Catster logo

Do Cats Like Being Brushed? Reasons & Tips

mans hand combing maine coon cat with hair brush
Image Credit: Sergey Fatin, Shutterstock
Last Updated on November 16, 2023 by Christian Adams

There is no universal answer to whether cats like being brushed. Some cats adore the experience, whereas others find it painful and stressful. It’s important to understand your cat and introduce brushing slowly into their routine so that your cat can have the most pleasant experience possible.

Even if your cat does not like brushing at first, there are things you can do to introduce your cat to the experience. After all, brushing your cat is an integral part of keeping them clean, healthy, and groomed. Your cat can learn to love being brushed with the right tools and skills.

Keep reading to learn more about whether cats like being brushed and what you can do to brush your cat.


It All Depends On the Cat

Whether cats like being brushed depends on the cat in question. You will find some cats that go crazy over their brush and view it as an extensive massaging session. Other cats will hiss and scratch to get away from the brush.

Often, cats who do not like being brushed either find the experience painful or have a bad experience with being brushed. You will have to be diligent in reintroducing your cat to a gentle brushing experience so they slowly become more accustomed to the feeling.

cat paw divider

The 3 Common Reasons Why Cats Don’t Like Being Brushed

Even though cats are good at grooming themselves, most enjoy the brushing experience. It feels like they are being petted, only more intensely. As a result, most cats who do not like being brushed do not like it because it is too intense. Here are some reasons why cats do not like being brushed.

1. Wrong Brush

Many first-time cat owners do not realize that not all brushes are suitable for all cats. Long-haired cats require a different brush or comb than short-haired cats. If you get a comb that is too stiff or hard, it will likely hurt the cat’s skin.

2. Sore Bodies

If your cat has skin sensitivities or sores, brushing may be painful, no matter which brush you have. Cats can get sores for many reasons, including allergies, fleas, or an accident while on the hunt. It’s important to be aware of any sores or pains that can cause further irritation to your cat.

cat brushing a home
Image Credit: Africa Studio, Shutterstock

3. Bad Experiences

Unfortunately, many cats are neglected and not treated properly. If you have a rescue kitty, your cat may be against brushes due to a past experience. This experience can be directly related to a brush, or it could be more related to an abusive owner. Cats that do not like being brushed due to bad experiences take more work when introducing them to brushing.

yarn ball divider

How To Introduce Brushing To Your Cat’s Routine in 3 Steps

If your cat hates being brushed or you welcome a new cat into your home, it’s vital to introduce brushing into your cat’s routine slowly and steadily. If you don’t do so correctly, your cat may become afraid of the comb and fight you every time.

1. Select The Right Brush

Before you do anything, get the right brush based on your cat’s coat type and skin sensitivities. Long-haired cats need a flea comb or molting comb. Short-haired cats need a double-sided pet grooming brush, but make sure one side includes soft bristles.

If you know that your cat has sensitive skin, select a soft rubber brush. Some rubber brushes even come in a glove design. The glove groomer is ideal for pet cats who are afraid of the brush. It will feel like they are being petted but in a slightly more aggressive way.

brushing cat fur
Image Credit: ANURAK PONGPATIMET, Shutterstock

2. Allow the Cat To See and Smell the Brush

Once you have the right brush, introduce it to your cat. Put it on the ground and allow your cat to sniff the brush and see that it is not a threat. This is especially important if your cat has had bad experiences with brushes in the past.

3. Pet Your Cat First

After your cat has become accustomed to the look and smell of the brush, get in a comfy spot and begin petting your cat. This will get them in a good mood and get them used to the feeling of being touched. Eventually, sneak the brush in. Most cats will not respond badly if you introduce the brush this way.

cat sitter petting a cat on her lap
Image Credit: larisa Stefanjuk, Shutterstock

3 cat face divider

The 3 Tips for Brushing Your Cat

Now that your cat has been introduced to the brushing sensation, you can maintain a brushing routine to teach them they have nothing to worry about. If you brush your cat this way, they can learn to like being brushed.

1. Create a Routine

Create a routine that your cat can depend on. How frequently you should brush your cat will depend on their coat type. Some long-haired cats may need to be brushed daily, whereas short-haired cats only need to be brushed once a week. Do not overbrush your cat because it can result in skin sensitivities and dry skin and hair.

brushing a ragdoll cat
Image Credit: VeronArt16, Shutterstock

2. Go Slowly

When brushing your cat, make sure to go slow, especially at first. Going too fast can scare the cat and injure them, even if you select a gentle brush. Going slow ensures that your cat does not have a painful experience.

3. Reward

After every grooming session, reward your cat. Eventually, they will associate the grooming session with treats, which means they will not fight back.

bengal cat having treats
Image Credit: YRABOTA, Shutterstock

cat + line divider


Some cats like being brushed, but others do not. Most often, the cats that do not like the experience are against it because it is painful or they have a bad memory associated with being brushed. If your cat does not like being brushed, you must go the extra mile to reintroduce the process to them.

With proper reintroduction and routine habits, your cat will likely learn to love the experience because it feels good, and they get a treat at the end!

Featured Image: Sergey Fatin, Shutterstock

About the Author

Christian Adams
Christian Adams
Christian is the Editor-in-Chief of Excited Cats and one of its original and primary contributors. A lifelong cat lover, now based in South East Asia, Christian and his wife are the proud parents of an 11-year-old son and four rescue cats: Trixie, Chloe, Sparky, and Chopper.

Get Catster in your inbox!

Stay informed! Get tips and exclusive deals.


Follow Us

Shopping Cart