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Do Cats Like Being Brushed? The Surprising Answer!

There is no universal answer to whether cats like being brushed. Some cats adore the experience, whereas others find it painful and stressful. It’s important to understand your cat and introduce brushing slowly into its routine so that your cat can have the most pleasant experience possible.

Even if your cat does not like brushing at first, there are things you can do to introduce your cat to the experience. After all, brushing your cat is an important part of keeping it clean, healthy, and groomed. Your cat will learn to love being brushed with the right tools and skills.

Keep reading to learn more about whether cats like being brushed and what you can do to brush your cat.


It All Depends On the Cat

Whether cats like being brushed depends on the individual cat in question. You will find some cats that go crazy over their brush and view it as an extensive massaging session. Other cats will hiss and scratch to get away from the brush.

In other words, it depends entirely on the cat in question. Often, cats who do not like being brushed either find the experience painful or have a bad experience with being brushed. You will have to be diligent in reintroducing your cat to a gentle brushing experience so that they slowly become more accustomed to the feeling.

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Reasons Why Cats Don’t Like Being Brushed

cat brushing a home
Image Credit: Africa Studio, Shutterstock

Even though cats are good at grooming themselves, most enjoy the brushing experience. It feels like they are being petted, only more intensely. As a result, most cats who do not like being brushed do not like it because it is too intense. Here are some reasons why cats do not like being brushed.

Wrong Brush

Many first-time cat owners do not realize that not all brushes are suitable for all cats. Long-haired cats require a different brush or comb than short-haired cats. If you get a comb that is too stiff or hard, it will likely hurt the cat’s body and hair.

Sore Bodies

If your cat has skin sensitivities or sores, brushing may be painful, no matter which brush you have. Cats can get sores for a whole lot of reasons, including allergies, fleas, or an accident while on the hunt. It’s important to be aware of any sores or pains that can cause further irritation to your cat.

Bad Experiences

Unfortunately, many cats are neglected and not treated properly. If you have a rescue, your cat may be against brushes due to a past experience. This experience can be directly related to a brush, or it could be more related to an abusive owner. Cats that do not like being brushed due to bad experiences take more work when it comes to introducing them to a brush.

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How To Introduce Brushing To Your Cat’s Routine

brushing cat fur
Image Credit: ANURAK PONGPATIMET, Shutterstock

If your cat hates being brushed or you are welcoming a new cat into your home, it’s important to introduce brushing into your cat’s routine slowly and steadily. If you don’t do so properly, your cat may become afraid of the comb and fight you every time.

Select The Right Brush

Before you do anything, make sure you get the right brush based on your cat’s coat type and skin sensitivities. Long-haired cats will likely need a flea comb or molting comb. Short-haired cats will likely need a double-sided pet grooming brush, but make sure one side includes soft bristles.

If you know that your cat has sensitive skin, select a soft rubber brush. Some rubber brushes will even come in a glove design. This glove design is a great choice for pet cats who are afraid of the brush. It will just feel like they are being petted but in a slightly more aggressive way.

Allow the Cat To See and Smell the Brush

Once you have the right brush, introduce it to your cat. Put it on the ground and allow your cat to sniff the brush and see that it is no threat. This is especially important if your cat has had bad experiences with brushes in the past.

Pet Your Cat First

After your cat has become accustomed to the look and smell of the brush, get in a comfy spot, and begin petting your cat. This will get them in a good mood and get them used to the feel of being touched. Eventually, sneak the brush in. Most cats will not respond badly if you introduce the brush in this way.

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Tips for Brushing Your Cat

brushing a ragdoll cat
Image Credit: VeronArt16, Shutterstock

Now that your cat has become introduced to the brushing sensation, you will want to create a brushing routine to teach your cat that it has nothing to worry about. If you brush your cat in this way, it will learn to like being brushed.

Create a Routine

Create a routine that your cat can depend on. How frequently you should brush your cat will depend on its coat type. Certain long-haired cats may need to be brushed every day, whereas short-haired cats only need to be brushed once a week. Do not over brush your cat because this can result in skin sensitivities and dry skin and hair.

Go Slowly

Whenever you are brushing your cat, make sure to go slow, especially at first. Going too fast can scare the cat and injure it, even if you select a gentle brush. Going slow ensures that your cat does not have a painful experience.


After every grooming session, make sure to reward your cat. Eventually, the cat will associate the grooming session with treats, which means they will not fight back.

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Some cats like being brushed, but others do not. Most often, the cats who do not like this experience are against it because it is painful, or they have a bad memory associated with being brushed. If your cat does not like being brushed, you will have to go the extra mile to reintroduce the brush to them.

With proper reintroduction and routine habits, your cat will likely learn to love the experience, both because it feels good and because they get a treat at the end!

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Featured Image Credit: Sergey Fatin, Shutterstock

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