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Learning to Furminate...

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 

We all have our strengths and weaknesses as cat parents, and one of my big ones raising the kittens was almost never brushing them.  anon.gif  I read a lot about it and how if I got them used to grooming it would be NBD when they were adults, etc., but it was always so difficult when I tried - they were so wiggly and Garfunkel in particular thinks the brush is a particularly fun toy that he needs to attack.  I would hold it out in a non-threatening way so they could sniff/rub on it, then try to brush them but it wasn't going well - and, well, they weren't shedding (because they were kittens) so I just quit trying anon.gif


Now, I am reaping what I sowed.  I bought a Furminator recently because the hair is starting to appear everywhere, and I'm really regretting not getting them used to brushing when they were babies.  You know those demo videos where the cat is sitting nicely on the lap while the headless person brushes them with the Furminator?  Fat chance!  The only way I even got more than one stroke on them was to take them into the bathroom one by one, feed them about fifteen pounds of treats each, and stroke as much as possible while they were eating the treats (which are the Wellness Pure grain-free treats, they are tiny, smaller than a dime!).  Simon was the only one who ever lay down on his side allowing me to get a decent brushing (at least on that side - he refused to turn over to the other side rolleyes.gif)


Things are further complicated because each cat has something going against them:

1. Garfunkel is totally neurotic and retains the most kitten qualities of the bunch, including the spring-bouncing feet, attacking everything that moves, etc. - as soon as he feels the brush on his back he gets distracted and turns to play with it.

2. Simon REALLY NEEDS to be brushed because he has like double undercoat or something, it's what makes him so soft and fluffy (he's the one I thought would be long hair when they were baby kittens), and to get him totally brushed will take way, way longer than the other two.

3. Joni has petting-induced aggression and boundary issues.  She was actually the easiest (least distracted) to get the brush on, but as soon as I cross her boundary - about mid-back - she is whipping her head around to bite, and getting on her back to attack it/my hand.


I actually think I am on the right track with the separation/treats to get them to see it as "fun time with mama," but can you provide any additional advice - especially for Garfunkel and Joni with trying to fight/play with the brush?

post #2 of 13
Well, I don't have a Furminator. I've heard good and bad things about them for years. I have a friend who is a master cat groomer (certified), and she says that they are bad. And another friend is a former cat and dog groomer and she says that tool should only be used on short haired animals because it tears long hair/fur. So I think it pulls on the hair. Maybe not the best thing to use to introduce grooming.

My 7 cats all love to be groomed. I find doing it gently is important to them. They argue with each other to get close to me to be brushed and/or combed. I never used treats.

One tool I use is a little, wire bristle, kitten brush. I buy them at Petsmart for $2.99. They come in blue, pink, and purple plastic. I also use them on many, many cats at the shelter when volunteering. Virtually all of them love being brushed with this tool. But I am gentle, and make slow strokes.

I also use, on my long haired cats mostly, a pro metal comb, a "butter comb" made by Chris Christensen Systems (see website). This was recommended by my friend the cat groomer. It goes through thick, long fur with almost no pulling. I have a 5 inch one with fine and wider spaced teeth.

My cats also love the Zoom Groom. It removes a lot of loose hair. And they seem to think they are getting a massage.

All my cats were well into adulthood when I found them. I doubt that few, or any, had much grooming before me, or the shelter. Most were strays before the shelter. So adult cats can learn to love being groomed.


post #3 of 13
Thread Starter 

Well, I guess it doesn't have to be advice for the Furminator specifically.  That's just what I bought.  More on advice for getting them to calm down enough to actually have a brushing session, not fight the brush, etc.  I'm sure they can come to love it - just need advice on HOW to get them there.  wavey.gif

post #4 of 13
Gentle and slow strokes. And use a tool that doesn't pull their hair. Only a few strokes at first, barely touching them. Only a couple minutes. Zoom Groom may be your best bet.

It has to feel good to them for them to want it.

post #5 of 13
Thread Starter 

Thanks for your help, Robin!  I disagree that the Furminator hurts them.  They aren't acting like they want to get away, just wiggly/distracted and/or playing with or fighting the brush.  Joni would still have boundary issues even if I was using another brush.  That's mostly what I'm looking for help on.  I think I'll just keep doing the separation and treats - and I guess getting some hair is better than none.  Thanks again smile.gif

post #6 of 13

Have you tried a slicker brush?  I had a s/h cat that had a very dense coat, he needed grooming but objected to being combed.  He loved being brushed with a slicker though, and once it had taken out most of the dead hair he started letting me groom him with a metal comb as well.


