We have four purrfect cats. Based on our four children, only one has loved getting brushed since he was a kitten. With such odds, we have implemented many tips to encourage our remaining cats to also enjoy getting brushed. Find our advice outlined below, including our experiences with different brushes, self-grooming, overall useful strategies, and all of our cats' reactions to getting brushed.
Does my Brush Even Matter?
To be honest, the brush you choose plays a big role in the grooming process. We know this because we've tried them all.
However, if you have cats who don't want to be brushed, they probably aren't going to enjoy grooming, no matter what you present to them. No worries, we have tips and tricks to offset this!
Our General Approach:
Because we are fortunate enough to have a mix of short, medium, and long-haired cats, we find that using two different brushes works best. We use this combination on all of our cats.
Starting with our long-haired cats, we use a combo brush, specific to the stainless steel pins side, to brush out any tangles, etc.
Then, we use a fine-tooth comb brush such as the FURminator to detangle and remove excess hair. (For our short-haired cats, we just start here as Step 1.)
Finally, we end with a soothing, beautifying process, by using the second side of the combo brush, or the bristles side. All of our cats enjoy this final step!
Sensitive Skin: We do find that some of our cats have sensitive skin. Because of this, they prefer getting brushed with only the bristles side. If you have a fussy short-haired cat, consider doing this. Keep in mind, you'll have to brush for much longer, but you'll have a happier cat. Thus, it's worth it.
Products That Haven't Worked For Us as Well
None of our cats are big fans of:
detangling pet combs with long and short teeth
combs with curved teeth
anything involving massagers, whether it be combs or other items, (can you picture the awkward back arch now?)
or anything new. (Find a routine and stick with it if you can!)
What About Self Groomers?
Sadly, none of our cats have responded to self groomers that hang on the wall, even the ones with catnip involved.
Our Siamese likes her self grooming cat arch (bristles), but it mostly leaves her with loose hair around her beautiful face.
Sebastian has an alternative approach to using the self groomer on himself...
So, What Do I Do Now?
Now that you have the proper brushes in mind, I recommend following these tips for grooming your cats.
Baby Talk - Go heavy on the baby talk! Our one cat who loves getting brushed largely enjoys it, I believe, because meowmy started with him as a kitten, giving him loads of compliments throughout the process. If you are excited and proud of your cats, it will help soothe them. For instance, throughout the entire span of brushing, go heavy on feedback such as, "You are so handsome/beautiful, you are the best baby in the world, look how good you're doing, I am so proud of you, good job, good baby!"
Schedule - Try to brush your cats on a schedule. Even with our long-haired cats, we find that if we brush them twice a week, regularly (Tuesdays/Fridays), they're used to this routine and raise less of a fuss. Also, for us, this is plenty for our longer-haired cats, and we don't face major tangles, mats, etc. You may need to adjust your schedule, but simply try to maintain a routine, the best you can.
Treats - After brushing, reward with treats, if it helps to encourage a better outcome. Our Siamese lives for treats and honestly would not let us brush her if treats were not involved. We only give her treats after getting brushed, to not interfere with her regular, healthy diet and her purrfect weight.
Patience - Patience... I know, I know. Look, changes may not happen overnight. Just keep focusing on loving your cat(s), confirming their safety, and remaining calm, and they should follow your lead.
Cat Meditation Music - If you still struggle, I advise YouTubing Cat Meditation Music, to help create a calmer environment.
Bristles Only - If your cats still don't seem happy, try brushing them with bristles only. (This is mostly a tip for short-haired cats, as longer-haired cats need assistance with removing tangles.)
Felix is our little Prince who has enjoyed getting brushed since he was a baby. He loves being told, "You're so handsome. Wow, look at you. You are the best baby I've ever known. Good job, buddy."
Nina only tolerates getting brushed because she expects treats afterward. It used to be more of a chasing battle, but she's progressed, with our treats routine.
Cooper is okay with it. He doesn't love it; he doesn't purrticularly hate it. Treats help.
This little guy has probably come the furthest. We adopted him in 2019 and at that time, he despised getting brushed. Lots of yelling, running, and overall distress accompanied each grooming session.
Also, at that time, he was covered in mats. They were so bad that we had to work on sections at a time (for a few days) and ultimately, we just slathered him in coconut oil for help. After that, of course, we had to give him a bath, which wasn't the most terrible experience but did include him hopping around.
These days, we've gained Sebastian's trust. Now, as you can see per the below video, he will simply lay belly up to get brushed.
We hope these tips help you as well!
Do you have any questions, other experiences, or additional tips on grooming to share? If so, we'd love to hear about them below! Leave us a comment.
Wishing you all the best and sending good grooming vibes.