Cats are usually great at grooming themselves, but you can help them remove loose hair by brushing them (less hairballs that way). Most cats enjoy some type of brushing, but how much and where varies greatly. Some enjoy an all over groom while others may only enjoy a head and back brushing.
If your pet loves being brushed, that's great! A regular brushing will help prevent mats and relax your cat.
(Too late? Already have mats? No problem - we have tips for that too!)
If your cat is hesitant about cat grooming, don't try too hard at first. Start with a little at a time - small areas like the top of their head - and only for as long as they are comfortable. For example, if you notice that your cat starts to become agitated after one minute, only brush them for 30-45 seconds. This may sound like a small amount of time, but what your cat will remember is the nice brushing sensation, instead of an uncomfortable exit.
You can also sit next to your cat for the mini brushing session when they are already relaxed in their favourite napping spot. Soon, your cat will begin to associate brushing with pleasant memories and will begin to enjoy brushing more.
Ensure that the grooming tools you have are right for your cat's hair length and temperament. Some cats enjoy a deeper scratch, while some have very sensitive skin and only can tolerate soft bristles.
You will probably need to try different cat brushes to find one
that is the best for your pet. There are a wide variety of brush styles
out there – they all are designed for different sensitivity levels and
Click here for an overview of cat grooming tool choices.
If your cat really does not like brushing at all, there are some things out there to help in grooming your cat without seeming like a brush:
Corner mounted brushes stick to walls at the cat’s height to encourage them to rub up against them. Try to mount these at the cat’s cheek height on corners that they currently rub up against or pass frequently.
Cat Grooming mitts are gloves that have a rough surface on the palm so that your cat will feel that they are being petted instead of groomed.
There is also self grooming “furniture” for cats – one
type is an arch of bendable bristles mounted to a carpeted platform so
they can walk under it or rub their side up against it. I tried this
for Gus, who was very against being brushed when we got him. He loved it - he could control where he was being brushed and how much, he could use it whenever he wanted and walk away if he had enough. It helped him adjust and learn to love the sensation of a brush with no pressure. He is now one of the first in line if I bring out their brushes!
If your cat does not take to either the corner rubs or the arch groomer, try sprinkling catnip in the bristles or on the carpeted platform to let them know that this new thing is theirs and it’s fun!
One thing to remember to make your cat grooming time easier: It's never a good idea to use a hand-held brush as a toy. Allowing your cat to play with or bite the brush or any grooming tool may mean they will not learn the difference between playtime and a nice, relaxing grooming session.