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Have you noticed clumps of hair or "mats" in your cat's fur? A mat occurs when your cat's fur gets tangled and knotted. This can happen for a variety of reasons, including something as common as shedding. Matted fur can form on a cat of any age, but long-haired felines have a higher risk of experiencing this.
If your kitty has mats, you are going to want to detangle them. For the comfort of your cat and to avoid future issues, this is a must-do. There are a handful of techniques you can try when detangling your cat's mats. Try the different methods to find what your furry friend is happiest with. Techniques used to detangle matted cat fur include:
- Mat combs
- Using a wide-tooth comb
Using scissors to remove mats is not recommended because it can be dangerous and puts your cat at risk for cuts. Read on as we discuss each dematting method and what tools are the best for the job.
Techniques To Detangle Matted Cat Fur
Dematting combs or fur rakes are specifically made to cut the fur as your comb through it. The recessed blades of these combs are most efficient when you can get under your cat's mat. One way to get under the mat is to tease the fur at the base of the skin using a comb.
With the fur pulled up a bit, you can use your mat comb to "saw away" the fur attaching the mat. Use caution when handling your cat. Mat combs are sharp and do run the risk of cutting or irritating your pet's skin.
Wide Tooth Comb
Brushing is a normal part of cat care. As you are brushing, you may notice smaller mats. These can be worked through with your comb. When you brush over a mat, isolate it with your fingers. You can use your wide tooth comb to start at the end of your mat and work your way up.
Grasping onto the mat with your fingers helps to reduce the pull brushing can have on your cat's skin. Combs are a great tool to break apart large mats as well. If you are having trouble brushing through a mat, use your comb to gently break it into sections and tackle it piece by piece.
If brushing out the mat has become hopeless, it may be time to use your clippers to cut the mats out. Use caution with this method. A cat's skin is sensitive and thin; you want to ensure you do not cut your cat's skin with the clippers.
When removing a mat using clippers, use your brush to tease the mat away from the skin. Keep your blade parallel to the body when trimming the fur.
If you come across a mat that you don't feel comfortable cutting out or your pet is fractious for the process, ask for help. Reach out to your veterinarian or local pet groomer to avoid injury for your cat.
What Is The Best Dematting Tool For Cats?
The best dematting tool will really depend on your cat. Your cat may react to one tool and not another. It is always a good idea to play around with a couple of tools to gauge what they are most comfortable with.
We've mentioned the Furminator already. Another one of the highest-rated dematting tools is the "Pet Republique Dematting Tool." There are teeth on both sides of this sturdy tool, making it double as a useful comb.
The safest tool to use on your cat's mats would be the wide-toothed comb. These dematting tools are great and do the job they are designed for but hold risks of irritating or cutting the skin. If you are working with an unpredictable or sensitive cat, the safest method is to slowly and carefully pick apart your cat's mats with a comb.
Should I Cut My Cat's Matted Hair?
Some cat owners do cut their cat's matted hair at home using clippers. You can use clippers with a guard or a pair specifically made for pets to create a safer experience. You should only resort to using clippers if you feel comfortable and have already tried combing out the mats.
Never use scissors to cut your cat's matted hair. Using scissors for a fur trim can cause damage to the skin if your cat moves abruptly or you catch the skin in your tool.
If at any point you feel uncomfortable when cutting your cat's mats or your cat seems uncomfortable, stop the process. You can always get help from a friend, your veterinarian, or a pet groomer.
Does Coconut Oil Help Matted Fur?
Coconut oil does help matted fur. Rubbing coconut oil throughout your cat's fur can act as a natural detangler. This is a great trick to use if your comb is having trouble breaking up mats. Coconut oil is also safe to ingest and leaves your cat smelling good.
If you don't want to use coconut oil, baby powder and cat safe conditioner can also be used as a detangler for your cat's mats.
Read more on our blog post, "Should You Add Coconut Oil To Your Cat's Food?".
Why Is My Cat's Fur Suddenly Matted?
Matted fur on a cat can happen for a variety of reasons. Areas of the body your cat lies on or areas that are hard to reach for self-grooming have a higher chance of having mats. Some mats form due to shedding, especially when long-haired cats shed their undercoat.
If you notice your cat is getting mats more often and seemingly out of nowhere, it may be time for a vet check-up. With some of our furry friends, the acute appearance of mats may indicate disease. Situations like oral disease, back pain, or overall lethargy can decrease your cat's motivation to groom. A lack of grooming increases the incidents of mats.
Why is my older cat getting matted fur?
It is common for older cats to get areas of matted fur. Senior cats will have a harder time grooming, usually from varying degrees of arthritis. This affects their mobility and flexibility, making it difficult to groom all areas of the body.
Keep in mind that sudden mats may indicate something is wrong. Keep an eye on your senior cat and see your veterinarian for as-needed outside routine check-ups.
Dematting an elderly cat should be done with extreme caution as their skin is even more frail and thin than our younger pets.
Read more on our blog post, "What To Expect As Your Cat Ages."
Can A Cat Die From Matted Hair?
A cat can die from matted hair. It sounds extreme, but matted fur does become very dangerous. Mats that are left unattended are uncomfortable and can create sores and infections.
Severe cases of mats or pelted hair can restrict movement and, in some cases, cause a blockage of the intestinal tract. This type of blockage, infection turned septic, or the inability to move can all cause a cat to die,
How To Prevent Matted Fur?
Keeping your cat healthy and at the right weight will help reduce mats and promote self-grooming. Due to long-haired cats being more prone to having mats, it is recommended to have them groomed regularly.
With all cats, a great prevention tip is to brush your cat weekly. They usually welcome the attention, and this bonding time prevents mats and stops those forming before they worsen.
Possibly the most well-known brand of combs to help fight excess fur growth and shedding is the Furminator. They have dematting tools that are designed specifically for cats and come highly recommended by many owners.
You can keep tabs on the condition of the fur too. Fur that is in poor condition mats more easily. Improve the condition of fur by introducing diet change. Adding wet food to the mix could help in some cases. You can introduce oils to your cat's diet or routine as well. Coconut oil is a great choice like we mentioned. Fish oil capsules are another consideration for improving the fur's condition.
Read more on our blog post, "7 Reasons Why You Should Groom Your Cat Regularly".
There are a few ways to deal with mats. When using any of these methods, you want your cat to feel comfortable and the least stressed as possible. It is important to make brushing a positive experience for your cat to make it easier to do in the future. Prevention is key in avoiding some severe discomfort down the road, but mats still happen. Keep up with regular brushing and try to tackle mats as you come across them. We hope you found this article helpful and informative when dealing with your cat's mats.
Some of our members discussed methods of removing mats on a forum, "Mats On My Main Coon, What's The Best Way To Get Rid Of Them?".