Cats are basically just small, fluffy, sassy, shed-prone animals that need a little more TLC than the average pet.
Their roll-around, playful nature makes them prone to constant mats, knots, and tangles that are painful and often difficult to manage if you don’t have the right tool(s).
Whether you have a long-haired cat, a short-haired cat, a hairless cat - well maybe not a hairless cat considering those don’t actually shed - basically if your cat has fur he/she is going to shed.
Unfortunately, that shed fur is going to get tangled with the new fur and cause mats, which cause pain, which leads to a very grumpy play mate.
So, to avoid having an unhappy cat around, you need a slicker brush that is going to aid in shedding and keep your cat's coat healthy.
Keeping in mind that each cat is different, and certain brushes will work better certain types of cats, here are a few brands of slicker brushes for you to choose from to help keep your cat’s coat healthy.
Our Top 5 Picks
Best for long haired cats
For anyone who owns a long-haired cat such as a Himalayan or Main Coon, there’s a good chance you’re going to love this brush.
First of all, the purple color, adorable! I just had to put that in here.
Second, of all, the Hertzko Slicker Brush has a wide surface with dozens of thin, metal bristles designed to reach into the undercoat of your cat’s fur, pulling up all of the shed hair that is trapped near the skin.
The distance between each bristle is minimal, making it an ideal brush for gently removing mats and tangles in your cat’s coat.
The Hertzko slicker brush works best on long haired cats, as the bristles are fairly long, but can be used on short-haired cats as long as you remain gentle and aware of your pet’s reaction to the bristles.
As a bonus, this brush is self-cleaning, meaning the bristles on the base retract with the push of a button, dropping a wad of fur to the ground for each disposal!
Cats can be incredibly difficult to brush as they are designed to do so themselves and sometimes don’t appreciate the help you are offering, but most users found that their cat enjoyed being brushed when this was the product being used. Some users even stated that their cat fell asleep during a grooming session, assuming this means that their cat was relaxed enough to do so, I’d call that a win!
Several owners of short haired cats felt that the length of the bristles was too long for their cat to be comfortable, stating that the distance between the base of the brush and their pet's fur was too far apart to gently break up the mats they came across, causing their furry friend some unnecessary pain.
Best for reaching the undercoat
Nobody ever said that grooming their cats was a walk in the park, and it’s not, by any means. However, the Bark Outfitters Slicker Brush for cats gets you as close to that park as you’re probably ever going to get.
The self-cleaning retractable brush is made up of a large base, and thin bristles that are pretty soft for a slicker brush.
The brush is geared towards cats with thick undercoats, gently removing the mats and burrs that are trapped there without causing harm to your pet.
On top of that, the company claims a 5-year guarantee on the product, meaning that the brush will give you a strong five years before the bristles really start wearing away, that’s pretty damn good if you ask me.
What We Love
While the brush works well on cats with long, short, thin and thick fur, the overall consensus for best feature is actually how easy it is to remove mats with this brush. Nearly every user with a long haired cat felt that the brush easily removed mats that were deep down, close to the skin, with little tugging or pain for their cat.
The size of the brush is fairly large for most cats, still completely useable, but using the brush on smaller areas like the head and legs proved to be more of a pain than anything else.
Best for cats with sensitive skin
The reason we labeled the Pet Portal slicker brush “best for cats with sensitive skin” is due to the metal bristles being both angled and flexible, a potent combination when applied your pet's sensitive skin.
The angled bristles prevent direct contact between the tip of the bristles and your cat’s skin, which can often be painful to your pet.
While this brush is great for that purpose alone, it’s design also makes it a fitting candidate for cats with a thick undercoat. Regardless of the length of your cat's fur, the design of this slicker brush ensures a gentle grooming that not only removes tangles, dirt, and mats but also feels like a massage on your cat’s tender skin.
If you happen to have a fairly large house cat, I recommend you opt for the medium-large size since the small seems to work best on cats the size of a chihuahua!
What We Love
The brush drastically reduces shedding and helps prevent large fur balls that result from your cat's personal daily grooming session. Less cat puke on your favorite rug!
Owner’s of short haired cats found that bristles were just a bit too long for their pet, preventing them from effectively pulling up dirt and mats from the undercoat. However, this could very well be due to the specific length of their cat's fur, it takes trial and error.
Best for removing mats and tangles
If you have a young cat or just a playful cat in general, then mats and knots are likely a daily occurrence, and if you have a cat that also sheds a lot, then you need this brush.
