Cats have high standards of personal hygiene. Anyone who owns or has regular contact with felines knows that they seem to spend a huge proportion of their waking time grooming themselves. And they certainly have the tools to do it! Their tongues come equipped with tiny barbs called papillae that help collect loose hairs, grit and dirt from the cat’s hair as they lick. They pick larger or ingrained debris out of their coats with their teeth; and their paws are used to wash areas they can’t reach with their tongues.
There’s no doubt that they are highly efficient self-grooming machines, but there are flaws to the process. The papillae are backwards-facing, which means much of the stray hair goes down the cat’s throat, causing hairballs that can become problematic. And long-haired breeds may have trouble meeting their own exacting standards for cleanliness without a helping hand.
Owners can help by brushing their cats regularly. Here, we look at some of the best tools available on the market to assist in the process and answer some of the most frequently asked questions about cats and grooming.
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The FURminator is suitable for felines over 10lbs in weight and with hair longer than 2 inches. The stainless steel teeth are densely positioned, allowing for deep penetration of thick coats, to reach through the top coat to the skin. The tool assists in the removal of loose and dead pet hair without scratching the skin or damaging the coat.
The ergonomic handle makes it safe and comfortable for pet owners to use for extended periods. Hairs trapped in the comb’s teeth can be easily released by depressing the FURejector button. The manufacturer states that with regular use, the tool can assist in the reduction of shed pet hair by up to 90% for a tidier home with less vacuuming!
Amazon’s top seller in the deshedding tools for cats category, Excell’s Pet Grooming Brush promises a fast and efficient removal of up to 95% of all dead hair in your pet’s coat in less than 10 minutes. It’s also useful in the removal of fur tangles and mats. Suitable for dogs too, the comb’s reach is 4 inches in length, designed to clean fast by penetrating even the densest of coats down to skin level.
The easy grip handle makes it comfortable for owners to use and the blade is protected by a plastic shield when not in use for safety; and the stainless steel comb can be removed for easy cleaning at the push of a button.
The Hertzko self-cleaning slicker brush can be used on any cat or dog with hair of any length or type. The rounded-tip wire bristles will penetrate deep down through the undercoat to the skin without scratching it in order to remove mats and tangles, as well as freeing up dead hair and loosening dirt and dust. The end result is a clean coat that’s shining with health, while the massage action on the skin helps promote good blood circulation.
The tool features an ergonomic handle designed to protect the owner from strain on the wrist and hand while in use. A simple press of the button on the brush head retracts the wire bristles and frees up the gathered hair and dirt for easy cleaning.
Use this self-cleaning Slicker Brush along with Safari’s grooming comb or matting tool for a complete grooming experience for your pet. The stainless steel pins are designed to last and last as they gently release and gather dead hair and clear mats and tangles. The tool is soft enough to be used every day without damaging your pet’s skin, keeping his coat healthy and shiny while also reducing the amount of molted hair that shows up in your home.
When grooming is complete, simply retract the stainless steel pins for easy removal of accumulated hair. While designed for cats, the brush is suitable for use on any small animal.
The simple design of this slicker brush belies its effectiveness in releasing and removing trapped dander, dust and dirt, as well as teasing out mats and tangles. The angled bristles are rubber tipped to avoid scratching delicate skin while stimulating blood circulation and massaging and distributing the natural oils for a healthy, shiny coat.
The slicker brush rotates up to 360o for easy access to those hard-to-reach areas. The 4 inch head speeds up the grooming process, ideal for impatient pets. For owners, the grip is comfortable and non-slip to avoid wrist and hand strain.
If you like to brush your cat daily, you’ll love this soft bristled brush which will prevent irritation of the skin. It’s suitable for every age of cat from kitten to older felines, as well as other small animals too. The nylon bristles are firm enough to reach down through the top coat to the skin, massaging that and distributing the body’s natural oils that will give your pet a shining, healthy coat.
