5 Reasons Why Long-Haired Cats Don’t Like To Be Brushed

Cats with long hair can be difficult to brush. They may seem like they don’t want to be bothered, but brushing long-haired cats is very important for their long-term health. 

Long hair traps dirt and debris that could cause skin infections or other problems if left unchecked. Regular brushing also helps distribute the natural oils in a cat’s skin and coat, which keeps them looking shiny and healthy – not greasy! 

This article will show you why long-haired cats need regular brushing, why some of them don’t like being brushed, and how you can make it easier on both of you.

There are many reasons some long-haired cats don’t like to be brushed. Some long-haired cats just don’t enjoy the sensation of being groomed, while others may have sensitive skin and find brushing irritating. 

There’s also the fact that long-haired cat breeds tend to shed more than short-coated breeds, hence, brushing them can get very messy if not done carefully.

Cute Reptiles as Pets
Cute Reptiles as Pets

5 Causes Long-Haired Cats Don’t Like To Be Brushed

Most of the time, long-haired cats that hate being groomed are either scared of being groomed, have had a terrible experience with grooming in the past, don’t just enjoy being handled in general, or have an extremely matted coat that causes pain even when it’s gently teased with a comb. For these reasons, they’ll not want to be groomed.

Owning a pet cat is like having a child. While some cats enjoy grooming, others dread it with passion and you may not always be that lucky to have an easy-going pet. 

So, if your pet long-haired cat hates being groomed and does everything possible to avoid it, what should you do? Before we get into that, let’s discuss why your pet hates grooming.

Long-Haired Cats Don't Like To Be Brushed
Imagine trying to brush your long-haired cat while in this position, your cat will likely feel scared and fight back

Wrong/Inappropriate Brush Types

Using the wrong brush type to comb or brush your long-haired cat is one of the many reasons long-haired cats don’t like to be brushed. 

A too-long comb or brush is going to get to your cat’s skin and this will hurt it, hence making the brushing session an awful experience for the cat. 

Short-haired cats are likely to enjoy brushing with flea combs, but your long-haired cat needs a set of different brush types and combs, and these should be used at different stages of grooming. More information on this is in subsequent chapters.

Last update on 2021-11-17 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Having A Very Matted Coat That Causes Pain 

Ideally, long-haired cats have fur that measures between 1.5 to 5 inches long and this comes in different patterns and patterns depending on the cat breed. There are some cat breeds that have soft furry long hair and others matted coats. 

Cats with matted coats (that is the type of coat that is likely to tangle and look messy) are most likely to experience severe pain during brushing, especially if the person brushing isn’t doing it appropriately. 

Regardless, this doesn’t mean that long-haired cats with matted coats shouldn’t be brushed. The trick here is for you to know what type of coat your cat has and how best to brush it. We’ll explain this in detail later.


If the last time you approached me with a set of brushes I sustained injuries on my skin, I don’t need to be advised to stay away from you. Your cat is resisting brushing because it feels scared of possible harm from the brush. 

This is most likely to happen if your cat has had a bad experience before when brushed/groomed. What should you do then? Read on to find out in our next chapter.

Maybe You Did Brush The Wrong Way

It can also be that you’re brushing your long-haired cat the wrong way. You may ask, what I’m I not doing right? You’re brushing your cat the wrong way if you’re brushing against the direction of the hair. 

Every strand of hair has its unique pattern and direction. Hence, when you brush against this direction, it’s going to pull more and will cause pain. However, when using the blower, it’s normal to blow against the coat so that some loose hair and dirt can be removed. Just don’t brush against the coat, always brush with the coat. 

You’re also not brushing your cat the right way if you try to remove the matted hair yourself. This is certainly going to hurt the cat and will make the brushing an awful experience.

Not Enjoying Being Brushed In General

Just like every individual human being is different from one another, so are cats also different. My cat enjoys brushing and doesn’t seem to feel pain, but yours may be different. 

In this case, your cat doesn’t just enjoy being brushed. Nonetheless, you’ll have to devise a means to brush your long-haired cat because it’s necessary for its health.

4 Effective Ways To Brush An Unwilling Cat

Coming from a grooming expert, Anita Kelsey, about 95% of cats don’t seem to cause an issue whilst being groomed. However, as mentioned earlier, you might not be so lucky to have such cats. Therefore, if you have trouble with trying to groom an unwilling cat, then stick around because this section will give you all the advice you’ll need.  

Build A Much Positive Feeling Between The Brush And Your Cats

According to Kelsey, cats have good memories and can associate firm grooming with a negative experience. Hence, if a cat has had such a negative experience in the past, when the groomer or the owner approaches it with a comb in hand, it (the cat) is likely to respond angrily and show its unwillingness to be brushed.

In this case, what you need to do is to build a positive feeling between your cat and the brush. This is how you achieve that:

1. Start with selecting the right grooming tools (brushes and combs) for your cat. Some cats would prefer soft bristle brushes, while others would like pin brushes.  Experiment with a couple of different brush types and products so you can find out which one your cat likes the most and stick to it.

 2. Let your cat smell and rub its body against the brush to help it get used to the feel of the brush. This will help build up their confidence and make brushing time less frightening.

 3. Begin by gently brushing your cat’s back, as this is usually where they enjoy the most. While brushing, do not be too hard on your cat, allow it to move a bit freely. However, if your cat shows signs of discomfort or aggression, you can pause and continue when it’s calm or relaxed.

brushing a long-haired cat
The best place to begin brushing your cat is from the back while making sure the cat is relaxed on a smooth flat surface

 4. If your cat gives you this impression that it is comfortable, proceed to brush the more tender areas, such as the stomach, head, and legs.

