How can I convince my cat to let me brush him?

I just got done chasing one of my cats around the house with a kitty brush for half an hour, and I’ve come to the conclusion that there’s GOT to be a better way.

I was hoping somebody out there might have had a similar experience and could offer some advice (or at the very least, swap cute anecdotal cat stories :slight_smile:

But anyway, here’s the lowdown:

He doesn’t seem to particularly MIND being brushed, he’s usually purring when the brush is touching his fur, it’s just that he refuses to sit still for longer than 3 seconds to let me do it. Which means I have to chase him down, get in a few quick swipes of the brush, and then repeat as necessary until I’m satisfied with the result.

I’m not being rough with the brush or anything, and like I said, he doesn’t seem to particularly mind the act of being brushed. But I can’t seem to trick him into sitting still for it. He will quite happily sit on my lap and purr for hours on end if I let him, but as soon as a brush enters the equation, it’s like the new york freakin’ marathon over here. I’ve thought about putting a few treats on my lap, but by my rough estimates, it takes him approximately 0.05 seconds to eat one, and I think he gets too many already, and I can’t brush that fast.

Does anybody have any helpful hints they care to share?

Kitty valium is the only way I know to make a cat do something he doesn’t want to do. :wink:
Barring that, it’s probably too late. you got to get a cat used to being handled while they’re still very young.
What’s his opinion of flea ointment? :smiley:

I got him when he was already a year old, so that’s hardly very young. But he LOVES being picked up, petted, rubbed, patted, massaged, etc. And he trusts me completely, I’ve actually had to force him to take kitty valium before after he was sick ( :frowning: - but he’s all better now, thankfully) - and I wouldn’t say he ENJOYED the experience, but he let me do it and was up on my lap purring 2 seconds later.

He’s also not thrilled about flea ointment, but he lets me do that too, if grudgingly - he only seems to have problems if there’s a brush involved.

If he lets you do all that, he’s probably had a bad experience with a brush. You can get these brushes that fit on the inside of your fingers, some with a loop handle that goes around the fingers.
Otherwise, you might want to just forgoe the brushing, and use those wipes.
I was kidding about the valium. I hate to give a cat that stuff.

My three cats hate being brushed, but I can usually sucker them into it when they’re in lovey-dovey mode.

I’d say just stick with it, but don’t chase him down because that’s just creating a game of it. Perhaps when he’s in your lap, start with a few brushes, then put the brush aside before he gets wound up. If you can get that far, of course.

Have you tried other types of brushes? There are so many kinds. Maybe experiment with a few and see if he ignores a different type?

There’s nothing more fun then trying to brush an unwilling cat. At least your guy doesn’t hunker down and start growling as soon as you bring them out, like my oldest. :slight_smile:

What about a grooming glove? Presumably if he likes sitting in your lap, he also likes to be petted. :wink:

That’s a durned good idea - thanks Kaio! Maybe I can fool him into thinking he isn’t being brushed. He LOVES to be petted. As I’m typing this he’s aggressively ramming his head into my hands in an attempt to coerce me into petting him. (It makes it REALLY hard to type!)

The only thing about grooming gloves is that the hair tends to fly all over unless it’s slightly damp. (It caused a blizzard of hair with my dog.) Will you cat let you giver him a quick wipe with a damp washcloth first?

Take him into the bathroom and shut the door. That’s what I do with my cats.

Misty and Noel like being brushed-however, Misty has lots of long, fine hair that you have to comb to get the knots out and she hates that. She’ll sit there and growl and squeal and sometimes we just end up cutting out the knots. But it takes two of us to do it.

Noel’s coat is short, but so thick a brush or a regular comb just slides over the top. We have to use one of those flea combs. And she hates it.

Buffy won’t sit still enough for you to brush her-she likes it, but she also likes chewing on the ends of the brush.

My cat would attack any brush or grooming glove that took a swipe at her, but she loves to be raked. The rake is one of those steel combs with the teeth of alternating lengths in it. If I get the rake out and just tap it against a table or something, she’ll come over and practically demand it. And she’ll stand there are purr as long as I’m not yanking on a knot or bunch of matted undercoat.

She will, if the rake is near her face, try to bite it, but she won’t go for the all-claws-and-teeth attack she’d use on a glove (ouch!).

My dog, on the other hand, hates to be raked. Or brushed. Or groomed in any manner. The first time we took him to our vet’s groomer because we’d lost all hope, they told us it took three people to hold him to trim his nails. He only weighs 50 pounds. They won’t groom him anymore unless the vet sedates him first.

I’ve had several cats and they all loved the grooming glove, even though they hated being brushed. I wholeheartedly recommend trying the glove.

The only problem with the glove is that it doesn’t go very deep. It’s good for removing loose hair (so that it doesn’t end up all over the furniture) but it’s useless for freeing up knots because the nubs are too soft.

My last cat had very long hair. Keeping him free of knots was a full-time job. In the end I relented and got him a “lion trim” once a year (in early summer).

Make sure that you have a set time each day in which to groom the cat. I’d be inclined to start yours off just before you give him his tea. That way, once the grooming is over, he’ll have something nice to look forward to :smiley:

I’d also reinforce the suggestion of an actual steel toothed comb, as opposed to a brush or glove, but, be very gentle as Dave said, raking one of those through a tangle is not pleasant. Expect to loose digits if this happens.

