known to walk with a harness.

Here Are Some Ways People Describe Maine Coon Cats:

  • Friendly
  • Affectionate
  • Easy-going
  • Gentle
  • Well-mannered
  • Playful
  • Adaptable
  • Social
  • Loyal
  • Intelligent
  • Talkative


Lifespan and Health

A young woman veterinarian checking a big grey cat that is lying down on the examination table. An assistant wearing blue in helping off to the left side, but you can only see their back and right arm.

The average lifespan of the Maine Coon cat is, on average, 9-15 years. Like any cat, Maine Coons can suffer from diseases such as kidney disease, diabetes, hyperthyroidism, and periodontal disease. However, there are a few conditions that Maine Coons are especially prone to.


Hip Dysplasia

Hip dysplasia is a disease of the hip joint that leads to lameness (physically disabled). This is often a hereditary condition and should be screened for carefully in breeding cats to ensure that it is not passed down to offspring. In minor cases, the condition only causes intermittent mild lameness. Moderate conditions can be medically managed with pain medications and exercise restrictions. Severe conditions can be treated surgically. Your veterinarian can diagnose hip dysplasia with a thorough physical exam and radiographs.


Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy

This is another commonly inherited condition that is common in Maine Coons. Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, or HCM, is the most common heart disease in cats. It causes the heart muscle to become thick and work harder than it is meant to. Signs that your cat might have HCM include an increased respiratory rate, lethargy, or lack of appetite.


Polycystic Kidney Disease

In cats, polycystic kidney disease, or PKD, is a heritable condition characterized by cysts throughout the kidney tissue leading to kidney failure.


Spinal muscular atrophy

This condition affects the skeletal muscle by damaging the spinal neurons, which leads to muscle wasting. This condition isn’t painful but can cause weakness and difficulty jumping and running.



Due to the size of the Maine Coon cat, they are more susceptible to weight gain than the average feline. Excess weight can lead to diabetes and worsen conditions such as arthritis. Hepatic lipidosis, or fatty liver disease, can develop when an overweight cat stops eating. The body uses fat rapidly to supply energy in the anorexic cat, and this overwhelms the liver and causes liver failure.

As with any cat, Maine Coons should be provided with regular veterinary care, including annual preventive care visits, vaccinations, dental cleanings, bloodwork, and fecal checks. They should have routine flea prevention and deworming to prevent intestinal parasites.


CareA man wearing a red and black plaid shirt holding a big grey, white, and blacked stripped cat with green eyes wearing a green collar.

Maine Coon cats are easy-going and require minimal special care. While they do love human interaction and attention, they don’t tend to be needy or overly obtrusive with their attention-seeking.

These cats were originally intended and bred to be outdoor hunting cats, but most are kept as indoor pets. They don’t require a special environment or conditions to thrive, but, as with any cat, their lifestyle should include enrichment such as hunting, playing, climbing, running, chasing, and access to fresh running water. They are active cats and should be allowed to live an active lifestyle. This will also help to keep them trim and athletic as well as stimulate their minds and body.

Maine Coons should be fed a typical cat food for their life stage and activity level. They don’t require any special nutrients or supplements unless they suffer a specific condition, which should be under your veterinarian’s direct care.

Maine Coons do require a little extra grooming care compared to their short-haired feline friends. They should be brushed daily to weekly and kept free from matted hair.

Every cat should have access to a fresh, clean litter box. Ideally, they should be provided with one additional litterbox in relation to the number of cats in the household. Since Maine Coons are larger cats, they may require a longer, wider, and deeper litterbox. Make sure to clean it daily and use a non-scented litter.


CostA bag of white cat food on the floor with a yellow cat standing over it with one paw on the bag. Someone's hand is holding some food to give the cat.

If you are considering adding a Maine Coon cat to your family, first check the local humane society or shelter to see if any need a good home. There are several Maine Coon specific cat rescues that can help connect you to your new friend. Maine Coon specific associations and organizations can provide you with reliable assistance as well.

If you insist on purchasing a Maine Coon cat from a breeder, it is essential to be diligent and do your research to find a reputable breeder. Ensure that they perform the appropriate health screening tests, provide exceptional veterinary care, have high standards regarding their facilities, and offer the best quality food and resources to their cats. Of course, this will come with a premium price, which on average, is around $1,000.

Avoid purchasing a Maine Coon cat or kitten from a pet store as these typically source their pets from unreliable sources and poor conditions.

If you already have a Maine Coon, you undoubtedly, have come to love these gentle giants, and if you are looking to add one to your family, you will soon find out what all the hype is about!