 5. Even the less emotional animals such as lizards can tell when you’re praising them for good behavior. Similarly, your cats will. Hence, try to give your cat lots of praise to encourage it while brushing. This will help make the experience positive and easy on you both.

 6. Once you’re done with brushing your cat, ensure you give it some time to rest. Avoid handling after grooming.

brushing a cat's stomach
To have a realistic result, sit your cat down when brushing the stomach. This position will help make the cat relax.

Helping Your Long-Haired Cat To Relax During Grooming

Some long-haired cat keepers put their cats in between their legs with one hand placed under the cat’s chin when grooming to restrict the cat’s movement. This is one thing you shouldn’t do to your already frantic cat. 

Allow your cat to move about freely or even stop if the cat walks away. While you can create a regular schedule of short grooming sessions, ensure to concentrate on one area at a time, and brush with the grain of the hair (that is, do not brush against the hair). 

One other way to help make your cat feel relaxed before grooming is to start brushing slowly and gently. As your cat gets used to being brushed, you can gradually progress to more sensitive areas, like the stomach.

Make Sure You Have Right Tools With Long-Haired Cat

The importance of using the right tools (brushes and combs) cannot be overemphasized. Using the wrong brush type with your cat can cause injury and pain, and you should endeavor to avoid that. 

For your combs, use undercoat combs and a slicker brush. The undercoat comb has both long and short teeth. While combing the long teeth will get down to your cat’s skin while the short teeth help to pull out the undercoat. 

As mentioned earlier, experiment with a couple of different brushes on your cat and work with whichever it prefers. For a complete list of different brush types and combs check this article “Best Long Haired Cat Brushes”.

You Need To Learn How To Properly Brush A Long-Haired Cat

Some owners who find it challenging to brush their long-haired cats resort to using sedatives. The truth is that sedating your cat every time it needs to be combed isn’t a realistic idea. 

You have to by any means understand your cat and learn how to properly brush him. As mentioned earlier, this may require that you groom your cat in bits over a few days till he’s completely brushed. 

However, in situations where you don’t have any idea how to groom or brush a long-haired cat, then you’ll need to be trained in it. You can get this done by watching your vet or any skilled person brush the cat. 

Also, useful video tutorials can be accessed via YouTube.

How to properly brush your long-haired cat [source: PureBredCatRescue]

Brushing Your Long-Haired Cat In 4 Alternatives Ways

As a keeper with an unwilling or frantic cat, if you’ve tried the steps discussed above and your cat still displays an unwillingness to be brushed, here are alternative ways you can keep it groomed, clean, and healthy.

Using A Grooming Mitt 

The technology and trick behind grooming mitts is a game-changer, especially for long-haired cat keepers whose cats don’t like to be brushed. This tool is a hand glove but with bristles that brush into your cat’s fur and undercoat while giving the cat the sensation that it is being petted.

Last update on 2021-11-17 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Using A Grooming Spray

Using a grooming spray helps to get rid of any loose hairs. For any spray brand that you choose, spray onto your cat’s coat from about one foot away from the pet, and then using your grooming mitt, brush through.

Last update on 2021-11-17 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Use Shed Control Cloths

As the name implies, these are clothes you put on your long-haired cat to help manage its shedding, keep it clean, dirt-free and healthy. 

These types of shed control are thicker than wipes and the thicker the cloth is, the more effective it is in grooming your cat’s coat. There are lots of brands out there with their strengths. The best I’ve used include Furminator shed control.

Last update on 2021-11-17 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Using A rubber Cat-Grooming Brush

These types of brushes are very soft and gentle on your cat’s skin and coat.


Do cats need to be brushed?

Yes, all cat breeds both short-haired and long-haired need brushing and grooming for their health. Although cats can groom themselves, it is not advisable that because of that you left your pet without grooming. Regular grooming is still needed to remove dirt, debris, and grease and also as a time to bond with your cat and get it used to handling.

Why does my cat hiss at me when I brush her?

When your cat hisses at you when you brush her, she’s likely feeling pain from the brushing. This will likely happen if you’re brushing her belly fur while her back is on the desk. What you should do now is to brush her a little bit at a time. This means that you might just have to keep taking breaks from it.

Is it bad to hiss back at your cat?

It’s not entirely bad to hiss back at your cat. He did something wrong, you reprimand him and he hissed at you. Yeah! You can hiss back to tell him that you haven’t changed your stand about what he did. However, this shouldn’t be a regular occurrence because you may hiss back at your cat on a day he wasn’t just feeling cool and he may not take it kindly. 

In another instance, if you were brushing your cat and he hisses, it simply means that he’s not enjoying the brushing and in this case do not hiss back at your cat. You should only hiss if you’re trying to disapprove of a certain behavior you’re not comfortable with.

Last Sentences

Shedding is how animals replenish their coat and keep it in good condition. Cats and dogs all shed to remove dead fur and debris or grease from their bodies. But the interesting thing is that cats can groom themselves and will eventually vomit out some hairs that they swallowed while grooming themselves. 

Even with this, you still need to brush your long-haired cat yourself to ensure it’s clean. While some cats find brushing to be fun, others don’t make it an easy task on their keepers. As we’ve analyzed in this article, understanding your cat and knowing what works for it is the key.