5 Best Cat Brushes of 2022
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The average cat is excellent at self-grooming, spending anywhere from 15% to 50% of the day cleaning themselves. However, both long- and short-haired cats can benefit from regular brushing or combing to help remove loose hair and distribute natural skin oils throughout the coat, said veterinarian Aimee Simpson, medical director of VCA Cat Hospital of Philadelphia.
For this guide to the best cat brushes, I tested 22 different grooming tools over a 10-month period with two cats, one with short hair and one with long hair. I evaluated slicker brushes, dematting combs, deshedding tools, curry brushes, and grooming gloves. I also consulted with veterinarians and professional groomers about the advantages of grooming a cat and how best to get the job done. Read more about how I tested these products at the end of this guide.
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Best for short hair cats: Furbliss Pet Brush - See at ChewyThe versatile Furbliss Pet Brush is the only grooming tool most short-haired cats will ever need and it even removes fur from upholstery and clothing.
Best for long hair cats: Safari Self-Cleaning Slicker Brush for Cats - See at ChewyThe Safari Self-Cleaning Slicker Brush helps detangle matted undercoat fur and can be cleaned out with the push of a button.
Best deshedding: Furminator Deshedding Tool - See at ChewyThe tightly packed teeth on the Furminator Deshedding Tool pull loose hair and dirt from a cat's undercoat without irritating the skin.
Best dematting: Chris Christensen Cat/Carding Buttercomb #013 - See at Chris ChristensenThe Chris Christensen Cat/Carding Buttercomb #013 has teeth of two different lengths to dig into and untangle mats.
Best grooming gloves: HandsOn All-In-One Bathing and Grooming Gloves - See at ChewyHandsOn Grooming Gloves are an ideal way to remove hair, dirt, and dander from cats that are sensitive to grooming and handling.
Pros: 100% medical-grade silicone, two-sided design, can be used wet or dry for grooming and massage, back side can be used to remove hair from clothing and upholstery, available in two designs, dishwasher and washing machine safe, 100% satisfaction guarantee
Cons: Hair difficult to remove from brush when dry
A good curry brush is ideal for grooming a short-haired cat, according to Melissa Tillman, owner of Melissa Michelle Grooming in San Leandro, California. I was impressed by the Furbliss Pet Brush not just because its flexible silicone nubs are gentle and effective at removing loose hair, but because it can also be used to massage a pet, remove hair from clothing and upholstery, and dispense shampoo in the bath.
This two-sided brush is made from 100% medical-grade silicone. On the front, there are flexible nodules that smooth out the topcoat and stimulate circulation. At the back, it is crisscrossed with reservoir cells to hold shampoo for deep-cleaning while bathing. When dry, the backside can also be gently rubbed over clothing and upholstery to remove hair and lint.
The Furbliss comes in two different designs. The blue brush has dense, cone-shaped teeth for short-haired pets and the green brush has larger, more widely spaced nubs for long-haired pets. I tried both on my long- and short-haired cats and didn't notice a major difference between them. Each one worked well on both types of fur.
The lightweight brush was easy to grip and use. Fur sticks to the silicone material, making it a challenge to clean out, but it can be rinsed under warm water or even thrown in the dishwasher or washing machine. While the Furbliss can help to remove loose hair, dirt, and dander from long-haired cats, it really shines on cats with shorter hair. Its durability offers a lifetime of grooming, massaging, and cleaning up after your pet.
Pros: Self-cleaning button retracts pins for easy hair removal, ergonomically designed handle with rubber grips, stainless steel pins detangle mats and tangles, good for undercoat care
Cons: Short-haired cats won't get as much out of this brush
All of the slicker brushes I tested worked reasonably well to smooth out matted fur and remove excess hair on long-haired cats. The size of the brush head and retractable pins on Safari Self-Cleaning Slicker Brush, however, make it stand head and shoulders above the rest. When the brush's pins are full of hair, pressing a button on the back pushes the front plate forward and dislodges the hair.
Safari's lightweight slicker brush has an ergonomic handle with rubber grips. Its 3-by-2-inch paddle with 288 stainless steel pins (yes, I counted!) is nimble enough to get into hard to reach places.
While this brush can be used on both long and short hair, it does its best work with long-haired cats with thick, heavy undercoats. It couldn't remove every mat, but it did a great job helping me combat those on the chest and under the arms of my long-haired cat.
If your cat's coat is severely matted, the tangles will likely require a carding comb like our pick from Chris Christensen. In more extreme cases, they may need to be cut out; that job is best left to professionals, according to Simpson. "You should never try to cut mats out of your cat's hair with scissors. This can lead to accidental laceration of the skin," she said.
