Brushing the cat: When is it too much of a good thing?

We’ve got four cats and in the heat of summer, they shed more than usual. The brush gets used- not as much as it should be, probably. Fortunately, the black cat, Bumper, enjoys his currying a lot- he sheds more than the other three put together.

As I was working him last night, I started to wonder when it becomes too much brushing. I filled two paddles with his fur. By that I mean that if you examine the image of this cat brush, and then imagine a thick matting of fur filling the bristles, I did that twice with him.

This is typical. I could get three if I kept with it. He also has dandruff and the brush tends to loosen skin and whatnot. I’ve always kept with the wisdom that it’s very healthy to keep the extra and loose hair down because it reduces hairballs and they like the stimulation.

But… is it good for their skin to be brushed that much? Assuming none of the cats are devout masochists, I’d think they would scamper away when they’d had too much but these ARE indoor housecats and their neurosis are legion.

Should I be holding off? Should I go and go and go until the cat has had enough and walks away? I do worry that it’s not as good for their skin as I think it is.

The obligatory shots of the other boys:

Dobby

Lightning

and

Thunder

Thoughts?

Goodness, I easily get a dozen or more of those slicker brushfulls out of my fuzzy land shark! If all you’re using is a slicker brush, I wouldn’t really worry about it. If you’re using one of those metal loop combs, or a brush designed to cut out the undercoat, then you do need to watch it - I did pull out so much in cat dredlocks once that she had a nearly bald spot at the base of her tail once. (Short haired cat, but fat, so she can’t reach to comb it with her tongue). It grew back, though.

IANAV, but have worked as a vet tech. I have never heard a vet tell a client to stop brushing a cat, that he is brushing too much. You might want to ask your vet the next time you have the handsome Bumper in for his annual visit, but he doesn’t look as if he is in any danger of going bald to me! With those wire bristles you have to be careful around delicate areas such as ears but I am sure he would let you know if you were hurting him.

Ooooh yeth. I’m careful around the ears and face though all four and other cats have alwasy lurved being brushed around the head. I suppose it’s because unless one of their housemates cleans them, their own head doesn’t get much attention.

Years ago I read that cats love being petted to the ends of their tails and since then when stroking them, I run my hand out around their tail. They seem to enjoy it- and when brushing em, the brush lightly on the tail seems to make them quite… mellow. :smiley:

Thanks- he IS handsome. We’ve always had a black cat in the house. I think they are just gorgeous and apparently they’re hard for shelters to adopt out sometimes.

Hey- a 5 minute edit window means I can address a post that came in AFTER mine. :cool: If I was bitten, I’d know it was bothering them but that in of itself doesn’t tell me to stop overall. All male cats won’t tolerate being stroked too low on their belly, it’s too close to their penis. Similarly with the brush, one currys with care along the flanks and chest. Bumper will turn and nip at me if I am not attentive and he gets freaked because the brush ran too low. Otherwise, none of them have ever snapped at me.

When they bite you?

I was thinking more about flayed arms and blood-loss. I have shorthaired cats with non-compliance issues, m’kay.

Si

Our cat lurves to be brushed, and I asked my vet about this and the vet said I couldn’t possibly brush him too much.

I try to be careful around his ears and face, but if I hold the brush still, he butts his head right up into the brush (hard) and essentially grooms his own face. Freak.

Yeah, I don’t think you can brush them too much but just in case be sure to stop if you notice them going bald. In my experience, cats will always let you know when they’ve had enough of something. The big guy probably enjoys it the most since the … um … larger bodied cats are not as flexible and can’t groom themselves as well.

All my cats enjoy brushings, except for my only long haired cat who needs it the most. I’m thinking of getting one of those brush things you put on the wall or the brush loop thing and see if she will brush herself.

The Self-Currying Cat[sup]tm[/sup] ??? Oh, money to be made here.
Money to be made.

This almost implies trained behavior* !!! These are cats we’re discussing, right? :smiley:

If Tybalt, the fuzzy black land shark, had any say, there would be no such thing as too much brushing. He would happily let me sit and brush him until I starved to death.

I’ve heard of dogs who would let you brush them with a shedding brush until their skin was bleeding. I’ve never seen a cat that would go that far, but I’ve had cats that you could brush until you’ve removed an entire other cats-worth of fur.

Get yourself a Furminator. Strips the undercoat right out and really cuts down on the shedding. Havoc just loves to be brushed since I switched to this instead of a regular brush.

We got the (very expensive) Furminator and it is unbelievable how much fur it gets, even after using a regular brush first.

My only caveat is be careful on their tummies. we don’t do it any more, as it evidently hurts their nipples.

Yes, the Furminator is one of those brushes you DO have to be careful with. It really can remove too much of the undercoat and leave bald spots. Google Furminator bald spot for some funny stories.

I got a furminator and now the princess Natasha has a bald spot on her flank. Bad biped! :frowning:

Exactly. When my favorite cat still lived (the one who thought he was a Rotweiler and pretty much could back it up) I brushed the heck out of him for as long as I could. Still, he’d get these ‘fur knots’ on the sides of his butt and I was risking fingers trying to address them. Once every two weeks or so, a big clump would come loose & out of one side or the other and be able to be removed. Afterwards, he’d purr & act like I’d pulled a thorn out of his paw. :smiley:

Note: he was either a mix between a short hair & a long hair or possibly a short hair & a Bob Cat. (His Mom wasn’t picky…)

Mixed signals on the Furminator. It does look mighty efficient. I think I’ll order one and then eeeeeease into using it. With the one cat, Bumper, it may well be a great solution. The other three do not need such tending.

Bumpy? He’s a sheddin’ muthah.

What a coincidence, this Tybalt holds much the same opinion. And it’s a good thing, since at 25 lbs. he can’t reach most of his own back.

Unrelated, just wondering if you’ve seen Kitlers :stuck_out_tongue:

Brushing the cat: When is it too much of a good thing?

Occasionally I used to brush our Maine Coon cat and clip out tangles. After this had gone on awhile he would (gently) seize my hand between his teeth as an eloquent statement, i.e. “That’s quite enough for now.”

The bundles of cat (or dog) fur are good for placing in a segment of nylon stocking and hanging up on trees and shrubs to deter deer.