If you don't know what one looks like, Google does.  Type in 'slicker brush' and hit the 'images' link when it brings up the results.


Most other brushes don't get to the bottom of the coat so don't clear out the dead hair properly.


The other way of grooming I've had success with on s/h cats that had been neglected and had the sort of coat that needs grooming was using a metal comb, and starting at the head doing tiny sections against the lie of the fur.  I turned a rusty brown cat with white tufts into a shiny black cat with dandruff that way over 3-4 days.  The cat was staying in my friends cattery and it so badly needed grooming.  I don't know if the owner didn't groom it, or used a bristle brush which will slide over the top of that sort of coat.


Personally I wouldn't hesistate to scruff a cat that really needs grooming to get it done - they don't seem to resent being scruffed, and I can scruff with one hand and groom with the other.


Whatever you do, don't wash a cat that needs grooming - it makes things worse not better.


The bottom line if you can't manage it and it really does need doing is using a groomer.  My friend with the cattery had someone bring in two Persians that were OK on top but matted underneath.  Shortly before they were due to go back home she cut a deal with a local groomer, and the owners were amazed when they saw the difference and as far as I know still use the groomer on a regular basis.

post #7 of 13
Originally Posted by parsleysage View Post

Thanks for your help, Robin!  I disagree that the Furminator hurts them.  They aren't acting like they want to get away, just wiggly/distracted and/or playing with or fighting the brush.  Joni would still have boundary issues even if I was using another brush.  That's mostly what I'm looking for help on.  I think I'll just keep doing the separation and treats - and I guess getting some hair is better than none.  Thanks again smile.gif

I didn't say that the Furminator hurt them exactly. But the behavior you describe, to me, sounds like your cats are clearly trying to tell you to stop.

My suggestions were meant as ideas to get them to enjoy grooming, so they will stop playing or fighting with the tool. Once they love grooming, like my own cats, and the 20+ I brush at the shelter each week (and many of them different ones each week with no fighting the brush), then it should be easier to introduce the Furminator again.

Oh, and the little $2.99 kitten brushes from Petsmart that I described, are slicker brushes like Oriental Slave recommended. She also recommended a metal comb, as I did. These things work well and are used by pro groomers and cat show people. The Furminator - I don't think so.

post #8 of 13
You're welcome! I appreciate the thanks. I'm just wanting to help with what I know works from my own experience. I have no personal experience with the Furminator. I had been tempted to get one, but the price put me off. Then my two friends, the groomers, told me to forget about it. And I trust them. And others here have said their cats hate it. Though other cats don't seem to mind it.

I've never heard of a cat who didn't like the Zoom Groom. Some have reported here that it is the only tool they can use to groom their cat. It won't take out mats. But I find it collects A LOT of loose fur. Daily use of it keeps my thick coated, long hair, Harlow, free of mats, and he asks for me to brush him with it every evening.

post #9 of 13

I am a dog groomer too. And I will try this furmantor thing on my cats who love their brushes. The slicker brush and the curry comb vibrator brush. They will tell me if it hurts or not. Trust me. I am in tune with animals feelings. Too much my bosses say.

post #10 of 13

My cats liked the furminator. IT does pull... not any worse than the slicker brush. Cats are still lining up for their treatment and fighting whos next.

post #11 of 13
The reason I like the slicker brushes I described is that they are kitten ones. So they are smaller and the wires are not as stiff as regular slicker brushes. That, and a delicate touch is probably why I get so many cats at the shelter to accept brushing. It doesn't pull. It just feels good. The kitties tell me so. I'm very popular among them with my little brush. biggrin.gif

And I take out a lot of excess fur! agree.gif

post #12 of 13

my cats adore furmination!  just tonight they were both down there on the floor volunteering!!!  this furmination tool is amazing, far better than just brushing. i hope your kitties get used to it because they will love it!!

post #13 of 13

try it when they're most relaxed and asleep. might help fend off the need to attack the brush

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