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Why the experts say a silicone cat grooming brush is the best kind for your pet

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Why the experts say a silicone cat grooming brush is the best kind for your pet

When you google “cat grooming brush" and “cat brushes” online, odds are your results will return hundreds of different brushes from the big named websites. In fact, they might even be bold enough to share their honest lists of the very best brushes around. Sound familiar?

Related Post: Best Cat Brushes and Worst Cat Brushes - Ultimate Guide

Brushing the Tail of a Cat

Their secret is that these sites typically don’t take into consideration the specific needs of your pet – because your pet is not their pet. Every pet is different. And when it comes to the care and health of your pet, using the right cat brush or dog brush actually matters more than you think.

Did you know that using the wrong brush on your pet might actually increase how much they shed?

And check this out: 2 of the top 5 best selling brushes on Amazon are known to cause health issues, increase shedding, cause fur loss or skin damage just by using them every day! Think about that. The top selling brushes are actually worse for your pet than if you didn’t bother brushing them at all.

So how do you know if the brush you have is damaging your pet's skin or increasing their shedding? 

We’ve talked with veterinarians and professional groomers and determined that for everyday brushing, the benefits of using a silicone brush far outweigh the risks of brushes that are metal, wired, or plastic. This is because metal brushes can scratch, claw, pull or chop out hair and with prolonged use actually do more harm than good. We even learned that the shape and pattern of bristles play a role in the comfort and effects on cat fur and the brush’s effectiveness and ability to groom through the hair. Another interesting thing we learned is that no professional groomer or vet that we asked would recommend a brush that mists or uses water to get the fur out because of the health risks associated with them.

That’s a lot to unpack. With so many potential long term issues caused by incorrect brushes and incorrect use, you may wonder why they even exist.

Every dog and cat needs brushing so let’s dive deeper into why the common brushes we see may not be the best to use as your everyday pet brush.

Is there such a thing as the perfect cat brush?

Bailey Cat Brush for Deshedding Cats
 

Nothing is perfect when it comes to every pet and what they may like, but there are products that consider all the important factors that a pet needs for everyday grooming. When looking at the needs of pets there’s many things to take into consideration specific to the pet you have.

The differences in each pet plays an important role in determining which type of brush will be most suitable for your cat or dog. One thing to know is that all cats and dogs have sensitive skin, but not all cats and dogs have the same types of fur. The texture, length, undercoat and thickness have an impact on the effectiveness that a brush will have.

Homeowners vs Professional Groomers

It’s also important to know that the tools a professional groomer may use on a pet will be, in most cases, quite different from the daily brush you’ll be wanting to use at home. Professional grade isn’t always the best option if you aren’t a professional.

We have however encountered professional groomers that prefer to use silicone brushes like Talia from Scamps Trim & Social Grooming. She says:

The dogs and, more importantly, the owners at Scamps are loving the Pawmelo brushes! When people see how well it works on loose undercoat fur, the brushes sell themselves! I'm also so impressed with the durability. They are the third brand of silicone brushes I've tried, and they are lasting much much better! My two Pawmelo brushes get used 4 - 10 times a day (!!) and they are still nice and pointy after 2 months! Thanks for creating such a great grooming tool! 

Talia at Scamps Pet Grooming and Services
 

Generally, professional tools are made to be used on one pet only once in a while. Think about how often you visit a groomer. These brushes are usually metal because they allow them to aggressively get out mats, knots and remove substantial amounts of fur for pets that have missed their daily brushings at home. They are also used often on different pets multiple times a day so they are made to be stronger and more durable. Because of this they’re actually not the type of brush you’d want to use daily on your pet at home.

The unique traits of a high quality silicone brush

Bendy Silicone Brush for Pets
 

When asked about the safest option and most effective, the Veterinarians and Groomers all recommended the same material. “If a high quality silicone brush exists, own one”, they said. A silicone brush has all the same benefits of a professional grooming tool without the potential risks when brushing daily.

Here’s what they liked about a well designed silicone cat brush:

  • Safety - When the silicone is set to the perfect consistency, the bristles of that silicone pet brush are flexible and soft. This means they will bend against your pet's skin and never scrape or put pressure against the skin. This allows animals to still be groomed safely even after they’ve had medical procedures, cuts or any medical conditions that would normally make them more sensitive to being brushed or even touched. Overall, it’s safer and calms your pet better than any metal comb or brush would.
  • Glides through fur - Compared to rubber gloves or materials with grip and claws, silicone glides through the fur without pulling on the roots of their fur. Silicone does have texture though and it’s just perfect for gripping only the loose and dead hair while leaving the healthy hair alone. Over time with daily use this creates a healthier coat that sheds less. Combined with the right diet it can go a long way to noticeably reduce the shedding in your pets.
    Purrfectly Cuddly Cats Love their Bailey Brush
     
  • Longevity - A high quality silicone lasts a very long time, typically if it’s kitchen grade silicone it can last over three times longer than plastic or rubber brushes. With everyday grooming for one pet a silicone brush can last 3 years, whereas a rubber brush or plastic brush may break or crumble down in less than 6 months with daily use.
  • Sanitary - One thing veterinarians love about silicone is that it’s easy to clean and can be sanitized in hot water. If it’s kitchen-grade it can also be popped in the dishwasher at home to give it a good thorough cleaning. Silicone is also naturally resistant to mold, which is why it’s used on kitchen tools. This means it is less likely to harbor bacteria, mold or any contagions that would otherwise be transferred to the coat of your pet when brushing. Mold can be a dangerous thing for your pet, here’s another article to learn more about the risks of mold with your pet.
     
