Cats are some of the laziest, sassiest, and funniest animals that I have ever come across, especially when it comes to brushing their fur. Taking care of your cat’s coat often goes one of two ways, either your cat loves being brushed, and it all goes smoothly, or your cat hates being brushed, and you end up covered in fur and scratches. Regardless of how your cat feels about being brushed, it is something that should be done fairly regularly to prevent a mass amount of shedding and painful mats. Here are a few tips to help you brush your cat’s fur, so his or her coat stays healthy and smooth!
A common misconception amongst cat owners is that cats groom themselves, so we don’t have to, which is incorrect. So, a good place to start is to understand why brushing your cat is so important. Cats do “bathe” themselves regularly, and this bathing process can remove some of the excess furs from your cat’s coat, but it is nowhere near effective enough to replace brushing altogether.
The primary goal of regular brushing is to prevent and remove mats from your cat’s fur. Mats are the animal version of human hair tangles or knots. They are often the result of shed fur tangling with new fur, which is why it is important to brush your cat’s coat, remove all that excess shed fur from layers down.
Just as humans needs to brush their hair to distribute its natural oils, the same method is ideal for cats. To keep the fur healthy, oils should be brushed through regularly, and excess oil will be taken out with the shed fur that you’re removing. Brushing your cat also helps the two of you bond, so that’s a bonus! Keep in mind that depending on the length of your cat’s fur, you may need a specific type of brush or brushing method.
Short haired cats are categorized as cats whose fur is roughly no longer than 1 inch, making them easier to brush and less likely to have mats. Your best bet for optimal grooming is to use a metal comb to loosen the fur and follow that up with a large rubber brush, which will grab all of that loose fur from your cat’s coat and bring it to the surface for removal. Short haired cats do not need to be brushed more than once per week, primarily during the changing of seasons when their coat is getting thicker or thinner.
You should always start at the top of the head and work your way down the back, going slowly to avoid pulling your cat’s fur, which will ultimately result in your cat being scared of the brush. You should try for long even strokes, if you hit a mat, do NOT try and brush it out as this will hurt the cat. Instead, work around it and purchase a brush that is made for detangling mats in cat fur and goes from there.
You should clean off the comb and brush after every couple of strokes to make sure you are not just picking up all of the shed furs and dispersing it to other parts of your cat’s coat. Once you have made your way down the back and sides of your cat, don’t forget to gently brush the legs and belly (if your cat will let you!)
Make sure the comb or brush you are using has a soft tip, so you don’t damage your cat’s skin if you accidentally brush too deep or too hard. This should be enjoyable for your little friend, not painful.
Long-haired cats require a fairly different type of care when it comes to brushing their coat. Since their coat is much longer and fuller than a short haired cat’s, you need a different type of brush, and you will also need to groom more regularly, often 2-3 times/week. To properly manage your long haired companion’s fur, you will need a comb and a slicker brush which has longer bristles to reach down into their coat and remove the shed or shedding fur.
When brushing a long haired cat, remember that you are much more likely to come across tangles and mats simply because their coat is more prone to them than a short haired cat. You should start at the top of the head and make your way down the back of the cat, going slowly just like you would have a short haired cat. The difference here will be that since your cat’s hair is long, you will need to work in shorter lengths, often “brushing” the hair with your hand flat again the fur first then following that up with a comb or brush to prevent unnecessary tangling. Make sure you are going deep enough to get all of the shed furs that is trapped below the surface, just don’t press too hard! Again, your cat should enjoy this experience, not want to run from it.
With long haired cats, it is also important to brush the belly, but that is a very sensitive area for most animals so you may have to build up some trust first. Once your cat lets you, though, make sure you are getting that underbelly because that is the part of the body that is most often rejected by the cat, so it’s more likely to end up knotted than other areas.
No matter what type of cat you own, long haired or short haired, you are going to want to keep your cat’s fur mat free and healthy. As long as you use the right comb or brush (which you can easily find online or at your local pet store), and the right brushing technique, you should have a wonderful bonding experience that both you and your cat will enjoy!