Cats are renowned for their self-preening capabilities, so surely they don’t need us stepping in—brush in hand—to help them out? On the contrary, brushing your cat can be very beneficial for both their appearance and overall health. Of course, not every cat is going to take to brushing, but many do grow to love the feeling and appreciate the extra time with you.
Let’s explore further and find out why brushing is great for cats as well as developing your bond with them.
The 6 Benefits of Brushing Your Cat
1. Brushing Prevents Matting
If your cat is long-haired, they may need a little more brushing than short-haired cats to keep their luscious mane under control. Long-haired cats are prone to developing mats and clumps in their fur, which, if not kept under control, can end up having to be shaved off.
If you try to brush out matted fur, it can be quite uncomfortable and even painful for your cat. The best way to prevent or at least reduce matting and ward off future issues is to brush your long-haired cat daily.
2. Brushing Helps Remove Dandruff
Brushing is a great way to help get rid of dandruff, dead hair, dirt, and grease from your cat’s skin. It also spreads healthy oils through the fur to help keep it shiny and in good condition. It’s pretty common to see a few flakes of dandruff coming off your cat when you brush them, but if your cat’s skin is persistently flaky or itchy, check it out with a vet.
3. Brushing Is Good for Circulation
Brushing stimulates your cat’s circulatory system, which keeps the blood flowing to vital organs. Better circulation also stimulates new hair growth and keeps a cat’s skin and coat shiny and healthy.
4. Brushing Minimizes Shedding
Another benefit to regularly brushing your cat is that it can help prevent shedding. If you’re fed up with finding fluffy tumbleweeds floating around your living room floor, it might be time to start scheduling regular brushing sessions. A good brush can catch a great deal of dead hair, letting you dispose of it without it ending up all over your house and furniture.
5. Brushing Can Reduce Hairballs
Because brushing helps to minimize shedding, this, in turn, means fewer hairballs. Hairballs are formed when cats groom themselves and hair sticks to their tongues. They then swallow the hair and it ends up forming a ball in the digestive tract. Usually, cats just throw up hairballs and that’s the end of the matter—as awful as it looks when a cat is retching, hairballs are just part and parcel of being a cat.
Only when intestinal blockages occur as a result of hair buildup do hairballs become a serious matter. If your cat is retching a lot but no hairballs come up or is showing other symptoms like lethargy and appetite loss, this may signal an intestinal blockage and speedy veterinary intervention is necessary.
6. Brushing Is Enjoyable for Cats
Cat brushes are designed to mimic the rough feeling of papillae on a cat’s tongue. When they’re brushed by you, it may feel similar to when another cat grooms them. Many cats enjoy being brushed simply because it feels nice and may even be comforting to them. This, in turn, helps you to develop a bond with your cat as they begin to associate you with pleasant feelings.
How Often Should I Brush My Cat?
It’s best to brush medium and long-haired cats once or twice a day to keep those pesky mats and clumps at bay. Short-haired cats require less brushing—a good brush once or twice per week should be enough.
To bring it all in, most cats like being brushed but they all need it—even short-haired cats—to help keep their coats and skin as healthy as possible. Brushing also helps keep your cat’s overall health in check by reducing shedding and the development of hairballs and improving circulation. Overall, the benefits of brushing your cat can’t be understated!
Featured Image Credit: ANURAK PONGPATIMET, Shutterstock