With the Pet Trooper's small round balls at the tip of each bristle, you can go right up to the skin of your cat without causing any pain. This allows you to go deep into the undercoat and find those mats and knots that you likely didn’t even know were there because they are much harder to feel just by petting.
The flexible bristles are designed to reduce shedding by a whopping 90%, making it a great tool if you have family members or friends with allergies to cat fur.
The company’s 100% satisfaction, the life-long money back guarantee doesn’t hurt either!
What We Love
The flexible bristles make brushing through mats simple and painless with no excessive pulling or tugging required, leaving your cat's fur soft and silky after just a few minutes.
The bristles are not angled, making it a little bit harder for loose hair to catch on the bristles for removal.
Best for small cats with thick fur
When considering a brush for your small cat, or even your new kitten, the Safari Cat Slicker Brush needs to be on your list!
One of the harder aspects about brushing a cat is often taking care of the smaller, bonier areas such as the head, legs, and hips. The Safari Cat Brush makes that difficulty virtually nonexistent due to its small base size and gentle bristles, which are also angled, allowing for optimal deshedding even in the thickest of coats.
The bristles, which are also retractable, catch onto mats quickly and gently breaks them up with ease.
What We Love
The size of the brush is ideal for anyone with a kitten or small cat and the flexible bristles follow the shape of your cat’s body, grabbing onto all of the loose furs with just one sweep.
Several users felt the bristles were a bit too harsh for their cat's tender skin, so if your pet has skin sensitivities, you may want to consider one of the other options.
Control Cat Shedding with Diet
Before you get concerned about how much fur is coming off of your cat, remember that shedding is a completely normal, 100% healthy part of your cat's daily life.
There are ways to control that shedding, though.
Consider looking into your cat’s diet; there are many brands of cat food that are difficult to digest, which prevents the nutrients from effectively reaching the cells of your pet's coat, often causing unhealthy skin and an abundance of shedding.
Reach out to your local vet and ask what cat food brands are best for your cat if you aren’t sure yourself.
Why Use a Slicker Brush on Your Cat?
The most common way to control shedding is by grooming your cat once per day with a slicker brush.
Slicker brushes are designed to catch loose fur and gently remove it before it gets tangled up in the new layers of fur, preventing mats and knots from forming.
Now, there is a good chance mats are going to form on occasion regardless, if this happens, you’ll have to carefully remove them, which we'll cover in the next section.
Removing Mats and Tangles with a Slicker Brush
Not only do mats and tangles look unattractive, but they are also painful to your cat the longer they sit there, trapped in the fur. Mats are more often than not the result of shed fur that gets trapped in a thicker coat, intertwining with new fur, causing knots and tangles that just keep growing until they are finally broken apart.
Long haired cats, in particular, are more prone to mats and knots than short-haired cats, but all mats can be broken up with the help of a quality slicker brush.
When brushing your fluffy friend, go slow and pay attention to how easily the brush is going through your cat’s fur.
When you come across a mat, DO NOT pull through it as this will do nothing but hurt your cat.
- The first thing you’ll need to do is place your hand above the mat to hold down the skin and prevent excessive pulling.
- Now, with your slicker brush, preferably one with bristles that are close together, gently start brushing through the mat, working from the top layer down, this will help break the mat up as you go instead of tackling the whole thing at once. Remember to be patient, it may take some time to break the mat apart depending on its size, but you will get there.
- When you have gotten the mat out, brush over the area gently to make sure there are no subtle bumps left.
If for some reason it seems like you just can’t get the entire mat out, call your local groomer and ask them what they recommend you do next.
Often they will have you bring your cat in to have the mat cut out, but don’t attempt this yourself, let a trained professional handle it!
Here's a video for the more visual learners out there.
There are so many brands of slicker brushes out there, you just need to dig a little bit and find the brush that is best for your pet's specific features.
For example, long-haired cats require a slicker brush with longer bristles, and the opposite goes for short haired cats. Thick haired cats benefit from angled bristles, while thin haired cats can go either way.
Remember to be gentle when grooming your pet, especially when you come across tough mats, as pulling too hard or putting too much pressure on the brush could hurt him/her, resulting in fear of the brush and then you’re just back to square one.
Take a look at the five slicker brushes mentioned above, keeping your pet's specific features and problem areas in mind, and remember that not every cat is going to like the same thing, but I guarantee you will find a brush that will not only remove shedding fur, mats, and knots but also have your favorite playmate purring with satisfaction.