How Often Should You Brush Your Cat? What You Need To Know


Dr. Lorna Whittemore Photo


Reviewed & Fact-Checked By

Dr. Lorna Whittemore

Vet, MRCVS

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


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Cats are known for being self-groomers that like to keep themselves as clean as possible. Using their spiky tongues, saliva, and paws, cats clean themselves several times a day. You might think that cats don’t require any grooming help from humans, but this isn’t the case. For many reasons, cats can benefit from being brushed.

Just how often you should brush your cat depends on a few factors. Brushing removes loose hair from the coat while keeping it soft, smooth, and tangle-free. If your cat has long hair, they should be brushed every day. Cats with short coats should be brushed every 2 to 7 days to keep their coats in good condition.

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Brushing a Long-Haired Cat

Long-haired cats have coats that need more attention than those of short-haired cats. Daily brushing will keep your cat’s coat well-maintained. Long and medium coats get dirty, tangled, and matted more easily than short coats. Brushing removes the loose hair and debris, frees tangles, and keeps the coat looking tidy. By brushing your cat daily, you can keep mats from forming in the first place.

If your long-haired cat has a severely matted coat or has mats that start at the skin, trying to remove these by brushing will be painful. If the mat can’t be brushed, it’s best to not attempt to remove it yourself. Your cat may need to visit a professional groomer to be shaved. As the hair grows back, you can brush it daily to prevent mat buildup.

Brushing a Short-Haired Cat

Tabby cat lying in her owner's lap and enjoying while being brushed and combed
Image Credit: Impact Photography, Shutterstock

Cats with short coats can get away with less brushing, but it should still be done regularly. If you can brush your cat every day, even just for a few minutes, you will help remove loose hair and keep their coats clean. In general, short-haired cats should be brushed once a week.

Your short-haired cat shouldn’t be brushed too often, though. This can lead to bald patches or skin irritation. If they like being brushed every day, be sure to keep the session to just a few minutes. Otherwise, brushing them a few times or once a week will be enough to reduce shedding and remove debris.

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While Brushing Your Cat

Brushing your cat is a good opportunity to examine them for skin problems and fleas. If you notice anything abnormal, like red patches, bald spots, or irritated skin, have your cat checked by a vet. If you notice fleas crawling in your cat’s hair, you’ll need to treat your cat for these parasites to get rid of them.

How to Brush Your Cat

brushing cat with gloves
Image Credit: Mariia Boiko, Shutterstock

Brushing your cat removes dirt, grime, tangles, and loose hair from their coat. It also helps remove dander. As you brush, you help distribute the natural oils in your cat’s skin throughout their coat to keep it shiny and soft. You’ll also increase their blood circulation and improve the condition of their skin and coat.

Start by brushing, using gentle strokes, in the direction of the coat’s growth. Brushing against the coat’s natural direction can cause discomfort to the cat.

Continue using gentle brush strokes all over your cat, being careful to avoid their eyes, until you’ve removed most of the loose hair and the coat looks smooth.

Benefits of Brushing Your Cat

Brushing your cat is done to help them maintain their well-groomed appearance, but there are other benefits of this activity.

Brushing is a bonding experience for you and your cat. If your cat enjoys being brushed, and many cats do, you can spend quality time with them as they purr and relax. Sometimes, even cats that dislike being brushed at first will learn to love it over time. When done correctly, it can feel like a massage for them.

Brushing also reduces hairballs. Hairballs occur when cats self-groom and swallow their hair. The cat’s barbed tongue pulls out the hair and becomes stuck. Cats have no choice but to swallow it to get rid of it. The issue is that this hair then balls up in the stomach and has to come out somehow. This is usually done by the cat vomiting up a hairball on your floor.

Brushing your cat removes many loose hairs in the coat, so there are fewer available for your cat to swallow. It also means that less hair will end up around your home by way of shedding.

hepper-orange-cat-being-brushed

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Final Thoughts

Cats should be brushed as often as possible to prevent the buildup of oils in the coat, to keep the coat shiny and clean, and to prevent and eliminate tangles. Brushing also removes loose hair that would otherwise wind up around the house or in your cat’s stomach, forming a hairball.

If your cat is long-haired, they should be brushed daily. Short-haired cats should be brushed regularly in general no less than once per week.

Brushing can be a bonding activity between you and your cat. If it’s done regularly, you can both learn to enjoy and look forward to this quality time together.


Featured Image Credit: Rodica Vasiliev, Shutterstock



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