Long hair mats - brush

Cat.mama

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I have a 10 year old long hair cat who gets mats sometimes. She is starting to develop mats on her back that make it uncomfortable for petting.

The mats are usually on her underside and will get shaven out when she goes to vet for sanity trim/ nails. I’m realizing more as I read online , this is not a good route . These guys are not groomers , they are techs. Who say , IF we can get them and shave them, we will.



My question. My cat is sassy. She will tolerate a small amount of brushing , only when she comes for biscuit walks across my lap. She has only began to tolerate and accept the last couple of years. Things go okay if there is no mats , but when she has mats she responds with death claws and it kind of ruins our bonding time. I am able to brush a little bit once she settles , but again once I hit a mat , the claws come out.



In the past i have given her gabapentin and set a day aside to cutting out mats. This can go two ways though. There is a chance of it jusy not going well at all. I don’t like this route and would like to keep it our normal routine



Over the last 8 months or so her fur has become incredibly covered in cat litter dust. I believe this is the reason for the uptick in mats. I see it in all my cats.



Are there any recommendations as to what kinds of brushes I should be using?



I use a two sided pin bush and recently just started using a slicker brush. (Wow I never knew she had so much hair after using the slicker!) I feel like a lot of the brushes I have tried are very hard on their skin. They start to flench their backs. I’ve tried furminator but she runs. I was curious about the dematting brush, but wondered how I could use that in a causal setting , if I would hurt her. I also wonder , becuase of the dust build up, brushes do not move smoothly thru the hair.

I also think I am making the matting worse some how as the more i brush , it seems she gets more mats. I can tell when I brush her with the softer brush , I guess because of the dust , her hair just seems so stuck together.



I think a groomer would be traumatic experience for my cat. My cats are not ppl social and visits for nail trims alone send them over the edge. I’m in a small city and we would have to drive a ways to get to one. It’s extremely hot where I live, that’s a stress factor I take in to account.



I am using the same brushes for my short hair , who is overweight and starting to get tons of dandruff. Seems like since the dust picked up, she hates brushing now.



Any advice appreciated.
 

Alldara

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If she really dislikes brushing, in my opinion, shave last a lot longer and so is less traumatic. Plus then no painful mats and no gabapentin being given frequently for brushing. When we look at stress, we also have to think about how frequently stressing our cats out isn't great either. Then, if we can't get them used to the frequent thing, can we do something that might be a bit bigger stress, but much less frequently.

You could see if there's a groomer in your area who would come to your home. Or get a pet razer and do it yourself.
Since it's very hot, the shave would also keep your cat cooler.

I opted for getting a clipper myself and I did Nobel's belly (or my wife did). Then, we weren't constantly having to clean him so he was happier. The shave lasts a long time.

For your other cat, I'd recommend some coconut oil as a suppliment. It might help the dandruff.
 
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Cat.mama

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If she really dislikes brushing, in my opinion, shave last a lot longer and so is less traumatic. Plus then no painful mats and no gabapentin being given frequently for brushing. When we look at stress, we also have to think about how frequently stressing our cats out isn't great either. Then, if we can't get them used to the frequent thing, can we do something that might be a bit bigger stress, but much less frequently.

You could see if there's a groomer in your area who would come to your home. Or get a pet razer and do it yourself.
Since it's very hot, the shave would also keep your cat cooler.

I opted for getting a clipper myself and I did Nobel's belly (or my wife did). Then, we weren't constantly having to clean him so he was happier. The shave lasts a long time.

For your other cat, I'd recommend some coconut oil as a suppliment. It might help the dandruff.
hi thanks for the advice. About a year and a half ago I started getting her bi yearly turned quarterly sanitary trims because she was getting messy and spending a lot of time cleaning that area. It has helped greatly with hairballs and I’m not constantly chasing her with the scissors. I get her complete back booty and down the back and inner legs. I think she enjoys the relief.

Is there a risk of cutting skin if using a razor like with scissors? Is yours a quiet razor?

I have thought about complete shave in the past as they have so many hairballs . I also feel we got a very late start in life at the brushing game and feel like we have made so much progress. That brushing is feasible for upkeep . It’s just a matter of .. finding the secrets or tricks to getting the mats out. But there may not be any.
 
