Help Your Cat Enjoy “THE BRUSHINGS!”
Brushing your cat is a great time for one-on-one attention. Unfortunately, some cats prefer to groom themselves. Follow these 9 tips and soon your cat will enjoy THE BRUSHINGS as much as Duffy does!
BRUSHING TIP ONE:
Try several types of brushes on your cat’s fur. Fergie has a dense undercoat and a wide tooth comb feels best to her. Duffy’s coat is longer and silkier and he likes a brush with dense wire bristles. (see photos)
BRUSHING TIP TWO:
Re-start (or start) your cat’s relationship with brushing by only brushing areas where they enjoy getting scratched, like the chin, cheeks, ribs and chest. Avoid sensitive areas like the back, hind quarters, and stomach. Do just a few quick strokes several times a day, building the association between the brush and pleasure.
BRUSHING TIP THREE:
Test out different strokes. Long deep strokes may take some working up to. Short, soft strokes are a good place to start. Every cat has their preference for how hard they liked to be brushed. Duffy likes long deep strokes on his cheeks, chin and chest and shorter softer strokes on his back, sides and hind quarters.
BRUSHING TIP FOUR:
Stop when your cat is no longer enjoying the brushing. As they begin to trust that you won’t go beyond their boundaries, you can add a swipe or two in areas they don’t like as much. I like to do a 3:1 ratio, with three brushes in the “yes” places to every one brush in the “not so much” places. The goal is to get them to enjoy the yes places enough to wait through the no places. Go slowly and don’t push your kitty too much. Earning their trust is the ultimate goal.
BRUSHING TIP FIVE:
Once your cat has started to associate the brush or comb with positive experiences, try pushing their boundaries just a bit by increasing the length of the brushing sessions and increasing the number of no spots you brush. Two to four sessions a day should eventually lead to one longer session a day. Remember to let your cat set the pace as you build up to the one brushing a day goal.
BRUSHING TIP SIX:
Try and time grooming sessions after playtime and a meal, setting the stage for a kitty who is in the mood for a grooming session.
BRUSHING TIP SEVEN:
Use rewards after each brushing session, no matter how short or successful. Some cats are highly treat motivated, while others like reassuring words and pets.
BRUSHING TIP EIGHT:
If brushing has become something you and your feline friend both dread, be sure to only brush after relaxing yourself through breathing or grounding exercises. Cats are emotional antennas and pick up on the stress you may be unintentionally conveying. Red Orbit does a nice job of summarizing grounding techniques.
BRUSHING TIP NINE:
If you have a long-haired cat or a cat prone to matting, consider a shave prior to introducing or re-introducing the grooming sessions. This will give you some wiggle room in terms of needing to brush their entire coat and will make grooming less painful for your kitty.
What are your tips and which brushes do your kitties prefer? We’d love to hear from you!