Why Doesn't My Cat Like to be Brushed?


Some cats prefer to groom themselves, instead of being groomed by their guardian or a professional. Unfortunately, this is unfeasible, especially for long haired cats who need to be brushed on a regular basis. Brushing your cat’s hair is an important task, it helps remove tangles, remove dead hair, check for parasites, and is a great opportunity to get your cat used to handling.

Brush Type

Depending on the type of brush that you are using, the teeth of the comb or the brush may be too long, thus scratching your cat’s skin. It is important to choose the right type of brush for your cat’s fur length.

Flea combs are a great option for short haired cats. Long haired cats generally require a couple tools to keep up with their coats. Wire slicker brushes are used to remove loose dead hair. If the loose hair is left on the cat, it will cause the hair to mat. Slicker brushes should be used with care, if you press to hard you will scratch your cat’s skin.

Undercoat rakes are great for cats that have double coats. These are used to thin out the undercoat, especially during their molting periods in the spring and fall.

 Overstimulation and session length

Cats can become irritated with the grooming process if the sessions are always long and include tedious work picking out matted areas from their fur. Mats in the fur can be painful which can easily cause your cat to dislike grooming sessions.


What to do


Sometimes cats can be afraid of certain brushes or become overstimulated during grooming sessions. If your cat is fearful of the sight of the brush, then make it a positive experience. Grab some tasty treats and place the brush around the house and allow the cat to smell and interact with it. If they approach the brush, toss a treat to them.

Once your cat is comfortable interacting with the brush, then pick the brush up, give your cat a treat, and end the session.

After they are comfortable viewing the brush, gently touch the cat with the brush, give them a treat, end the session.

Slowly work your way up to one stroke through your cat’s fur with the brush and then as they become more comfortable add additional strokes. If your cat becomes scared at any point, just keep working on the step before.  This will allow your cat to associate the brush with positive associations.

Short sessions 

If your cat becomes overwhelmed with grooming and swats or bites at the brush, then keep the sessions short. Figure out how long your cat allows brushing before they react and try to stay under that time so that they are not reacting.

Create a regular schedule of short grooming sessions. The sessions may one be a minute long, but if you keep up with it on a daily basis, then you won’t need to do long stressful grooming sessions with your cat.

Different Brush

You can also try a different brush with your cat, especially if they have sensitive skin. A great option is a rubber brush, especially if they have negative associations with other brushes. The rubber brushes have a massaging quality to them that some cats enjoy.


If you need help implementing these suggestions, or if you need additional help, feel free to drop us a line!