For cats that are prone to the occasional tangle, however, the Safari Self-Cleaning Slicker Brush is an affordable, easy-to-use tool that gets the job done.
Read our full review of the Safari Self-Cleaning Slicker Brush for cats.
Pros: Tightly packed stainless steel teeth extract hair easily, lightweight, easy to grip, small enough to reach tight spots, self-cleaning fur-ejector button, comes in two sizes
Cons: Requires frequent cleaning with fur-ejector button
I did not know how much hair my cats had in their undercoats until I got a hold of a deshedding tool. Out of the five deshedders I tested over the last year, two were extremely effective at removing excess fur from both short- and long-haired cats: the Andis Pet Deshedding Tool and the Furminator Deshedding Tool. The Andis Deshedder did a slightly better job than the Furminator and we previously named it our top pick, but it is rarely in stock. As a result, we recommend the Furminator as the best brush for shedding. It's also a favorite of Keith Harper, veterinarian at VetnCare in Alameda, California.
In just a few strokes, the Furminator removes as much, if not more, fur than most of the other deshedders do in an entire brushing session. The power of the tool lies in its tightly packed stainless steel teeth, which reach beneath the topcoat to gently catch hold and remove hair deep in the undercoat without causing discomfort or irritation to a cat's skin.
The tool comes in two sizes. The small one has a 1.75-inch wide blade and is meant for cats up to 10 pounds. The blade on the medium-size brush is 2.65-inches wide and is meant for cats over 10 pounds. Both brushes have an ergonomic handle and fur ejector button to release collected hair.
Neither of my cats seem to experience discomfort while being brushed with this deshedding tool — one absolutely adores it — and the curved plastic edge prevents the blade from accidentally cutting into their skin.
The only thing I dislike about this brush is that it is so effective it fills up with hair after just a few strokes and has to be freque
Pros: Dual-length stainless steel teeth, solid brass spine, lightweight, comfortable to use at different angles
Cons: Pricey, only useful for untangling matted fur
Long-haired cats are prone to developing tangled mats in their undercoat, causing discomfort and, in some cases, leading to illness. "Matting causes the hair to pull at the skin, which is painful," said Simpson. At the hind end, urine and feces may also stick to mats, increasing the risk of skin and urinary tract infections.
To smooth out matted fur, the best comb on the market is Chris Christensen's Cat/Carding Buttercomb #013, according to Loel Miller, owner of Mobile Grooming by Loel in Walnut Creek, California. We found she was right and it ultimately beat our old top pick JW Pet Gripsoft Cat Slicker Brush. Chris Christensen's comb excelled at digging into mats and untangling the fur caught within them.
The lightweight comb has stainless steel teeth embedded in a solid 6-inch spine. The teeth alternate in a pattern of long and short tines. The comb has no real handle, just an approximately 1/4-wide ridge that runs its length. It turns out that the lack of a handle actually makes this comb more versatile and easier to use — it can be held comfortably at any angle to work out tangles.
Chris Christensen's buttercomb was, without question, the best of the combs we tested and its hefty price reflects its quality. But while it's excellent for mats and tangles and costs a fraction of regular visits to a professional groomer, there's not much point in purchasing it for short-haired cats. It doesn't do much to remove fine, untangled hair.
Pros: Good for cats who are sensitive to grooming, flexible and comfortable, available in five sizes, can be used wet or dry, good for massage or bathing, durable
Cons: Remove relatively little hair, dirt, and dander compared to other brushes and combs
"Some cats naturally adore being groomed, some tolerate being groomed, and some are irate at the concept," said Miller.
Those who refuse to be groomed with a brush or a comb may tolerate grooming gloves, which fit closely to the natural shape of the palm. "Using a grooming glove or a soft rubber grooming brush can acclimate your cat to the feeling of being brushed in a gentle way," said Simpson.
I found the well-constructed HandsOn All-in-One Bathing and Grooming Gloves to be the best of the brands that I tested. The rubber palms are covered with rounded nubs, three clumps on each finger and two on the thumb. The other side of the glove is made of strong nylon fabric with a Velcro closure at the wrist that secures it snugly.
The gloves come in five sizes, junior to extra large. As an average-size woman, the medium-size pair fit me comfortably. Unlike the other gloves I tested, these didn't feel overly bulky when I made a fist or bent my fingers. HandsOn Gloves can be used dry or wet, and so far they have not cracked, torn, or grown mildew, which the company claims is a feature of their durability.
Relative to all of the other brushes and combs I tested, gloves are the worst at removing hair from a cat's coat. However, if your cat is sensitive to brushing, HandsOn Grooming Gloves will help to remove at least some fur along with dirt and dander.
