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How to Brush Your Long-Haired Cat for a Healthy Coat

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How to Brush Your Long-Haired Cat for a Healthy Coat

If you’ve got a long-haired cat and are curious how to properly brush your cat then this is the article for you! In this article we’ll talk about the brushes you should use, the techniques you’ll need and the daily routine you’ll create to groom your long-haired cat and keep them happy, healthy, and furball-free!

Why you should brush cats with long hair every day

Why you should brush cats with long hair every day

Long-haired cats need a daily brush session. Cats like Persians, Maine Coons, and Ragdolls especially require regular grooming to prevent mats, tangles, and hairballs. But it doesn’t stop with just those breeds, every long haired cat should be brushed every day. 

It’s a myth that all cats self-groom and can “do it on their own”. You will need to brush your cat often to help reduce their hairballs and mats. Brushing your long-haired cat not only helps maintain their coat's health and keeps them looking great, but it also improves their health and builds the bond between the two of you.

Step 1: Choose the Right Brush

Selecting the appropriate grooming tools are essential for brushing a long-haired cat. Depending on how thick their coat, you may need an arsenal of equipment when brushing long hair cats. You may need a high quality slicker brush (for smoothing the coat last), a high quality metal comb with fine teeth to effectively remove loose fur and detangle mats (once a week), and a soft long toothed brush like the Bailey Brush for everyday grooming. Sometimes, with daily brushing, a bailey brush might be all you need, but if you’ve missed a few days of grooming you might need some extra professional tools.

Step 2: Prepare Your Cat

Before beginning the grooming session you’ll have to ensure your cat is calm and comfortable. Sometimes cats don’t like to be groomed at first, so you’ll need to train your cat into understanding that grooming is a pleasurable experience that comes with some rewards! Offer treats to create a positive association with grooming. Place your cat on a stable surface, such as a grooming table or your lap, and gently pet and talk to them to reassure them. If you are not comfortable holding your cat then you should first practice to hold and cradle your cat in order for you and your cat to get used to being held.

Step 3: Detangle Mats and Knots

First start by using your fingers or a bailey brush to gently detangle and massage your cat. Once they are used to this switch to a metal comb to gently detangle any mats or knots in your cat's fur. If these are very tough to remove then apply some pet safe fur oil to help dissolve, clean and lubricate the hair to help the brush slide through. Take your time and work gradually, being careful not to pull or tug on the hair, as this can cause discomfort.

Step 4: Brush the Coat

Use the bailey brush and work at the fur one section at a time. If you don’t have a bailey brush yet, you’ll need a long toothed brush to get down to the undercoat without hurting the skin. This is why a soft silicone tipped brush or a brush with round tips is recommended by groomers. A cat’s skin is very sensitive so be gentle.

Using a slicker brush or metal comb after must be done very gently. Begin brushing your cat's coat in small sections, working from the head to the tail. Brush in the direction of hair growth, applying gentle pressure to remove loose fur. This action works well at distributing natural oils throughout the fur. Use long, smooth strokes, moving from the roots to the tips of the hair. If you encounter resistance or mats, hold the base of the hair close to the skin to prevent pulling and upsetting your cat.

If the fur has been neglected for too long and the mats are impossible to remove you may need to remove them using safety scissors. Please be careful. If you are uncomfortable at all in doing this, it’s best to take your cat to a professional.

Step 5: Address Problem Areas

Focus on problem areas, such as areas with mats or tangles, and use a dematting tool. Dematting tools have sharp edges and chop and cut out the hair. This tool should be used sparingly and not every day. Typically these can be used once a month without too much hair loss, but they are not recommended for anyone unless you are a professional groomer.

Be patient and take breaks if your cat becomes restless or uncomfortable. For sensitive areas like the face and belly, use a softer brush like the bailey brush.

Step 6: Check for Signs of Irritation

Throughout the grooming session, monitor your cat's skin for any signs of irritation, redness, or inflammation. Pay attention to your cat's body language and vocalizations, as these may indicate discomfort or distress. If you notice any abnormalities, discontinue grooming and consult with a veterinarian.

Step 7: Reward and Reassure

After completing the grooming session, reward your cat with treats, praise or a favorite toy to reinforce positive behavior. We like giving our cat treats before and after so she’s happy all the way through, although, we did start early with the bailey brush so she’s addicted to being brushed! 

If they haven’t been brushed often then it takes awhile to build a routine so it should not only be done every day but also do it around the same time every day to build up their familiarity with the process. Building a routine can take a few weeks so don’t get discouraged, stick with it!

Step 8: Maintain a Regular Grooming Schedule

To prevent mats and tangles from forming, establish a consistent grooming schedule for your long-haired cat. Cats should be brushed everyday, and sometimes twice a day during the heavier shedding seasons.

For more grooming tips and advice, consult with a veterinarian or professional groomer and they’ll tell you their personal preferences when caring for long-haired cats.

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