A how-to on EFFECTIVELY and CORRECTLY brush your cat
Updated: Apr 6
"I am as vigilant as a cat to steal cream."
First of all, YES, cats DO groom themselves.
So...WHY do you have to brush their hair???
Because regular brushing actually helps your kitty be healthy. Brushing promotes good blood circulation, it prevents tangles (no matter how small) and mats, you can check if they have dry skin (which you will see if there's white dry-skin-like residue on your brush/comb), and it gives you the perfect opportunity to make sure your kitty doesn't have any fleas.
If you notice when you brush that your kitty has dry skin, it could mean something is wrong with their diet. It might mean that their body is rejecting the food you're giving them or they're not getting enough water. Brushing helps with keeping their skin healthy as well.
So...HOW do I brush my cat?
Well, first of all, let's discuss WHAT to brush your cat with.
Many cat parents often make the mistake of buying any "pet grooming" brush they see on Amazon or the pet store. If you're looking to do a specific type of brushing, you're going to need the proper tools. You can find most of these grooming tools in a pet store or online at Chewy's or Amazon.
ONE VERY IMPORTANT THING TO KNOW:
IF YOUR CAT HAS ANY TANGLES OR MATS, PLEASE DO NOT BATHE THEM BECAUSE IT WILL GET WORSE!!! I don't know how many times people have come into Catnip Inn for a groom and their cat's situation was made worse by people trying to bathe their cats while they had mats and tangles.
If you're going to bathe your kitties (who have zero tangles/mats), no matter if they're long or short haired, PLEASE BRUSH OUT THEIR FUR FIRST! Not doing so will cause tangles that you do not want.
With light tangles, I highly recommend a rounded edge metal comb.
Just like how you'd brush long hair, you don't want to just YANK on it with the comb...your cat will not like you for that and might throw them off of a good brush out. You want to do it lightly, but enough to where you can get the tangle out. Start off near their head or the side of their face if they allow you to. Get them used to the comb, then move onto the body. After they're comfortable enough, start on their tangles. There's another comb that you can get called a "detangling comb":
You can also use what's called a "slicker brush" afterwards to smooth out your kitty's fur and make them feel great:
Mind you, the comb and brush will work on light to slightly moderate tangles. For really difficult ones, you'd need a different tool.
DIFFICULT TANGLES or SMALL MATS
Sometimes, the tangles in your kitty can be a little bit harder to comb or brush out.
You'll see some clumps of fur sticking together around your cats body, and this is when you know that you've waited too long to brush them out.
Like I said earlier, DO NOT WASH/BATHE your cats if they have these mats or tangles! It will definitely make it worse!!
For these types of mats, you're going to need this type of tool:
You have to be careful with these tools, though you think you can do it at home, I highly recommend that you bring your cat into the groomers for a demat first. You can have the groomer show you how to effectively brush out your cat with the tools needed.
If you let your kitty end up like this, I must say that you're not doing a very good job with keeping them healthy. Though sometimes, cats may run away and you'd find them like this, etc. etc. But if you're home and they're home with you and you let it get to this, you're not a very good kitty parent! So, please, take care of your cats!
Having mats like this is so harsh on your kitty's skin and overall health. For severe mats like this, PLEASE BRING YOUR KITTY INTO A PROFESSIONAL GROOMER! Also, NEVER, EVER use SCISSORS to "cut off" the mats! You risk cutting their skin, and there's no way that you would be able to salvage any of that hair unless you want them shaved off.
To maintain your kitty's hair also requires special tools. There are TWO seasons where you'll notice that your cat will shed the most: SUMMER and WINTER.
Undercoats need special tools to effectively remove them.
No, those "gloves with bristles" will not work to properly remove undercoat. Those are only good for daily brushings, they act more of like a "bonding" instrument than an actual tool that is efficient.
Ever notice that even when you brush your kitty's hair with one of those slicker brushes, even if you do it daily, that you still see a lot of shedding?? That's the undercoat. The slicker brushes will not get them out. What you'll need are these types of tools:
THIS is what's called an UNDERCOAT RAKE. If your kitty just needs a bit of brushing out to remove a small amount of undercoat, this is the tool to use.
However, if your cat sheds A LOT, you might want to use this instead:
This is the DOUBLE ROW undercoat rake. This will effectively remove your kitty's undercoat. Though it won't work if you only spend a minute brushing them. No, you have to really take time to brush them out thoroughly! Especially if they have really long hair. Don't forget under their legs and belly area, it's a common spot for tangles and mats.
How should you brush them to effectively remove most of the undercoat?? Well, not a lot of cats like it when you go "against the grain". In fact, most will probably swipe at you or give you a small love bite. Brush in the direction of their fur, but if you can and if they'll allow it, try going against the grain for maximum effectiveness. I mean, my cats let me do it because I've done it most of their life, so they know I'm not going to hurt them. If you get them used to it, they definitely won't mind it.
SO...WHEN SHOULD I BRUSH MY CATS?
I'm very attentive to my cats. They all get special times of different days where I brush them out, and they all love it because it makes them feel good. Recommended times to brush your kitties:
Short-haired kitties: I'd say about twice a week. They're not likely to get tangles, but it's a health benefit to brush them out regularly.
Long-haired kitties: At least once ever other day. This will prevent tangles, promote good health, and they'll cough out less hairballs.
I often brush my kitties out with a flea comb as well. Because if you're a multi-cat household, you're going to want to make sure that NONE of your kitties have any fleas! Once one of them have it, it will take a bit to get rid of it because they might spread it around your house.
HAPPY BRUSHING! Remember, brush often! Your cat will love you for it!
Well, folks, I hope you learned something today!
As always, be kind to each other, be kind to animals, love your pets.