There are a wide variety of tools available for brushing a cat:
The best brush for your cat depends on the type of hair they have. Cats with long hair need a slicker or pin brush and possibly a deshedding tool to remove dead hair and dirt from their topcoat and undercoat. Long-haired cats that are prone to mats may also need a comb that can dig into dreadlocks and slowly untangle them. A slicker or pin brush can also be used on a short-haired cat, but they may prefer the feel of a soft, rubber curry comb. A grooming glove is another good option for short-haired cats, particularly if they are handling sensitive.
Yes! Brushing a cat removes dead hair and skin cells that would otherwise end up being swallowed in the process of grooming or shedding onto your floor. The less hair a cat consumes, the less likely they are to have regular hairballs. Brushing also distributes the natural oils in the coat that keep it shiny, stimulates blood circulation and, above all, helps a cat and their guardian to bond.
Opinions differ even among professionals as to how often a cat should be brushed. According to the ASPCA, brushing once or twice a week can help keep a cat's coat healthy. VCA Hospitals recommends brushing your cat daily, especially if they have long hair or a thick coat. Tillman's rule of thumb is to brush your cat as often as they will let you, while Harper said he has no rule of thumb but that guardians should at least be running their hands, if not a brush or comb, over their cat's body once daily. Older cats who cannot self-groom may need more regular sessions than younger cats.
Again, there are no universally accepted rules for brushing with a deshedding tool. For instance, Andis recommends using its deshedder a few times a week, while Furminator recommends using its tool once a week.
Cats "can go rapidly from purring to flailing sharp claws in your face" during grooming, according to Miller. Instead of sticking to a set period of time, pay close attention to your cat's body language. If they become agitated or attempt to move away from the brush or comb, call an end to the session and pick it up again later.
The earlier you begin to introduce your cat to brushing, the better. "Kittens that are regularly groomed and have their nails trimmed become used to being handled," said Simpson. To set your cat up for brushing success, Simpson recommends positioning them in a comfortable, quiet area and pairing gentle strokes of the brush or comb with delicious treats. Lickable foods such as Easy Cheese and Inaba Churu are especially high-value for many cats. Simpson said cats are less likely to be anxious if you work alone without restraining them.
Shedding is a normal function of any animal with hair, Harper told Insider Reviews. "Everything has an expiration period," he said. "The hair will run its course, it'll fall out, and it will be replaced by a new follicle."
A cat's tongue is covered with papillae, small rounded nubs that face backwards and help a cat retain food while eating. When they lick and groom their body, those papillae also capture dead, loose hair.
The same papillae that trap hair while grooming prevent a cat from spitting out what they remove. The hair has nowhere else to go but down the throat and into the stomach. Most of the hair a cat swallows will be digested normally and excreted into a litter box. In some cats, particularly those with luxurious, long coats, some hair will remain in the stomach where it slowly accumulates. Eventually, that ball of hair becomes irritating and there's only one way to get it out: by vomiting.
There are various reasons a cat may begin to shed more than usual, Harper said. Skin irritations due to parasites like fleas or allergies to a new food or something in the environment may cause a cat to scratch more often and lose additional hair in the process. After a traumatic injury, a cat may also shed more around the wound, especially if they are able to scratch at the spot.
Most minor scratches and scabs will resolve on their own either without intervention or with the application of an over-the-counter skin ointment or salve such as Neosporin, according to Harper. But if there's no change in three days, or if the irritation worsens, he recommends contacting your veterinarian.
While cats don't need to be bathed, Miller said baths are effective for removing dander and dead undercoat and keeping a cat's coat fresh. However, not many cats enjoy being bathed by their guardians. If you think your cat might be willing to be bathed, introduce it cautiously and use a shampoo designed specifically for cats, not humans. If your cat really needs a cleaning but won't tolerate bathing, try a grooming wipe like Earthbath's hypoallergenic version.
Anytime a cat is heavily matted and requires shaving, it's best to consult a professional. "Cats' skin is easy to cut, so it's best to leave that up to us," said Tillman. If you have a cat who dislikes being brushed, don't hesitate to hire a groomer to do the basics, too. "It's best not to push the limits of a cat where you are in danger of being injured," said Miller.
To identify the most effective cat brushes and combs for this guide, I conducted the following tests on 22 different brushes and combs. Most tools were received as editorial review samples from their manufacturers. Insider Reviews purchased the Furminator, Resco Comb, SleekEZ Tool, Chris Christensen Buttercomb #013, Master Grooming Tools Brush, Hertzko Brush, and Epona Glossy Groomer.
Hair removal test: To objectively compare the brushes in the deshedding tool and slicker brush categories, I used a different one every three days to give my short-haired cat a complete brushing. The removed hair was placed in labeled plastic baggies that were then laid side by side to reveal which tool removed the most.
