Do Cats Like to Be Brushed? What You Need to Know!
By Luxifa Le
Cats groom themselves with their tongues, leaving many people slightly misinformed about their grooming needs. Many people assume that cats do not need to be groomed because they take care of it themselves, but regularly brushing your cat’s fur can improve their overall health!
However, cats who are introduced to the process of being brushed later in life tend to resist being groomed. So, do they like it or hate it? The answer is “it depends!” Cats who are introduced to grooming young tend to enjoy being groomed. So, it shouldn’t be hard to get your cat used to being groomed if you start young!
How Effective Is a Cat’s Natural Grooming Ability?
We’d hope cats are reasonably adept at grooming themselves; studies show that they spend an average of 4% of their day grooming themselves! With so much time spent grooming, you’d hope your cat had gotten pretty good at cleaning their fur. However, not all cats can groom themselves effectively. Here are some factors that influence how effective your cat may be at grooming their fur.
One of the most potent factors in your cat’s natural grooming efficacy is their coat length. Long-haired cats tend to have more difficulty keeping up with their necessary grooming because there’s just too much for them to groom.
While it may seem silly for a creature to grow hair that it has no way to care for adequately, it’s important to remember that long hair is a recessive gene in cats. As a result, most wild cats do not have the same full-bodied long coats that domestic cats do.
Grooming your pet is a process that they either love or hate.
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Age also influences whether a cat will be able to keep up with their necessary grooming. As cats get older, they tend to lose mobility just like humans do, and it may be harder for them to reach some of the crevices of their bodies that they were once able to get.
Additionally, very young cats may not be as diligent about grooming as they’re too busy exploring and having big adventures. Unfortunately, these adventures can get them quite grimy, especially if they have access to the outdoors.
Cats have distinct personalities just as humans do, and some cats are a bit lazy. Of course, housecats tend to be lazy anyway, but some take it to new and extreme levels! For example, some cats may neglect their personal grooming because they cannot be asked to do it.
Do I Really Need to Brush My Cat?
You probably don’t need to brush your cat’s fur if you have a short-haired cat. This is because short-haired cats generally do a pretty good job staying clean. However, cats experience clear health benefits when their fur is regularly groomed. It’s like how you could go without brushing your hair, but your hair will look, feel, and grow better if you do.
This is more of a problem for long-haired cats than short-haired ones, but even short-haired cats’ fur can become matted in the right situation. Matting in short-haired cats results from an excessive build-up of dust and dander in the coat.
While dust and dander do build up in long-haired cats’ coats, the more notable matting is the build-up of tangled fur. Matted fur is uncomfortable for your cat and leaves them prone to infestation and infection.
Cats do not have “hair”; they have “fur.” What makes the two fibers distinct is that hair grows indefinitely until cut. Fur grows to a certain length, then the fiber falls out, and a new one grows in its place.
The fur fiber falling out and growing back in is called “shedding.” Cats shed year-round. However, twice a year, their hair sheds more aggressively to prepare them to succeed in a whole new coat as the seasons change.
When a fur filament first falls out, it generally gets trapped in the undercoat. The undercoat, or down, is a layer of short, soft fur that grows close to your cat’s skin. The undercoat provides insulation that keeps your cat warm. It also catches the fur they shed and prevents it from falling all over the floor.
By brushing your cat, you can remove the trapped fur from their undercoat and keep the fur from falling out all over the floor in clumps.
You can also help your cat spread less dander around your house. This can be especially important if you have friends or family with allergies. Cat dander is a mix of proteins found in their skin and saliva. The proteins get spread all over their fur while they groom themselves and then all over your house when their coat sheds onto your floor.
Regularly brushing your cat can reduce their dander shed by reducing their fur shed. In addition, it reduces one of the primary vectors for spreading the dander allergen.
How to Get Your Cat Used to Being Brushed
With all this in mind, it makes sense to get your cat used to being brushed young so they can enjoy the process instead of fighting you every step of the way. So here are some techniques to help your cat get accustomed to being brushed.
1. Check Your Cat’s Mood
Cats have moods just like people. So, make sure your cat isn’t unhappy or feeling like a nap and uninteresting in being touched by stroking them for a little while. Once you’ve ascertained that your cat is open to being touched, you can start getting them brushed.
2. Move Slowly and Talk Quietly
When you first start grooming your cat, make sure you move slowly and speak in a quiet and comforting voice. Your cat will be in a new situation and might be nervous about the prospect of being rubbed with an object with metal teeth.
3. Brush Good Spots
Start by brushing places where your cat likes to be pet. This will get them accustomed to the feeling of the brush in their fur without spooking them and help them build positive associations with the brush.
4. Slowly Move Further
Once your cat is calm and used to being brushed in their favorite spots, move away from those spots to more sensitive areas that your cat might be nervous about, like the belly. It’s essential to keep moving slowly and talking quietly until your cat is used to being brushed all over their body.
Brushing your cat has markedly positive effects on your cat’s overall health. So, getting them used to brushing early will give them more time to get used to the feeling without being scared. Some cats might even enjoy the grooming session you give them!
Featured Image Credit: ANURAK PONGPATIMET, Shutterstock