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How Often Should I Brush My Cat? Vet Approved Advice

Vet approved

	Dr. Lorna Whittemore Photo

Reviewed & Fact-Checked By

Dr. Lorna Whittemore


The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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If you’re a cat parent, you’ll be familiar with those lovely moments you spend brushing your cat while they purr away contentedly. Or, if your cat is less cooperative, you’ll be no stranger to indignant paw swipes and the piqued looks you get as you pursue them, brush in hand, in the hopes that they’ll let you finish up the job. Whatever your brushing habits, it’s something you should definitely do at least once a week for your cat—more often if they’re long-haired.

Read on to find out more about how often brushing is recommended for your cat’s hair type and pick up a few grooming tips for cats that hate brushing.

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How Often Should I Brush My Cat? Hair Types

When coming up with a brushing schedule, the most important thing to do is determine how often brushing is necessary for your cat based on the type of hair they have.

Long-Haired & Medium-Haired Cats

Long-haired and medium-haired kitties are prone to knottiness and matting, so it’s best to brush them daily to keep their coats silky and smooth. It’s a good idea to equip yourself with a little grooming kit for your long-haired cat, which should contain a wide-toothed comb, a fine-toothed comb, a flea comb, a deshedding tool, and a wire-toothed/slicker brush.

Short-Haired Cats

Brushing once or twice weekly would suffice for short-haired cats because they don’t get matted as long-haired cats do. Brushing is still a good idea, though, as it helps get rid of loose hairs and reduces the risk of hairballs—something all cats are prone to, even short-haired ones. You can even brush your short-haired cat more than once or twice per week if you like, especially if they enjoy it!

mans hand combing maine coon cat with hair brush
Image Credit: Sergey Fatin, Shutterstock

My Cat Hates Brushing – What Can I Do?

When your cat strongly objects to brushing, it can certainly make things tricky—and very stressful for you! Some cats love nothing more than getting all that dead skin and hair brushed out, whereas others just don’t take to it. With especially playful cats or overstimulated cats, they may see brushing as a game and try to bite the brush or grab it with their paws.

There are a few things you can try to help reluctant cats warm up to the experience and get frisky cats into a brushing routine. Check out our tips below.

Take Things Slowly

If your cat is nervous about new objects, don’t just descend on them with a brush—introduce them to it nice and gradually. Let them see the brush and sniff at it for a while so they become accustomed to its presence and give them a few gentle brush strokes in places they like to be petted. Keep early sessions short and sweet.

Stick to a Routine

Cats are creatures of habit, so setting a brushing routine might help your cat become more comfortable with being brushed. Gently brush your cat in short spurts daily at the same time until they start to get used to it. Put the brush away when the session is over to help them associate brushing with specific times only.

brushing ragdoll cat's hair
Image Credit: Chameleon Pictures, Shutterstock

Use Treats

Have a pack of your cat’s favorite treats nearby to reward them with before, during and after brushing. As with using the brush on their favorite petting areas, this can help your cat to associate brushing with something positive.

Licki Mat

Try using a licki mat covered in your cat’s favorite treat or tinned food. The act of licking and smelling is relaxing. It may be enough to distract your cat for a minute or two while you get some brushing done.

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Final Thoughts

Quick recap before we let you go and get to work on your cat’s fur—short-haired cats should be brushed at least once per week, whereas it’s better to brush medium and long-haired cats daily to avoid matting and knotting. If your cat isn’t of the cooperative variety, you can always try gently and gradually introducing them to brushing and using treats to encourage them.

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Featured Image Credit: ANURAK PONGPATIMET, Shutterstock