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A while ago while shopping on www.vetuk.co.uk for some of our usual bits of food and pastes and potions I saw an advert at the bottom of the page under the heading of "customers who bought this also bought..." and noticed a blue slicker brush amongst them. My lad (cat) already has a slicker brush which he loves but I like to have one upstairs and one downstairs of these types of items so if my joints are particularly bad I have to hand what I need so I opened the link. The Ancol Ergo Slicker comes in 3 sizes, the small one is £2.74, medium £3.70 and large £4.12 and the brush is actually designed for dogs but I was pretty sure the small one would be suitable for a cat too so purchased one.
When the brush arrived a few days later it came in one of those hard plastic cases with cardboard at the back that I find impossible to get into without scissors! The brush head is about 4 inches wide which is the same size as our other slicker and the teeth are metal and about a centimetre and a half long which is a little bit longer than our other one. The brush head and handle are made from lightweight plastic, and the grey sections are rubber to stop the brush slipping from your hand, so it's not too heavy which works well for me as I often hang off the side of the bed and brush my lad while he lays on the floor so I don't want anything that's going to get too heavy over time or is going to slip out of my hand and fall on my boy. The whole thing can easily be washed in warm soapy water if you've removed something from the fur that needs cleaning off the brush, more a problem with dogs than cats I would think. On the front of the packaging it tells us this brush is suitable for curly, short, wiry, long and silky fur but not smooth. This is no doubt because the teeth would be too scratchy on smooth fur but I'd also use caution on short haired dogs too. As short haired cats still have alot of fur to brush through I figured this would be fine.
The rest of the information on the packaging is that the brush eases tangles and matts, removes dead hair from the undercoat and topcoat, stimulates hair follicles to promote hair health and fluffs up and beautifies the coat. The teeth are stainless steel so will last and shouldn't rust, there are instructions on the back about matts and knots and if you encounter a large knot it may be wiser to cut it out with scissors (carefully!) rather than try and force it out with a brush. It also advises you to watch your animals stress levels in case they don't like being brushed with the slicker.
Once I'd managed to wrestle the brush out of the packaging I felt the teeth and found them to be very scratchy. They do have a cushioned bed so have a bit of give and if you press one of the teeth it will move in all directions so they're adjustable to the shape of your pet. I always try brushes on me first despite the fact I don't have a fur coat and this one got the brush down my own arm test before it went near my boy. Although scratchy it wasn't painful scratchy and factor in a fur coat it passed my test. So onto my lad.
My boy likes to lay on the bedroom floor while being brushed or to wander about cheeking things and have you chase after him so we started with a static position to see if he liked it. I do own a Furminator but I used to use that for my other lad and the lad about to be slicked into submission hated it so I was hoping the claim to remove alot of the undercoat would be true. It's that time of year when fur is starting to be shed for summer so animals are getting itchy and irritated with all the loose hair. I started brushing my boy during one of our regular fuss sessions and he absolutely loved it, he found it completely relaxing (no raised stress levels here!) and rolled around and got totally into his brushing session. Within a few minutes I'd taken off 4 brush loads of loose hair and there was still a bit more to come but by this point in time my lad was getting to the stage where he'd had enough for the day (he lets me know by gently pushing the brush away with a hind leg). So I stopped brushing but noticed this had also brought alot of dead skin to the surface in areas. This is a good thing as it removes it from under the coat where it will make the animal itch so I decided to go for a full on "bed bath".
As some of the Dooyooers, who also frequent the animal forum I belong to, know I often give my boy a bed bath which is also known in our house as a "brush, rub and buff". Basically this involves brushing all the loose hair off and bringing dead skin up to the surface, followed by dampening a flannel in warm water and smoothing that along the coat to clean off all the skin particles and any bits of hair left behind, finally we finish with the "buff" part and I use a warm towel to dry off the coat. The flannel must only be slightly damp however as you don't want to alarm your pet or remove the natural oils they have in their coat which they need. So each time I've used this brush I've followed that routine as it always brings up bits of skin to the surface. My boy loves this procedure and is perfectly happy to stay put and wait for me to return with the flannel and towel to finish off his pampering, plus as he's nearly 17 it saves him having to do all the grooming himself so it's a win win situation as I love doing it too! This brush may need that kind of routine as it's very effective at pulling undercoat out and dead skin so be warned before you use it.
The small brush is definitely the size you will want to buy for cats as it's wide enough to make brushing the body and tail a quick job but also small enough to do around necks and cheeks without any bumping the brush against the cat's face. I've also gently brushed my boy's head with this and he likes it but you have to only apply very light pressure on heads as the hair is very short there. Also light pressure only on tummies so you don't scratch that very sensitive skin and put them off. Tails are so easy with this, just place the brush at the base of the tail and hold the tail steady with your other hand then swoop all the way up to the end of the tail. My boy always has lots of loose fur in his tail so we do several of those all around the tail and he usually assists by walking forwards so his tail pulls through my hand and the brush. Very fast and simple.
Afterwards my lad's coat always gleams with health and is soft, smooth and very shiny so this really works. He's alot more comfortable with loose hair and skin taken off and is always totally relaxed and happy after a good brush with the Ancol Slicker. The most hair I've taken off in one sitting was 5 brush loads which amounts to a good pile of hair! I can find no faults with this brush at all and my boy loves it too. The only thing I think might be a problem for it is matts as it would pull I think, as I don't have a long haired cat and my boy doesn't have any matts I can't say for sure but I'd be careful if you are thinking of using it for matts. I use the brush a couple of times a week minimum and always "rub and buff" after to complete the job. One word of caution for the brush operator however, don't do what I did and try to pick fur out of the brush before it's full, I managed to get one of the teeth under my nail and make my nailbed bleed so wait until it's full so it just peels out!
Overall I'm very pleased with this brush and it does a really good job on my lad's fur, he loves it which makes it a hit in our house. It's inexpensive, light, easy to keep hold of, can be washed, takes off lots of fur and brings dead skin to the surface, what more could you ask for? I give it a full 5 stars and highly recommend them for dogs and cats.