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Tips for Brushing Your Cat and Why You Should

Author: Colin Rigley

Published: December 6, 2017

Updated: June 14, 2021

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how to brush your cat

Just because your cat already grooms themselves, it doesn’t mean you can’t help out.

Sure, you probably don’t absolutely need to brush your cat all the time, but doing so comes with a ton of benefits — for both of you.

Here are just a few of the reasons why you should brush your cat regularly.

  • Fewer Hairballs: Hairballs can be a normal part of being a cat (although, even just a few hairballs a month can mean there’s a problem). However, they can be gross to clean up and step in! But the more you brush your cat and help them remove excess fur, the less likely you may be to find an unpleasant, gooey surprise underfoot.

  • Less Shedding: Brushing your cat regularly — say about once per day or once every other day — will reduce the amount of excess hair they carry. And that means less hair falling from your cat onto your floor, rubbing off on your furniture, clogging up your vacuum and furnace, and turning your clothes into fur coats.

  • Flea Spotting: Regular brushings can be a great way to spot fleas or “flea dirt” (the nicer name for flea poop) in your cat’s fur, so you can know if the little buggers are trying to set up camp. Of course, you should always keep your cat on a good, vet-recommended flea and parasite preventative to keep fleas at bay and stave off health problems like flea allergy dermatitis, anemia, or even heartworms.

  • Pain-Free Grooming: If you have an older cat, or a cat with arthritis or other mobility issue that makes it difficult to groom, they will be immensely grateful when you lend a hand in the grooming/brushing department.

  • Better Bonding: If you have more than one cat, you will often notice them grooming each other. Cats do this as a way to build mutual trust and show affection. By brushing/grooming your cat, you can help build that same trust in you and show even more affection than you already do.

Find the Best Brush for Your Cat

Brushes for Most Cats

It’s fine to groom most cats with a dual-sided brush that has a softer “bristle” side, and a finer “pin brush” side for tangles and mats (don’t worry, they’re not actual pins).

dog and cat brush double-sided long or short coat at easeAtEase Double Sided Pet Grooming Brush

If you have a particularly fluffy cat, first use the pin brush side of the comb to untangle any large clumps. Next, give your cat a thorough brushing with the bristle side to remove excess hair and get their coat looking shiny and healthy.

Brushes for Long-Hairs

If you have a long-haired cat who doesn’t do well with a dual-sided brush, try a moulting or flea comb to tackle those long locks.

cat shedding comb
Pixikko Cat Comb

Brushes for Sensitive Cats

Or, if your cat is somewhat sensitive and doesn’t like the feel of most brushes, try a softer rubber brush or even a grooming mitt.

Pat Your Pet 2-in-1 Pet Glove
Pat Your Pet 2-in-1 Pet Glove

Vetnique FurBliss Brush
furbliss dog brush

How to Brush Your Cat

The good news is that most cats like being brushed and groomed. Even so, here’s how to acclimate them to the brushing routine:

  • Get comfy: To start, make sure your cat is comfortable and receptive to being touched. Stroke their fur for a bit to make sure they’re not “in a mood.”

  • Move slowly: Begin with gentle strokes of the brush. Start brushing the areas where your cat likes to be petted, which is most likely on the back, between their ears, or under the chin.

  • Venture farther: As your cat becomes more receptive to the feel of being brushed, you can slowly make your way toward the more sensitive areas like the belly. If they try to bite or scratch you while grooming their belly, etc., don’t force the issue and go back to brushing where they’re most comfortable. Over time, and as you build trust, they will allow you to brush those areas that are typically a “no fly zone.”

  • Reward: Finish each brushing session with a bit of play or a special treat so they start to associate being brushed with fun and food.
tips for brushing your cat

Since each cat is different, talk to your veterinarian or groomer if you’re having problems finding the right brush, or if your cat is not letting you groom them without a fight.

Electric Trimmer

You might run into hair mats while brushing and grooming your cat. Rather than using scissors, which can be cumbersome and dangerous with a squirming cat, try grooming clippers to slowly and gently remove the mats that can't be easily brushed out. This battery-powered Whal trimmer we recommend is perfect for pets. It trims even dense fur, and is made by a reputable company with experience making professional trimmers for groomers and veterinary practices.

Wahl Bravura Cordless Grooming Clippers
wahl bravura cordless grooming trimmers


About the author

Profile picture for Colin Rigley

Colin Rigley

Colin Rigley has more than a decade of experience in journalism, content production, and sleeping on a tiny sliver of the bed because the animals are sprawled across the rest of it. He’s an avid writer, photographer, and traveler. He lives in Seattle with his wonderful girlfriend; two cats who graciously let him wait on their every need; and three-legged, coated Mexican hairless street dog, which is a really complicated answer when people ask “What kind of dog is that?”

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