Brushing A Cat That Hates To Be Brushed

While cats do a wonderful job of self-cleaning (which removes a lot of dirt and debris), they can’t brush themselves. Failure to brush regularly can lead to knots and mats that can injure your cat’s skin. Also, hairballs are a real thing that can cause additional health problems. Unfortunately, many cats hate to be brushed.

If you have a young cat or kitten, starting the process as early in life as possible will lead to less chaos later. But even older cats can accept grooming in the right circumstances.

Let’s go over some ways to brush a finicky cat with as little drama and trauma to both of you as possible.

Consider Using Treats As Motivation

While Fluffy may not be as addicted to food and treats as their canine counterpart Fido, treats can work.

Offer a tiny bit of tuna, salmon, special canned cat food, or another small treat to entice your feline friend to accept a few strokes of the brush or comb. At the end of your grooming session, offer a larger amount of the treat.

Cats are smarter than we often give them credit for — they will learn quickly that calm cooperation is a great way to get some extra treats.

Some cat owners make it even more enticing by giving the treat only before and after grooming sessions.

Consider Using A Brush/Comb Alternative

While there are countless types of brushes and combs (and always choose carefully, especially if you know your cat has an aversion to metal spikes), there are also many alternatives to the classic brush or comb.

Some pet owners use grooming mitts or gloves, which make it seem more like the cat is being petted rather than brushed.

Others use grooming arches, which look like large carpeted boards. When Fluffy walks under it, they’re brushed without even knowing it.

Don’t Rush The Process

When you’re attempting to brush or comb your feline companion, make sure you’re not in a hurry or nervous. Cats pick up on our energy.


Some cats will never cooperate with brushing, so you may need to check in with your veterinarian or a trusted groomer for additional support. Never force a cat to accept brushing, combing, nail trimming, or other grooming.