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Cat.mama

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These are the brushes I use. They are from target.
While I do not feel they are too harsh, the slicker brush does leave white scratch type marks on my skin , when rubbed on my arm. These are the most gentle brushes I have found up to this point.
I will sometimes use a plastic comb for dandruff on the shorthair but this caused a ton of static electricity.
 

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GoldyCat

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For longhair cats a comb usually works better than a brush. I use one with metal teeth that are rounded at the tips so they don't scratch the kitty's skin. The comb will get all the way through the fur where a brush generally just gets the top layer.
There are a lot of different combs available from amazon or one of the pet supply stores.
 

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For my (now late) geriatric cat he just hated brushing and there was no around it. But they get sore bones and joints just like humans, so I think it was the brush going over and over all that...its not nice.

To me, it's not feasible if it's something causing daily stress to my cat and I did not have to medicate him. Since you have to medicate her, it makes more sense to shave and have her medicated only a few times a year rather than weekly. There are tricks for mats, but if she gets them anyway and you have to stress over it, shaving sounds a ton easier.

This is the one I have. It has a built in guard so without using any of the attachments, you need to only be careful of the nipples and any skin tags/lumps. But you can use one of the attachments for a longer shave.

https://www.amazon.ca/gp/product/B07SDMWFRL/?tag=
 

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As far as mat removal goes, clippers are almost always safer than scissors. Cat skin is so thin, and so loose that it's very easy to accidentally snip skin when you cut out a mat. Clippers go between the mat and the skin and the blade goes against the skin, making it much safer. The key is you MUST get under the mat, clippers won't clip through them.
I'm a groomer who has groomed cats. I also had a long haired cat that would develop mats because he hated being brushed or combed. I found he tolerated a wide tooth comb much better than a brush of any description. A fine tooth comb pulled too much undercoat at a time and he didn't like it. Some combs come with wide teeth on one end and narrower teeth on the other end. I would suggest trying that first.
If the techs are able to get in and get mats out if nothing else is working, I say let them do it. A good technician is incredibly skilled at not only handling clippers but safely handling cats.
If you can find a mobile groomer, that would probably be a good option. Most groomers prefer that dog owners don't stay (dogs get all excited and antsy when their owners are in the room, making it difficult and dangerous to safely trim them) but cats don't usually act up. We've had a lot of cat owners who stay for the process before and it actually goes more smoothly.
As far as the litter dust, have you changed brands or noticed the litter being more dusty than usual?
I hope you're able to find a good solution :)
 
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Cat.mama

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For my (now late) geriatric cat he just hated brushing and there was no around it. But they get sore bones and joints just like humans, so I think it was the brush going over and over all that...its not nice.

To me, it's not feasible if it's something causing daily stress to my cat and I did not have to medicate him. Since you have to medicate her, it makes more sense to shave and have her medicated only a few times a year rather than weekly. There are tricks for mats, but if she gets them anyway and you have to stress over it, shaving sounds a ton easier.

This is the one I have. It has a built in guard so without using any of the attachments, you need to only be careful of the nipples and any skin tags/lumps. But you can use one of the attachments for a longer shave.

Amazon.ca
Thank you !
 
