How To Brush A Cat That Hates Being Brushed

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As any cat owner knows, more often than not, your cat hates being brushed.

So it can be tempting to let your cat simply bend themselves out of shape as they go to extreme efforts to keep up their grooming routine.

However, you shouldn’t do this, it’s actually very important that you pull your weight in the upkeep of your cat’s coat.

Brushing your cat has all sorts of benefits, it can create a better bond between you and your furbaby, reduce the number of hairballs that your cat hacks up, and also reduces the amount of fur that your cat sheds.

But brushing your cat is definitely easier said than done. We’ve already mentioned that most cats hate being brushed. But some cats absolutely despise it.

They can flip into a terrible mood, fight the brush, and even lash out at you because they hate it so much. But there are some ways to improve the brushing experience for your cat and make it a much more enjoyable process.

If you want to find out how to brush your cat that hates being brushed, follow these simple tips and they’ll love being brushed in no time.

When in Doubt, Give them a Treat

It is a common misconception that only dogs enjoy a treat. In the grocery store aisles, you will definitely encounter a lot fewer cat treats than dog treats.

But, there are cat treats out there, and the majority of the time your furbaby will love them. Cats aren’t as treat-motivated as dogs, but giving them a little treat to help the grooming process will not harm.

Treats can make a good reward if your cat remains still while you brush her, and also a great distraction when you brush regions your cat particularly hates.

If your cat isn’t a fan of cat treats, you can always use an alternative food that they do like. For example, if your cat really enjoys tuna but you do not give it to them often, you could exclusively give your cat tuna when they are being brushed.

Through positive reinforcement, your cat will eventually enjoy the brushing process, if not for the actual brushing, at least for the tuna they get as a reward.

For the best results from this method, you should use a treat exclusively when brushing them. This makes the reward even more special and increases the chance of them behaving while being brushed.

Start when they’re Young

When you have a kitten, more often than not, brushing is the last thing you will think of.

Kittens are incredibly busy creatures, they are incredibly curious and spend a lot of their time running about and exploring hidden areas of your home.

When they aren’t running around, they’re playing with toys, eating food, or sleeping as they grow. So it’s not surprising that you may not consider brushing your kitten. But this is the best time to start.

If you’ve ever had a kitten you’ll know how wriggly they are. They rarely stay still for longer than a few minutes, unless they’re sleeping of course, but even then they can be awake and running within 2 minutes of being in the land of dreams.

But if you begin brushing your cat when they are a kitten, the experience will not seem as strange or unusual, and this will likely lead to them enjoying being brushed once they have grown up.

As kittens are very busy, you should only attempt to brush them for very small amounts of time with a few strokes of the brush/comb at a time.

It is also important that you’re gentle when brushing your kitten. They are very fragile animals and you don’t want to cause them any pain or make them dislike the brush any more than they instinctively do.

You should continue this pattern throughout your kitten’s childhood, slowly building up the time you brush as they grow.

Choose your Tools Carefully

Another way to make brushing easier is by using the right tools.

There are lots of different brushes and combs available to help groom your cat, but which is the best type to use? Are there some types that make the experience more uncomfortable for your furbaby?

Depending on the breed of your cat, different types of brush or comb will be more appropriate.

If you have a cat that requires a lot of maintenance to their fur, you will likely need a whole kit of brushes, whereas if you have a short hair cat a bristle brush might do the job fine.

For the best results in terms of tools, you should consult with a groomer or your vet to understand the best ways to help your cat maintain her fur.

But it’s not just the tools you need to consider, there are also some brushing techniques which are better for your cat. You should always brush with the coat of your cat, and never in the opposite direction as this can really anger them.

If you encounter any tangles in their fur you should switch to a smaller brush that can remove the knot more gently.

You should never trim your cat’s fur to try and remove a tangle as this can cause damage to their skin, and you should always stroke your cat between brush strokes.

In general, cats find brushing unpleasant so you should try and make it as uncomfortable as possible for them through the use of affection.

Know when the Time is Right

Finally, the key to your cat behaving while you brush them lies in knowing when the time is right.

You want the experience to be calm and peaceful for your cat so you should only brush them when your home matches the environment you want to create for your cat.

You should also avoid brushing your cat if they are already in a bad mood, or they just want to play as this will be totally unproductive and probably make them dislike the brush more.


There are a few ways you can try to improve the brushing experience for your cat, but ultimately your cat will probably still hate being brushed at the end of the experience.

But if you want to train your cat to enjoy brushing, your best chance is to start brushing them when they are a kitten, and if this is not possible, try using treats to entice them.

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