I should point out first, that I adore my cat, but refuse to spend loads of money unless absolutely warranted, and that I am highly aware of how fickle she can be.
The five products I recommend for looking after your cat with are:
- FURminator deShedding Tool for Cats
- Advantage Flea Treatment
- Bergan Turbo Scratcher Cat Toy
- A heating pad for cats
- A claw clipper
There's not a lot of point buying toys for my cat. Her favourite toy in the whole world is toilet paper - she goes mad for it! Shop-bought mice are occasionally played with, especially if they are catnip-y, but not really better or worse than anything else.
|Bergan Turbo Scratcher Cat Toy|
She also will chase the ball, and has great fun fishing out treats dropped in the ball run, and enjoys sitting on it. But its main function is to preserve the couches!
A heating pad is ideal for cats - and on the right, you can see she agrees with me!
The one in the photo is a pet shop cast-off, so it's old, has no on-off button and I have no idea what the wattage or brand is. But it works fine and gets hot, but not too hot to touch. I gave it to her a few hours ago... she hasn't moved since!
My cat has arthritis, and has had it for years - she can't jump in winter, and is in a lot of pain. She's also thirteen and starting to show her age a little, so I'm getting extra-protective. Cats love warm spots anyway!
Encouraging a cat to stay on one spot is also very useful, as it stops them a) ignoring the expensive cat bed you may have bought them, that is taking up space somewhere and b) spreading fur all over everything, then moving on to fur up another spot!
There are a lot of different heating pads on Amazon, almost all highly rated. Basically, they're low power heaters, similar to an electric blanket, that is usually covered in some kind of fleece covering to protect the cat and provide comfort. Most of the choices are highly rated, so it usually comes down to size, price and appearance. Some of them are designed for outdoors, and some have some kind of heat-level control.
The FURminator Cat Brush is my absolute, all-time favourite pick. I recommend it unreservedly for any kind of overly-furry cat.
My cat sheds a lot and I've been through a variety of brushes, steadily moving upwards in price, from old hairbrushes, basic brushes with hard spikes, soft brushes of different kinds, and lastly a handheld rubber comb (that last one worked best). But I still had to brush her every day for them to be much good, and they didn't get the underfur.
I finally found some reviews about the FURminator, and bought it, and after an initial 'I hate new brushes' period (in which the only real way forward is to brush the head and neck until they decide this is an awesome toy of awesomeness... or just too blissed out to resist), the cat now tolerates it. Actually, she's now at the point of running over to say hi, headbutting it, and then flopping over for half an hour to be de-furred!
And golly, gosh, blimey, does it ever work. I never knew my cat could pack so much fur onto her back (well, I did know, because she kept sharing it - but it was hard to conceptualise!). And better, it pulls out all the loose fur, but not the rest of her fur, doesn't hurt her, and gets all the under-fur (the under-fur normally goes untouched, only to continue working its way out the next day).
I actually wrote an entire page praising the FURminator! And you can see how much fur it removed last spring, when it suddenly turned warm and the cat decided it was time to shed.
Apart from the scratchpad mentioned above, I also clip my cat's claws. She's getting old, so her claws get too long - apart from her accidentally gouging me, she also gets tangled up in cloth and needs me to separate her. When a cat can no longer retract its claws all the way, they're too long.
A basic claw clipper, like this one, is cheap and versatile. You can use it for any small dog or cat - or bird! I actually borrow the one my flatmate uses for their parrot.
If you hold the paw and push gently on the back, the toes will spread slightly and the claws come out. As long as you stay away from the quick - the dark centre which holds the blood and nerves, and is easily visible against the white, somewhat translucent, 'dead' part of the nail - the cat will be fine.
The cat won't approve, of course, and you might need two people to hold the cat and clip the claws, but it is fairly straight forward, and doesn't have to be done all in one go.
Sadly, fleas are an unfortunate reality of pets. The best flea stuff I've found is the Advantage brand - both Moss and my parents' cat have shown allergic reactions to fleas, and my parents' cat reacted very badly to the cheap Spotton brand that is the only option in NZ supermarkets (we have to get the Advantage stuff from the vet or pet store).
It costs more, unfortunately, but each little dose lasts a month, and it tends not to have nasty side effects (like a skin rash and fur loss!)
I also recommend growing some catnip... in a cage, of course! Water it regularly and it's pretty easy .