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My cat sheds a lot, so I try to brush him often to minimize the amount of cat fluff he leaves all over everything in my house. Unfortunately, brushing him is incredibly tricky; he doesn't want to hold still, he tries to eat and attack the brush, etc. I have tried holding him different ways, but he just squirms out of my grasp and goes after the brush again.

What are some things I can do to make it easier to brush my cat?

  • I can't recommend the KONG zoom groom enough, our cats love it, especially the longhaired one. Picks up the fur and massages them without the pull that a traditional brush has. – John Cavan Oct 10 '13 at 18:18
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Making brushing an enjoyable experience is probably the best way to go. Reward him after sitting still and allowing you to brush him with a treat. Grooming is one way cats show affection towards each other, so making him calm and relaxed in order to brush him is essential.

Wait until he is in a calm state, possibly napping or relaxing and approach and sit with him and pet him gently. Then introduce the brush and let him smell it, and rub his face against it. Then you should be able to brush him with only minor attacking of the brush.

Also leaving the brush out in a public place so he can get used to it and it's not some strange object always helps me with my cats.

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  • He used to live in a house where there was another cat, who used to groom him incessantly - I wonder if this is part of his annoyance with the brush? – Ash Oct 10 '13 at 16:14
  • Could be. He may associate grooming with the other cat and it may be something that was done between them, so you grooming him is an invasion of his special cat bond. – Dennis Graves Oct 10 '13 at 16:16
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One of my past cats used to hate being brushed (she was pretty skittish in general; didn't like being held either). And she was long-haired, so this was important. I was able to get some benefit from a grooming glove (like this, for example), which is basically a mitt with rubber knobby bits that catch loose hair. To the cat this felt more like petting than brushing so she tolerated it better. The results were not as good as with a brush, but this allowed me to do something every day and use the brush less frequently.

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Some cats prefer combing to brushing; you might try that.

You might also try an intensive string or laser-pointer session beforehand, to get some of the pounce-and-wrestle reactions out of the way. A tired cat is a less squirmy cat.

Alternating brush and hand strokes sometimes helps.

Sometimes a slightly damp hand is as good at gathering the loose fur as anything else, and probably feels more like mama-cat's grooming.

One of mine is much more interested in licking the brush than in having it pulled thru his fur. Frustrating since he's also the one inclined to chase down and eat every bit of fluff I brush off him, somewhat defeating the purpose. I keep threatening to go after him with hairspray, but he calls my bluff.

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I recently asked a similar question Calming a cat down after being told no. The answerer said that I should pick the cat up from his neck and that should calm him down. He also linked a video showing an example which can be watched on youtube.

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    While that may work, it doesn't solve the problem of the cat being anxious about grooming. You want to make the cat comfortable with being groomed and not equate it with any type of punishment or restriction of movement. – Dennis Graves Oct 10 '13 at 17:16

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