Rather than attempt to groom him on your lap, to start with, hunker down on the floor next to his feeding dishes. He knows this place is “safe.” Run your hand over his coat - you’ll be able to get a good idea of where the tangles and knots are, and initially, you can avoid those areas, or if he’ll let you, cut them off. Use special curved bladed scissors for this: there is less likelihood of injury to the cat.

Show him the comb, but don’t put it up to his face. If he’s interested in it, he’ll raise his nose and look at it, perhaps even try to scent it. Don’t shove it in his face, so to speak - it can seem threatening.

Move your hand to the back of him - aim for the back of his head and his shoulders, and gently run the comb over that small area. What you’ll gradually do is start to weaken his fear and resistance
to grooming. The first time you do it, don’t expect miracles: if you can maintain it for one minute, you’re both doing great!

If he wiggles and squirms alot so that it seems impossible, you need to make like his mother: in one hand, get hold of the scruff of his neck: he should quieten down. With your other hand, quickly put the comb through an area you can reach, but bear in mind that if you run a comb along the backbone, there isn’t a great deal of fat there and it will feel to him, as if you are combing pure bone. Talk to him about it (it’s OK, cat people are nuts ;)) Make the first few times you groom him, very short.

Reassure him, tell him he’s gorgeous if you have to, heh, then release him and feed him.

It is possible to groom hissing, spitting furballs, (which yours certainly doesn’t sound) but it does need patience.

What’s his name by the way?

Thanks for the suggestions!

The brush I’m currently using is actually of the steel-toothed variety. And I’ve heard a lot of people discuss knots/tangles/etc. This particular guy has pretty short hair, so tangles and knots aren’t really a problem. It’s just that when it gets to sheddin’ season (and the weather’s starting to get warmer, so it’s getting worse), I’ll pet him and come up with a handful of loose hair. So a brush is very useful for getting all of that stuff out.

Oh, his name is “Kit”, by the way. And I can’t recall a single time he’s ever hissed at me, no matter what I’ve been doing. He had several urinary tract infections (he finally had to get an operation - hence the kitty valium) which involved having to insert cathoders in places where I imagine it would not feel very pleasant, and I’ve had to force pills down his throat, rip things out of his mouth, pin him down so doctors could look at him, etc. And the reaction was pretty much the same as brushing - he didn’t seem to love the experience, but he knew I wasn’t going to intentionally cause him any harm, so he never tried to kill me. In each case he’s been up in my face purring and trying to get me to pet him mere seconds afterwards.

The problem isn’t really that he is particularly fearful of the brush (that I can tell), it’s just that he doesn’t seem to realize that I need him to stay STILL while I’m brushing him. I think he just gets bored with it really fast and decides it would be more fun to trot off and sleep somewhere or have me pet him. Which is why the glove sounded like a good idea, I figure that way maybe he’ll think I’m really just petting him.

And yet again, as I’m typing this, he is assaulting my hands with vigor, which is a sign that I’m done writing this message and that I need to pet him again. :slight_smile:

I’ve always been partial to the little slicker brushes, especially the ones with the plastic ball-tipped teeth (the wire ones can scratch a short-hair). I’ve had best luck just keeping the brush handy at the desk or other favorite cuddling spot. When kitty comes for petting and scratching, casually reach over (keep petting with the other hand, or you’ll get bitch-slapped at our house) and get the brush.

Ours seem to go crazy for having their butts scratched with the brush. I also have good luck with using one hand to scratch the butt and the other to brush areas where I normally pet.

When the cat gets tired of it, put the brush away and let the issue drop. Don’t chase the cat; that will just turn it into a power struggle.

Or you can use a vacuum cleaner. That should work. Yeah, a vacuum.

If loose hair is a concern, you might consider changing Kit’s diet. When I was feeding grocery store food, I had to vacuum everyday, now that they are on Felidae they don’t shed nearly as much and their coats look much better.

Both of my cats are getting (what I’ve been led to beleive) is good food - Max Cat. So I don’t THINK diet is a problem. I think Max Cat might make a food formulated specifically to control shedding/hairballs, but I’ve currently got both my guys on the ‘Lite’ variety since we were stuck somewhere for a while last year where it was hard for them to go outside terribly often, and they really put on some pounds. And then there’s my other cat, Zippy, who eats like a bird whilst he’s here, but has a bad habit of going to our neighbor’s houses and looking cute and sad until they feed him… when we were in California, I discovered when I moved that he had been doing this at no less than 5 other people’s apartments… but I digress, that’s another story entirely :slight_smile:

Nutro is a premium food. Max Cat is Nutro’s low-end offering. Its MUCH better than grocery store stuff. I feed mostly Felidae (ultra-premium) because I can get it for less $ than any of the other premium and ultra-premium foods. I wasn’t trying to convert you to my brand, just to a premium brand if you weren’t already feeding one.

Have you tried any of those wall mounted brushes? There are some commercial ones available, or you could get a stiff brush and nail it up. We cut a long broom head in half and nailed the pieces to the wall longways. A couple of our cats really like to rub on it and leave hair.

One of our cats figured out that it was easier to steal than beg. He was also an extortionist “if you don’t hand over some of that bbq, I’ll have to eat your knees”. It didn’t matter what my neighbors were eating, my cat got a hamburger. Rare.