Ease of use test: While using each grooming tool, I evaluated the following characteristics:
Dematting test: This test was devised for the products in the dematting comb category. For each comb, I began by rolling, mashing, and entangling a large pile of undercoat fur removed from my long-haired cat using a deshedding tool. I then attempted to restore the fur to its smooth, unmatted state with the comb. The top three tools went on to tackle the small mats that form on my cat's chest and under his forelegs where he has trouble reaching during grooming. The comb that dematted the hair most easily and efficiently was declared the winner.
We consulted with the following veterinarians and groomers for this guide to the best cat brushes:
Keith Harper, DVM, veterinarian, VetnCare Alameda, Alameda, CaliforniaHarper earned his veterinary degree at the Tuskegee University School of Veterinary Medicine in 2011. After completing his studies, he returned home to the Bay Area where he worked as a general practitioner for various clinics, including Banfield Pet Hospitals and VCA Animal Hospitals. He currently practices veterinary medicine at VetnCare in Alameda. We interviewed Harper over the phone on February 17, 2021.
Loel Miller, owner, Mobile Grooming by Loel, Walnut Creek, CaliforniaMiller trained with a certified master groomer to earn her grooming chops. She is a member of the National Dog Groomers Association of America, National Cat Groomers Institute of America, and California Professional Pet Groomers Association. We consulted with Miller via email in June 2020.
Aimee Simpson, DVM, medical director of VCA Cat Hospital of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PennsylvaniaSimpson earned a veterinary degree at University of Pennsylvania in 2005. That same year she joined the team at VCA Cat Hospital of Philadelphia, working her way up to the position of medical director. We consulted with Simpson via email in June 2020.
Melissa Tillman, owner, Melissa Michelle Grooming, San Leandro, CaliforniaTillman has been grooming pets professionally for 16 years. Prior to opening her own business, Tillman practiced her craft in the Bay Area at Planet Pooch, Fancy Feet Grooming, Aussie Pet Mobile, and Who Let the Dogs Out. We consulted Tillman via email in June 2020.
For additional information on cat grooming, we consulted the following online sources:
Cat Grooming Tips, ASPCA
Grooming and Coat Care for Your Cat, Tammy Hunter, DVM and Cheryl Yuill, DVM, VCA Hospitals
A Hairy Dilemma, Cornell Feline Health Center
Sign up for Insider Reviews' weekly newsletter for more buying advice and great deals.You can purchase logo and accolade licensing to this story here.Disclosure: Written and researched by the Insider Reviews team. We highlight products and services you might find interesting. If you buy them, we may get a small share of the revenue from the sale from our partners. We may receive products free of charge from manufacturers to test. This does not drive our decision as to whether or not a product is featured or recommended. We operate independently from our advertising team. We welcome your feedback. Email us at [email protected].Best for short hair cats: Best for long hair cats: Best deshedding:Best dematting:Best grooming gloves:Pros: Cons: Pros:Cons:Read our full review of the Safari Self-Cleaning Slicker Brush for cats.Pros: Cons: Pros: Cons: Pros: Cons: Andis Pet Deshedding ToolBissell Furget It All-in-One Grooming BrushGoPets Dematting Comb Grooming RakeSleekEZ Original Deshedding ToolLitterbox.com Grooming BrushJW Pet Gripsoft Cat Slicker BrushHartz Groomer's Best Slicker BrushLitterbox.com Slicker BrushMaster Grooming Tools Single Flexible Slicker BrushHertzko Self-Cleaning Slicker BrushKong Cat Zoom Groom Multi-Use BrushEpona Glossy GroomerMr. Peanut's Grooming Hand GlovesBabyliss Pro Pet Carding Pet CombJW Pet Gripsoft Cat CombResco Pro-Series Rotating Pin CombSafari Pet Products Cat Shedding CombGrooming gloves: Curry brushes: Slicker brushes: Deshedding tools:Dematting combs:What kind of brush is best for cats?Is brushing good for cats?How often should I brush my cat?How often should I use a deshedding tool on my long-haired or thick-coated cat?How long should a brushing session with my cat last?How can I make brushing pleasant for my cat?Why do cats shed?How does a cat's tongue work to remove hair?If a cat is shedding more than usual, what might be going on?What should a cat parent do if they find a rash, scab, or other skin irritation?Does my cat need a bath?When should I take my cat to a professional groomer?Hair removal testEase of use test:Dematting test:Keith Harper, DVM, veterinarian, VetnCare Alameda, Alameda, CaliforniaLoel Miller, owner, Mobile Grooming by Loel, Walnut Creek, CaliforniaAimee Simpson, DVM, medical director of VCA Cat Hospital of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PennsylvaniaMelissa Tillman, owner, Melissa Michelle Grooming, San Leandro, California