    Sanitize your cat and dog brush
     
  • Durability - Some pets have thick long fur, and some pets have thick firm undercoats. What most people don’t know is you don’t need a metal claw scraping brush to get down to the bottom and stimulate their skin and stir up the undercoat, all you need is a longer bristled silicone brush to do the trick. If it’s high quality, it’ll hold up to all different kinds of furs, without any of the risks.

Some things a silicone cat grooming tool can’t do

Typically a silicone brush may come with long bristles or short bristles. Many designs are different which could affect how they work, and while some say they are silicone they might in fact be lower quality rubber in order to provide a more affordable alternative.

There’s only one high quality patented silicone brush made to get the fur out fast, that’s the Bailey Brush. The Bailey Brush is a cult favorite among cat and dog owners and has been growing in popularity by word of mouth from thousands of happy owners. It’s become a highly recommended staple in every pet lover's home.

Lots of Fur with the Bailey Brush
It’s a wonderful brush but there are some things it can’t do, so it’s worth knowing the limitations of the Bailey Brush or any silicone brush before purchasing one.
  • Cannot remove mats - If you have skipped brushing your cat for a week or two you may find your cat has mats. A silicone brush might pull through some of their mats, but typically a dematting tool will be needed. If there are severe mats, it’s best to get to a groomer PDQ (Pretty darn quick!) as tight mats can be painful for your pet. The best way to get rid of mats is to prevent them in the first place and stick to a regular brushing routine each day.
  • Chop out or cut out hair - Silicone brushes have no metal or blades in them so they can’t replace a brush like a furminator or any imitation furminator brush. That said, typically these types of brushes are best left to the professionals as improper use can cause bald spots, fur loss, and over time increase shedding in your pet. Metal rakes are typically used for heavy shedding seasons on pets that have been neglected and need a visit with a groomer.
  • Be loved by all cats - Not all cats like how a silicone brush feels at first. 2 out of 500 cats might be the number if we were to take a good guess! If you’ve tried a silicone brush on your head you might find the stimulation to the nerves in the skin sends shivers down your spine. Now that’s a weird sensation!

    And if your pet is used to other tools and is more familiar with the hard feeling of being scratched, scraped and pulled, well they may not like a tingly massage at first. What we can say with assurance is that a high quality silicone brush like the Bailey Brush may not be something it’s used to–but compared to other textures and materials, it’s recommended to stick with it for the sake of your pet. After time, it’ll benefit your cat’s skin and fur greatly, as well as improve their behavior with daily brushing routines.

Dog and cat owners do ask some frequent questions about silicone brushes and cat brushing, here’s the most common questions we get asked about pet grooming:

What kind of brush should I groom my cat with?

We like to think that every cat deserves a Bailey Brush. But if you don’t love the Bailey Brush the vets and groomers recommend having a few tools for grooming your cat. For daily brushing it’s recommended to have a silicone brush that’s palm sized. This would be used for dry bushing, never use water. The next tool would be to have a metal fur rake (use this only when necessary, not every day). The last tool is a slicker brush, not all fur coats need a slicker brush, but if your cat has fine hair a gentle once over with a slicker brush will leave their coat shiny and slick!

What type of brush is best for cats?

It depends. For professionals, more are opting to start with a silicone Bailey Brush to calm the pet and get all the loose fur out. For home use, a silicone cat brush or a soft bristle brush (if it can be used gently) are the best type of brushes for cats. The one thing to remember is, just because a brush gets fur out, it might be doing more harm than good if it’s removing healthy hair or needing water to be more effective. The best brushes are made to get the fur out safely, without water, and can be used every day.

What is the best brush to pick up cat hair?

Brushes with uniquely shaped bristles can pick up and hold hair together. When there’s enough hair in the brush it can generally just be pulled off in one clump all at once. If you find that you are getting flyaways with hair it just means you haven’t brushed long enough. Another great property of silicone is it’s magnetic static traits, it can attract hair and keep it in the brush better so it can all stick together neatly.

Do cats even like grooming brushes?

Not all cats like grooming brushes at first, most cats do, but for the picky cats it may take some getting used to. All cat professionals agree though that the benefits of grooming brushes greatly outweigh the risks of choosing to not brush your cat. Reducing hairballs are just one of the health benefits of grooming!

What do professional groomers use to trim cats?

Professional groomers all have their favorite tools. We’re happy to say that the Bailey Brush is a part of many professionals' toolkits. They also typically have electric trimmers with safety attachments and sometimes a set of round tipped safety scissors.

Cat Grooming Tools and Toolkit
 

How to remove a cat’s undercoat?

A professional groomer may use the wide to narrow method. With a metal fur rake they’ll start with the wide toothed rake and scrape in the direction of the fur growth. After many passes they will work their way down to the more narrow fur rake. This can be quite the physical feat, and also a stressful experience for a dog. A silicone brush like the Bailey Brush can only do so much with it’s flexible bristles for aggressively thick undercoats so be sure to ask your groomer about their recommendations.

Well there you have it! All the expert facts and tips about silicone and why it's recommended as the best kind of grooming tool for your pet, dog or cat! Happy Grooming!

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