Does anyone know why cats are so contrary? Uncooperative, headstrong, disobedient – they’re the very definition of the word. If they weren’t so cute I would have given up on them a long time ago. Now I’m going to tell a really long store about why we have five, yes FIVE, different cat brushes for Saus. If you’re not interested in that, please skip on to my conclusions about the best cat brushes in the middle of the article…
My ridiculously long story about finding the best cat brush
We started out with the cream of the crop – a branded, sturdy creation that self-cleaned. Hey, my own brush doesn’t even self-clean!! It was pricey too – around 20 bucks. The good news is, Saus loved it. For about five days.
We had a seriously bad shedding situation when we first moved Saus and Poki from Canada to Australia. I think the drastic temperature change triggered some sort of cataclysmic hair loss. I’m not exaggerating. This was beyond the usual seasonal shedding. There was hair in our food, our eyes, on my husband’s work clothes…everywhere! We literally inhaled cat hairs through our nostrils when going to sleep at night. Add into the equation that my husband is pretty allergic to cats and we have a total meltdown.
We were desperate for a brush that would separate all of these loose hairs from the kitty (our British Shorthair was the main problem, Siberians don’t shed in the same way). The one we’d bought which was now discarded into the land of forgotten cat toys, actually did a great job. The problem was that she wouldn’t let us use it on her. One or two strokes and she made a dash for it.
I asked my mother-in-law if she’d had the same problem. They took care of our cats for the few months before we could bring them to our new home. “No problem at all” she said. “Saus loves it when I brush her”. WHAT?
Brush numbers two, three, four and five
It must be the brush, I thought. So we had dear mother-in-law mail the brush in question literally halfway around the world to us, only to get the same reaction from Saus. She loved it for a few days, and then would have none of it.
I desperately trawled the shelves of our local pet store for something new. Something different. Aha! A brush for cats and dogs. That’s certainly different. The bristles were strong, stiff and much further apart than the other models. Now, this one, she really liked. She’d let me brush her all day. I guess it was like a massager. The only problem was that it didn’t remove as much loose fur as I’d hoped. Since we had a seriously disastrous shedding situation we needed to bring out the big guns.
Out of desperation, I tried two of my own hairbrushes. Including one that I brought back from Europe. Of course she loved those, especially the European brush (tangle teaser ladies, it’s actually life-changing). She liked them so much that she tried to eat them. There’s just something about plastic brush bristles that makes cats think YUM. They did a decent job at removing fur but I couldn’t afford to have them nibbled. I did need to keep my own hair in semi-decent shape after all.
So… what’s the solution?
You must be wondering, if I’m sitting here typing this blog post, I obviously haven’t suffocated on British Shorthair fur. No – I had a narrow escape. Now that I had a collection of five partially acceptable brushes, I decided to alternate them. When Saus starts to tire of one, I quickly swap to the next.
This has been a bit of a silly story. I don’t really know why I told it to be honest. I guess I want you to know that I have more than my share of experience with cat brushes, their strengths, weaknesses and unique selling points.
It’s probably safe to conclude that there was something wrong with my feline brushing technique, although it felt like I tried everything. She had definitely let my mother-in-law brush her for half an hour everyday with the same brush I used. You probably won’t have the same trouble with your pet. Our other cat doesn’t care which brush we use as long as we’re paying him attention.
Cat brushing basics
Sorry about that long rant. Now onto the actual practical advice. I hope I haven’t put you off grooming your cat at home! It can be a fun bonding experience, I promise. Here are some of the basics you need to know about brushing your cat.
Why brush your cat?
This one’s obvious, but you need to brush your cat so that you don’t end up suffocating on stray fur like me. In addition, if you don’t brush your cat, she can get hairballs which often need to be treated with medicine by a vet. It prevents matting and removes some dander. Brushing can help relax nervous cats and generally if you do it well, it can make your cat like you. If that’s important to you. Ha, if you wanted to be liked you’d have a dog, wouldn’t you?
How often to brush your cat?
How often you brush your cat depends on the type of fur and whether it’s shedding season or not. I find spending 15 minutes a day keeps my house nearly hair-free. If you don’t have time for that, you can spend 30 minutes once or twice a week. Basically keep brushing until very little hair comes onto the brush. You will figure out the best schedule for your pet very quickly.
The most common types of cat brushes
I feel like there are more types of brush for cats than for humans. Some of the most common are:
- The slicker brush: Has thin metal bristles and gets rid of knots.
- Matbreakers: Have wide teeth and blades to cut out matting.
- Metal comb: Another detangler with narrow teeth. A good example is the Furminator.
- Natural bristle brush: This doesn’t detangle but just smooths the surface.
- Mitt brush: This is a cat brush glove with bristles on the palm. You brush the cat by petting it with the glove on.
How to brush your cat
How to brush your cat is something you learn with experience. Every cat is different and they have certain sensitive spots and places they like to be brushed. Start out gently and brush harder if your cat tolerates it. Brush until you (or your cat) get bored of it. As I said, I try to do it for 15 minutes every day but it does get boring since I have two cats. Maybe do it with your favorite TV show in the background.
The best cat brush for shedding
The best cat brush for shedding is without a doubt the self-cleaning “slicker” brush by Safari. It just works. I don’t know how it does it, but it removes crazy amounts of hair. As long as you can get your kitty to keep still for long enough. I’d say it removes at least three times as much hair as other brushes I’ve tried.
As soon as you have it in your hands, you can tell it’s built to last. The stainless steel pins are strong but flexible. They won’t pull on any knots and hurt your pet. It’s super ergonomic and comfy to use. It didn’t seem that important at first, but when you’re going to be spending hours per week brushing your cats, it helps, trust me.
And self-cleaning, what does that mean? Well it doesn’t pop itself into the sink and lather up. Instead, this refers to the button at the back which releases the clump of cat hair it’s trapped. Convenient! I think this is definitely the best cat deshedding brush. Don’t even bother looking at anything else.
The best cat brush for long hair cats
I’m lucky (?) I guess that I have a short-haired and a long-haired cat. That makes it easy to test lots of different products on them! It’s true that the Safari brush is amazing for deshedding for both long and short-haired cats. However I do find that it pulls a bit more on Poki’s long fur. If your cat is particularly sensitive, you may want to look for something a bit more gentle. This is the cat brush I recommend in these cases. It’s pretty much identical to the “dog and cat” brush I tried on Saus. While it slipped a little to easily through her short, silky fur, I found it performed much better on Poki.
It allows you to brush right through to the base of the hair. The ball tips on the bristles make sure it doesn’t scratch your cat’s skin. I don’t use the bristle side , but it’s supposedly good for removing dirt. My cats are indoor-only so I don’t really need that feature.
I hope this post has helped you determine which is the best cat brush for your furry family members (cats that is…not overly hairy in-laws…). If you’ve tried an amazing cat brush that’s better than the ones I’ve mentioned, I would truly love to hear about it. Anything to make Saus’s life even more luxurious 😛