The tool is recommended for use by professional pet groomers and can be used in combination with the Safari slicker brush if the fur is heavily matted.
Recommended by vets and professional pet groomers, the DakPets Deshedding Brush works on both cats and dogs of all ages. It’s estimated to reduce shedding by around 95% for a cleaner home and car. The 4 inch comb is protected with a cover to prolong its life while, when in use, the teeth penetrate down through to the undercoat to remove the maximum amount of dead hair, dust and grime. Your pet will be left with a shiny coat and healthy skin.
The comb is replaceable to reduce future expense and the rubber grip handle is comfortable enough for frequent or prolonged use. The handle is also reinforced to prevent breaking while in use.
This classy all-in-one tool carries out loose hair and dust removal with grooming capabilities for pets, while also being invaluable for brushing up hair from furniture and clothing. It has two sides, thick bristles on one that can be used to brush out long and short-haired animals. The other side is for soft furnishings and materials, and can even be used to remove lint from clothes.
With a telescopic handle extending the reach from 3 foot to 6 foot, the FURemover Duo is easy to clean so can be used over and over again. Suitable for cats, dogs and other small mammals.
This two-in-one tool features bristles on one side, pins on the other. This makes it invaluable for multi-pet households and medium to long-haired cats which may benefit from either side. The silicone gel handle is non-slip, so the owner can really get to grips with the job in hand! Use the brush side to loosed dead hairs then switch to the pin side for a glossy coat. The pins’ ends are rounded for a comfortable grooming experience for your animal while really reaching down through the coat to the skin for better dirt, dust and hair removal.
Suitable for dogs and cats with short, medium or long fur, this tools is one of the best-sellers of its type on the market.
For use after administration of flea powders or shampoos, this neat little flea comb is recommended by professional groomers for cats, kittens, and other small animals. In fact, it’s the top-selling cat flea comb on the Amazon Marketplace. Its fine teeth make it highly effective in the removal of fleas from the coat and also assists in stimulating the animal’s skin for healthy blood flow.
It can also be used to detect the presence of fleas and their eggs before treatment of infestations. Tangles and mats in the fur should be removed before use and the comb can be easily cleaned in a mild detergent solution during and after use.
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Unless you have a long-haired pedigree cat, you may think grooming your feline is unnecessary. After all, they spend long enough on it themselves… However, grooming is important for any cat. Not only does it help you bond with your pet, it’s also invaluable for various health reasons.
Don’t just go at it with an old hairbrush of your own, however. There are plenty of specially designed tools on the market that will make the job simpler and more comfortable for your cat – and more effective at keeping your home free from being knee-deep in shed cat hair. Our suggestions for the best brushes and combs for the job appear above.
As we noted in the introduction, a cat’s natural grooming technique is highly efficient, but you only have to look around your home to see the volume of hair that a cat loses on a routine basis! Most owners of domestic shorthairs might not consider grooming to be a necessity, but you can avoid mess around the home, not to mention vet’s bills from intestinal blockages caused by hairballs, if you give them a helping hand with a good brush from time to time.
Brushing your cat is also advantageous for the following reasons:
The answer is ‘it depends’! And what it usually depends on is the length and density of your cat’s fur. As a rough guide:
If you have a domestic short-haired moggy or a breed like the Russian Blue, the Siamese or the Bengal, then once or twice a week should be sufficient. In fact, it’s preferable not to brush them too often as it can result in your cat developing bald patches or irritation of the skin.
Mixed breeds and cat breeds with denser fur such as the Manx or the American Short Hair will benefit from more frequent grooming, especially if they’re outdoor cats that tend to shed heavily in spring. Three or four times a week is good, unless they have really dense coats; in which case, daily is a good idea.
These delightful creatures will benefit most from daily brushing. Common breeds that need this level of attention will include Ragdolls, Persians and Maine Coons. Remember, prevention is better than cure. If you can remove tangles, knots and matting before they build up, it’ll be more comfortable for your cat – and easier for you to treat any issues too.
