How to Brush a Cat

Table of Contents

Brushing your cat not only helps to reduce shedding and hairballs, but it also promotes healthy skin and coat, and provides bonding time between you and your furry companion.

This step-by-step guide will help you keep your cat well-groomed and looking fabulous! Without further ado, let’s start!

Step 1: Tools Needed

cat grooming tools

To brush your cat, you will need a few basic pieces of equipment. Here are some items you should consider having on hand:

  1. A brush and/or a comb – There are a variety of brushes and combs available, and the type you choose will depend on your cat’s coat type. A slicker brush is great for long-haired cats, while a rubber brush is ideal for short-haired cats. A comb can also be helpful for detangling mats and knots.
  2. Treats – You may want to have some treats on hand to reward your cat for good behavior during the grooming session.
  3. Cotton Towels – It’s a good idea to have a few towels on hand to help clean up any loose fur or to use as a non-slip surface for your cat to stand on.
  4. Clippers (optional) – If your cat has particularly long hair or is prone to matting, you may want to consider using clippers to trim their fur in some areas. Check out this guide for more information: How to groom a cat with matted hair.
  5. Grooming gloves (optional) – Grooming gloves, also known as deshedding gloves, can be an effective way to remove loose hair and dirt from your cat’s coat while also providing a soothing massage.

Types of Brushes for Cats

cat brush types

There are a few different types of brushes available for cats, so it’s important to choose the right one for your pet. The most common types of brushes are:

Slicker brush

This type of brush has a flat head with short, metal bristles. It’s great for removing tangles and mats from long-haired cats.

Pin brush

This type of brush has a flat head with long, metal bristles. It’s great for removing dirt and debris from short-haired cats.

Bristle brush

This type of brush has a flat head with soft, plastic bristles. It’s great for removing dirt and debris from both long- and short-haired cats.

Rubber brush

This type of brush has a flat head with rubber bristles. It’s great for removing dirt and debris from both long- and short-haired cats.

Step 2: Brushing the Coat

Brushing a cat's hair

You want to start with the head!

  1. Start from the head and move towards the tail – Begin by brushing your cat’s head and neck, then move towards the tail. This can help to prevent your cat from becoming overstimulated or anxious.
  2. Brush in the direction of the hair growth – Always brush in the direction of your cat’s hair growth, as this can help to prevent discomfort and pain. Be sure to use gentle, smooth strokes to avoid pulling on your cat’s skin.
  3. Use a variety of brushes and combs to suit your cat’s coat – There are many different types of brushes and combs available, so it’s important to choose the right one for your cat’s coat. For example, a slicker brush can be great for long-haired cats, while a rubber brush may be better for short-haired cats.

A wide-toothed comb can also be useful for detangling mats and knots.

Step 3: Brushing the Tail and Belly

Brushing a cat's tail
Credit: cottonbro studio

Don’t forget to brush your cat’s ears, tail, belly, legs, and paws. Those are more sensitive areas for almost all cats. Therefore, you want to be extra gentle so that you don’t cause your cat any discomfort.

  1. Brush the ears and tail – The ears and tail are areas where cats can easily develop mats or tangles. To prevent this, use a comb or slicker brush to gently remove any knots or tangles. Be sure to use caution and avoid pulling on your cat’s skin.
  2. Pay attention to the belly, legs, and paws – These areas can be especially sensitive for some cats, so it’s important to be gentle when brushing them. Use a soft-bristled brush or your fingers to gently remove any loose fur or dirt.
  3. Use caution when brushing sensitive areas like the face – Cats can be very sensitive around their face, so it’s important to use caution when brushing this area. Use a soft-bristled brush or a damp cloth to gently remove any debris or dirt.

Step 4: Cleaning Up

  1. Check for missed spots – Take a moment to inspect your cat’s coat and make sure you haven’t missed any tangles or mats. If you do find any, use your brush or comb to gently remove them.
  2. Give your cat treats – Grooming can be stressful for some cats, so it’s important to reward good behavior. Give your cat a treat or some praise for staying calm and patient during the brushing session.
  3. Cleaning up your Tools – Once you have finished brushing your cat, be sure to clean up any loose fur or debris that may have accumulated during the session. Store your brushes and combs in a safe place where your cat can’t get to them.

Tips and Tricks for Brushing a Cat

  • Introduce your cat to brushing gradually to avoid overwhelming them. Start with short sessions and build up to longer ones as your cat becomes more comfortable. The younger you get your cat used to brushing, the better.
  • Use treats and positive reinforcement to encourage good behavior during grooming sessions.
  • Choose the right type of brush or comb for your cat’s coat. For example, a slicker brush is great for long-haired cats while a rubber brush is ideal for short-haired cats.
  • Take breaks as needed and stop if your cat becomes agitated or uncomfortable.
  • If you are having difficulty grooming your cat, consider seeking professional help from a groomer or veterinarian.

Benefits of Brushing your Cat

Sleepy Kitty lying on his back enjoys belly rubs with a tooth brush

  1. Shedding Reduction: Brushing your cat can help to remove loose hair from their coat, which can reduce the amount of shedding around your home. This can be especially important if you or someone in your household suffers from allergies.
  2. Hairballs Prevention: When cats groom themselves, they ingest a lot of hair. This can sometimes lead to the formation of hairballs in their stomach, which can be uncomfortable and potentially harmful. Regular brushing can help to remove loose hair from your cat’s coat before they ingest it.
  3. Promotes healthy skin and coat: Brushing your cat can help to distribute natural oils throughout their coat, which can help to keep their skin and fur healthy. It can also help to remove dirt, debris, and dead skin cells, which can lead to a healthier coat overall.
  4. Strengthens your Bond: Grooming your cat can be a great way to bond with them and strengthen your relationship. It can provide a sense of comfort and security for your cat, and it can also help to calm them down if they are feeling anxious or stressed.
  5. Prevent Matting: Regular brushing helps prevent fur matting. This is especially true for long-haired cats.

How to Clean a Cat Brush

This will vary from brush to another but to clean your cat brush, follow these steps:

  1. Removing any excess hair or debris from the bristles using a comb or your fingers.
  2. Fill a bowl with warm water and a small amount of mild soap or pet shampoo. Swirl the brush around in the soapy water, making sure to get in between the bristles.
  3. Once the brush is clean, rinse it thoroughly with warm water and use a clean towel or cloth to dry it off.
  4. Avoid using a hair dryer or leaving the brush in direct sunlight to dry, as this can damage the bristles. Once the brush is completely dry, it’s ready for future use.

How Often Should You Brush Your Cat?

The frequency of brushing your cat depends on your cat breed and its activity level.

Long-haired cats should be brushed at least once a week, while short-haired cats can usually get away with being brushed every two weeks.

We recommend brushing your cat more often during shedding season, as this will help reduce the amount of fur around your home.

How to Get Your Cat Used to Brushing

Brushing your cat can be a daunting task, especially if they’re not used to it. The best way to get your cat used to the process is to start slowly and gradually increase the amount of time you spend brushing them. Start by simply petting your cat with the brush and gradually move to longer strokes. It’s also important to reward your cat with treats and praise during the process to help them associate brushing with positive experiences.