Ways & How

How to Groom a Cat Without Getting Scratched

How to Groom a Cat Without Getting Scratched

Cats are naturally fastidious creatures. They like being clean, and they can contentedly spend hours just licking themselves all over. While most short-haired varieties can manage grooming by themselves, their longer-haired counterparts need some extra help managing their fur, or else they end up ingesting all that hair and getting huge hair balls stuck in their tummy. Without regular brushing, medium- and long-haired cats end up shedding all over your house. As dirt and oils get trapped, their fur becomes tangled, matted, and smelly—definitely not a pretty picture. Plus, poorly groomed cats are also more prone to infections. Most cats enjoy grooming, but some are not fond of the process; they will scratch, struggle, and run away at the first sight of a brush. If your kitty belongs to the latter category, don’t despair. We’re here to help you figure out how to groom a cat without getting scratched.

  1. The first thing you need to do is make sure that your cat’s nails are trimmed. Some cat owners are able to trim their pet’s nails themselves, but if this something that you also struggle with, you might be better off having the vet do this for you once a month, at least until your cat eventually gets used to it, and you can take over this task.



    med nails won’t scratch you as badly, even if your cat manages to take a swipe or two.

  2. Make an effort to get your cat feeling relaxed and calm. Take her into your lap and pet her as you speak to her in a soft, high-pitched tone. Rub her back, sides, belly, and legs. Be affectionate but not frisky or playful.

  3. Take out the brush, and lay it beside your cat. Just leave it there, and let her sniff it. You’ll soon notice that she will be rubbing her face into the bristles. She is marking the brush with her scent and claiming it as her own.

  4. As you continue petting her, take the brush and tentatively use it to stroke the back of her neck all the way down to her spine. Do this with a gentle and light touch so as not to spook her. Work your way down her sides while still petting her and talking to her soothingly. Praise her generously with each stroke she tolerates.

  5. Do not try to brush areas where the fur has already started to mat; it can be very painful for your cat, and doing so is practically guaranteed to get her to attack you. Matted hair needs to be cut. To do this, slip a flat comb under the matted area to lift it so you can cut the hair on top. The comb acts as a barrier between your cat and the scissor blades. Never try cutting matted fur out without a comb, or you risk cutting your cat’s skin.

  6. If your cat becomes annoyed and tries to leave, stop brushing and go back to petting her. Give her a few seconds to calm down before resuming. If she tries to scratch, bite, or grab your hand while you brush her, stop moving. Trying to prevent her from swiping at you as you brush only gives her the impression that you are playing, and that it’s okay to scratch and grab. Some pet owners resort to treats, especially if their cat really dislikes being groomed. You can give your cat a treat for each stroke at the start, gradually lessening the frequency of the treats as you go.

  7. Work your way to the legs and the tail and leave the belly for last. Their bellies are the most sensitive part of their body. If necessary, you might want to leave grooming the belly for later sessions, when your cat has become more used to grooming. Continue brushing until your cat’s fur is shiny and smooth.

For initial grooming sessions, use a plastic- or soft-tipped slicker brush. Later, you can move onto a comb, which is the proper tool for medium- and long-haired breeds. The key to figuring out how to groom a cat without getting scratched is patience and perseverance. Give your cat a chance to see grooming as a pleasant process, and you’ll soon have her begging to be brushed.

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