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Cat.mama

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As far as mat removal goes, clippers are almost always safer than scissors. Cat skin is so thin, and so loose that it's very easy to accidentally snip skin when you cut out a mat. Clippers go between the mat and the skin and the blade goes against the skin, making it much safer. The key is you MUST get under the mat, clippers won't clip through them.
I'm a groomer who has groomed cats. I also had a long haired cat that would develop mats because he hated being brushed or combed. I found he tolerated a wide tooth comb much better than a brush of any description. A fine tooth comb pulled too much undercoat at a time and he didn't like it. Some combs come with wide teeth on one end and narrower teeth on the other end. I would suggest trying that first.
If the techs are able to get in and get mats out if nothing else is working, I say let them do it. A good technician is incredibly skilled at not only handling clippers but safely handling cats.
If you can find a mobile groomer, that would probably be a good option. Most groomers prefer that dog owners don't stay (dogs get all excited and antsy when their owners are in the room, making it difficult and dangerous to safely trim them) but cats don't usually act up. We've had a lot of cat owners who stay for the process before and it actually goes more smoothly.
As far as the litter dust, have you changed brands or noticed the litter being more dusty than usual?
I hope you're able to find a good solution :)
Thank you all this info. I do actually have one of those large combs that is double sided in size from long ago. She has become much more tolerant and accept over the past year in general, I’m going to pull it out and give that a try.
Is it possible that I’m making her mats worse , or attributing to the mats the way I’m brushing her? Just over the last several days it’s like her back has become a minefield. To the point she is telling me, it hurts to be pet. We had taken a break for a couple weeks with the brushing as she was not coming for it. Over the last few days, maybe becuase we have started again , I see them big and sticking out. I can see dandruff sitting around the area where they are.
I do want to say , I am making myself aware of how important brushing is. Videos and articles. Her and her twin were born feral. For the first 8 years of her life , she was very much a “don’t touch me cat” I say she was raised by my dog, they were inseparable. After he passed , she changed . Affection now my direction! Very loving , semi lap cat but will still scratch your eyes out if she’s displeased haha.
Anyhow , I just mean to say , we are behind on that bond and we are both learning limits . I think she’s going to do fabulous down the line with brushing , as long as she doesn’t realize what’s happening.
I think I’m going to do as you suggested and let the vet do this round to try and clear her up. From there stick to a good routine of everyday and see how that goes. I only worried about that as they say very bluntly , we only do what we can do .
As for the dust . The litter quality has gotten very bad. I have made attempts at purchasing two other brands and haven’t had good results. That is another big hurdle we are facing.
 

iPappy

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Thank you all this info. I do actually have one of those large combs that is double sided in size from long ago. She has become much more tolerant and accept over the past year in general, I’m going to pull it out and give that a try.
Is it possible that I’m making her mats worse , or attributing to the mats the way I’m brushing her? Just over the last several days it’s like her back has become a minefield. To the point she is telling me, it hurts to be pet. We had taken a break for a couple weeks with the brushing as she was not coming for it. Over the last few days, maybe becuase we have started again , I see them big and sticking out. I can see dandruff sitting around the area where they are.
I do want to say , I am making myself aware of how important brushing is. Videos and articles. Her and her twin were born feral. For the first 8 years of her life , she was very much a “don’t touch me cat” I say she was raised by my dog, they were inseparable. After he passed , she changed . Affection now my direction! Very loving , semi lap cat but will still scratch your eyes out if she’s displeased haha.
Anyhow , I just mean to say , we are behind on that bond and we are both learning limits . I think she’s going to do fabulous down the line with brushing , as long as she doesn’t realize what’s happening.
I think I’m going to do as you suggested and let the vet do this round to try and clear her up. From there stick to a good routine of everyday and see how that goes. I only worried about that as they say very bluntly , we only do what we can do .
As for the dust . The litter quality has gotten very bad. I have made attempts at purchasing two other brands and haven’t had good results. That is another big hurdle we are facing.
I completely understand where you're coming from. My cat was gorgeous, but he hated being brushed and he had medical problems that made him very frail. It stressed me out when he would get upset. Several times he got matting on his stomach, sides, chest, and back legs and the technicians would clip them out for me.
My Lila is not long haired, but she was "raised" by my dog, Tag, and after his passing she bonded to me much more strongly than she was. They sound very similar in that way. :)
If the vet is able to get the matting removed, this will give you a clean slate to work with. I would start with the comb and stay to her favorite areas, if any, after the mats are removed. (Lila loves her back and sides combed, and her chest and back legs are "iffy", lol!) Tell the vet you aren't aiming for pretty or perfection, you just want her comfortable. I think sometimes vets and techs are unsure about doing these things because they're afraid the client will be upset if there are shaved and short spots here and there. Make sure they know what your plans are.
Is she a picky eater? My cats eat a bit of egg yolks and a bit of fish oil, and people comment on their coats despite their ages (10-16 years.) I Think it helps with keeping the coat quality good, and fights dandruff, which might help prevent problems in the future.
 
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