How to Brush a Cat

Even though cats do a great job self-grooming, you still should brush your cat on a regular basis. There are some benefits a cat brushing session offers that your cat won’t get from grooming themselves.

How Often Should You Brush Your Cat

You should brush your cat at least once a week, possibly more, depending on your cat and its shedding cycle. Longer-haired cats need to be brushed more often because they are more prone to having matted fur.

Benefits of Brushing Your Cat

  1. Stimulates blood circulation, which promotes healthy skin
  2. Helps decrease hairballs by removing dead hair
  3. Removes dirt & debris
  4. Removes dander & dead skin which resembles dandruff in your cat’s fur
  5. Keeps your cat’s coat shiny
  6. Decreases tangles and matted fur
  7. Allow you to regularly check your cat’s body for any signs of injury or health problems early on

What Kind of Brush To Use

The brush you choose will primarily be determined by your cat’s fur. There are different types of brushes for cats based on fur length, how big your cat is, and the thickness of your cat’s fur. Choosing your cat brush should be decided based on those factors and some degree of what your cat likes. Long or medium hair cats and cats with dense fur will need a tool that can remove the loose hair from their undercoat.

cat being brushed at pet parlor

What You Need to Brush Your Cat

The only thing you need to brush your cat is a cat brush. There are many types of cat brushes. Choose the one that is best suited for your cat.

  • Cat Brush
  • Cat Deshedding tool (optional)
  • Cat Dematter tool (optional and as needed)
  • Small trash can (optional but helpful to deposit brushed fur)
  • Treats

How to Brush Your Cat

Some cats love to be brushed, while others are not as willing participants. With that in mind, know that brushing your cat may take more than one session. If your cat gets annoyed by being brushed, you may want to do shorter sessions and try to work up to being able to do a complete body brushing.

Steps to Brush Your Cat

  1. Hold your cat comfortably in your lap or allow your cat to sit or walk on a firm surface
    • During the brushing session, take the opportunity to pet your cat and check for any changes to their body (cuts, lumps, sensitivity to touch) and follow up with your vet if you notice any possible health issues
  2. Start brushing your cat, following the grain of the fur
    • Having small trash can nearby be helpful to get rid of the brushed fur so your cat doesn’t try to eat it
  3. Focus on one section at a time and use your hand to remove any loose fur by pet along the area
  4. Once you are done, run your hand over your cat’s body to gather any visibly loose hairs
  5. Reward with treat either during (for not so happy cats) and or after the brushing session
Brushing Your Cat

Helpful Tips When Brushing or Dematting Your Cat

  • Choose the right brush for your cat’s fur length
  • Experiment with different brushes if your cat seems to dislike being brushed (it could be the feel of the bristles against their skin that is offsetting)
  • Brush your cat when they are calm and receptive
  • Let your cat walk around while you are brushing, so they don’t feel trapped or forced
  • Give your cats treats during and after a brushing session to make it a pleasant experience for them
  • Rub your hands down the back of your cat and up its tail when you are done to remove any loose fur

Do’s & Don’t’s When Brushing Cat

Review this list of things that may be helpful, especially if your cat doesn’t like to be brushed. You can also read these FAQs on brushing your cat for more info.

  • Brush in the direction the fur grows
  • Be careful brushing around more sensitive areas such as their ears and anywhere near their face
  • Choose a brush your cat likes (when possible)
  • Brush your cat when they are in a calm mood
  • Focus on one area at a time
  • Let your cat roam around during the brushing if they don’t sit still
  • Have a small trash can nearby to get rid of fur as you brush opposed to making a pile because your cat will want to smell and or eat it
  • Don’t continue brushing if your cat is getting agitated
  • Stop brushing a cat that is hissing, swatting. or flicking its tail
  • Don’t brush against the grain of the fur
  • Don’t force your cat to be brushed
  • Don’t hold your cat down
  • Don’t try to brush their entire body if your cat is being uncooperative

Frequently Asked Questions

Should I brush my cat every day?

You should try to brush your cat daily, especially if you aren’t able to do an entire body brushing at one time. Long-haired cats need more brushing to avoid developing matted fur, which must be removed.

How do you brush an unwilling cat?

Don’t hold down or force an unwilling cat to be brushed. You can try brushing a little at a time while letting your cat walk around, then rewarding with treats throughout the brushing. You can also try a grooming glove for some of their grooming, but mitts tend only to remove loose surface fur and dirt, so they are not as effective as a cat brush.

Does brushing a cat help with shedding?

Yes, brushing does help with shedding. By removing shedding fur, you reduce the risk of hairballs and matted hair. It is essential to brush your cat when they are in a shedding cycle.

What kind of brush is best for cats?

No one brush is best for all cats. Choosing the best brush for your cat should be determined by their coat (long/medium/short & thickness) and how big your cat is.

Do cats like it when you brush them?

It really depends on the cat. Some cats love being brushed, others tolerate it, and some hate being brushed.

Do you need to brush a cat’s fur?

Yes, brushing is a required pet parent responsibility. Even though cats do many grooming on their own, brushing will remove the undercoat and loose fur. Brushing will help prevent matted hair and hairball frequency. Brushing has many other health benefits for your cat also.

Can I vacuum my cat?

Most cats are afraid of the sound of a vacuum and won’t tolerate being vacuumed. Don’t force a scared cat to be vacuumed. However, if you have a cat that doesn’t mind, you can try vacuuming your cat with the brush attachment (I’ve had one cat over the years that let me do this). Be aware that vacuuming does not replace brushing, though.

Can I use human brush on cat?

It is best to get a cat brush based on your cat’s fur to be most effective. Although a human hairbrush likely won’t hurt your cat as long as it doesn’t have sharp tines, it also won’t be a good use of your brushing session time because it is not designed to remove loose cat fur or the undercoat.