The secret to effective and efficient cat grooming lies in choosing the right tool for the job. There are a whole host of different types of cat brushes on the market these days, just a few of the best of which we’ve enumerated above. But broadly speaking, all these brushes fall into the following categories. Remember, you may need more than one type to tackle the entire job well, such as a bristle brush to do the coat overall, then a slicker brush to tackle isolated tangles in the fur or matted areas.
Often resembling one of our own hairbrushes, these come with different densities of bristle and in different shapes and sizes. For longer-haired breeds, the bristles need to be spaced further apart from each other. You should also look for longer bristles too, to be able to get the brush down through the length of the coat. The shorter hair your cat has, the shorter the bristles can be, and should be more densely packed too. Take note of how coarse the coat is too. You’ll need a stiffer brush to tackle a coarse-haired cat.
With wire pins, often coated in rubber tips to prevent scratching the skin, these brushes are ideal for long-haired cats. Massaging as you brush, this helps release and spread the skin’s natural oils that will keep your cat’s coat looking shiny. They create less static than a bristle brush and can also be gentler on the hair itself, causing fewer breakages. In general, the longer the coat, the longer the pins need to be to work their way through its length. These brushes aren’t good for a matted, tangled or very thick coat, though.
For mats and tangles, what you need is one of these. The fine bristles, again made of wire, will help work out any knots or matted hair.
The former are for small masses of tangled fur, the latter to break up larger or more complex knots and mats.
These are great for stripping out dead, loose hairs and other debris from your cat’s coat. As an added benefit, they also massage the skin as they work through the coat. It’s often worth using one of these to finish off the grooming session, as they tend to leave the fur silky-soft and shiny. You can even use it to remove hair from furniture when you’re done!
As a final note, it’s worth saying that you should look after your brushes, not only so they stay effective but also to prolong their life. Clean them after every use, giving them a wash if necessary and making sure they are thoroughly dry before you put them away. This is especially important for any tools that are made of metal, as otherwise they may rust.
Before any form of grooming session, give your cat the once-over, both visually and by stroking her, to check for wounds, bald patches, signs of ticks or fleas (using a fine-toothed flea and tick comb) or unexpected lumps and bumps. Do this by massaging the skin thoroughly with your fingers, working from the tail towards the head, in the opposite direction to the way the coat grows. This also helps loosen any dead hairs in the fur before you set to with the brush or comb.
For short-haired cats
For long-haired cats
Firstly, is your cat resistant to the idea because it’s new or have you tried and failed a million times?
If it’s the former, then it’s more a case of getting them accustomed to the idea. Stop trying so hard: content yourself with picking one small area at a time – like the top of the head. Brush this lightly for 30-45 seconds, if they’ll tolerate it. If they habitually get fed up after less time, try stopping before the point at which they become uncomfortable. Also, try catching them when they’re relaxed and happy already – snoozing in the sunshine or on the couch is great. Sit next to them and be gentle and unhurried in your movements. Your aim is to encourage them to associate grooming with feeling content, so build up the time spent on this activity very slowly.
Either way, make sure you have the right tools for the job. If the brush or comb you’re using is too harsh, they’ll resist no matter where or when you try to groom them. Try different sizes, styles and types till you find the one that matches their coat – and their temperament too!
If your pet is particularly resistant, try the catnip trick: sprinkle onto the brush to make it a more inviting prospect. But if your kitty shows a violent aversion to grooming and nothing you can do seems to alter that, then there are some pieces of kit that may be worth trying. Cat grooming mittens, ones that you put on your own hands, may fool your feline into thinking she’s being stroked and petted rather than brushed out. There are also brushes that can be mounted on the corner of a room – look for walls where she habitually rubs her scent and affix them here at cheek-height. This may encourage her to brush against them. Finally, some pet specialists sell a freestanding arch mounted on a carpeted platform. The arch is covered with bristles and may persuade your cat that grooming on her own terms is acceptable!