Mats on Tummy - Any Tricks?

ObeseChess

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Hello!

According to my vet this is common in senior cats so I don't feel too bad - as Sassy, a very long-haired cat, has gotten older, she has developed some mats on her stomach. For the most part, she absolutely loves being brushed, and we get a good brushing session in every day, so everywhere else is nice and soft. This is great, except that like most cats she doesn't tolerate more than a brief belly rub, so I can't brush the fur on her stomach for any appreciable amount of time. Last night we had a weird moment where she rolled onto her back and let me trim a number of them off with shears, but not all of them, and not only am I not banking on that happening again, but I don't want the ones I did remove to come back - the mats are fairly close to the skin, making getting at them with a de-matting rake a tricky proposition.

Can any more experienced owners recommend some tips and tricks for prevention and removal?

Thanks!
 

sivyaleah

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Being as I have a grooming adverse cat (though not a senior) I empathize with your plight.

First, if she has mats already that are more or less pelted to skin, you really should not try to tackle it yourself. Cats have very thin skin, more so in seniors. The chance of causing an injury is pretty high if the cat isn't cooperative.

You could ask your vet to shave her down, just the belly area but this would require some sedation. Starting from scratch would then help you keep it under control better.

BTW, I don't' know if you literally meant you brush her or just use that term loosely to mean grooming with any tool. Brushes do little to a long hair cats coat. I would not even try to use a dematting tool if the mats are already attached to skin as you'll wind up pulling at them and causing her pain.

You need a good metal comb, one with teeth far apart and the other end, closer together for every day grooming and, if lucky can also pick apart bigger mats with it. I use one from Chris Christenson called a Greyhound comb; Buttercomb is another name for it. 7.5" size, pricey but worth it. The breeder I got my girl from (Maine Coon) used to groom professionally and swears by these and she was right.

If you want to try to do this at home, I suggest asking if you can get a prescription for Gabapentin which is a great medication which should knock her out long enough for you to tackle some of those mats. Caveat being, it takes like 2-3 hours to fully kick in and you need to keep an eye on the cat as they will become pretty loopy on it. But once it fully kicks in wow, it's quite something. I can usually work my girl over for nearly 2 full hours before she starts coming out of it (it leave the body fairly quickly, another plus). It comes as a liquid, which clearly tastes terrible but we manage to get it in her. I believe there is a pill version too if that's easier. Not all vets will prescribe it but ours knows us quite well and knows we are fully capable. Luckily as Luna is getting older she's a bit less adverse to grooming so I've been managing to keep mats at bay for months by doing a quick go-over daily.

I do use a dematting tool and a dematting "saw" for smaller mats which I can get to easily. But the comb is my every day tool.

Last be very careful when using any kind of scissor. Only use blunt edges types, if you must. Again, their skin is very thin and it is way too easy to poke through. Sometimes you don't even know until an infection pops up. Better safe than sorry.
 
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ObeseChess

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Thank you for the kind words! Yes, she has to be sedated for some dental work by the end of the year but was hoping to help her get more comfortable until then if possible - not that she’s showing any discomfort or unhappiness but those can’t feel great! As far as any sort of scissors or de-matting rakes, I am using my fingers as a barrier between the skin and the fur to avoid any injury. She’s been pretty cooperative again today on both and we got a few more “dreadlocks” out. As far as brushes go, she loves the silicone grooming glove we got her for daily petting and brushing sessions but she also loves the greyhound comb (which we also have) and the furminator. She is very agreeable to being brushed and combed, which makes my job very easy, I just feel bad that her tummy area is comparatively so neglected as it reminds me of how she looked when I rescued her. Even if she doesn’t mind, I do! But the shave may be the best course of action. Thank you!
 

vince

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My cats all tolerate--even like--belly rubs, so I can tease small mats apart with my fingers before they're a problem. Sounds like your cat likes them, too. Maybe routine de-matting sessions can be a part of your normal petting and grooming once you get the current situation straightened out.

Furminator sessions do definitely help. Two of the three like them; the other, not very much.
 
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ObeseChess

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My cats all tolerate--even like--belly rubs, so I can tease small mats apart with my fingers before they're a problem. Sounds like your cat likes them, too. Maybe routine de-matting sessions can be a part of your normal petting and grooming once you get the current situation straightened out.

Furminator sessions do definitely help. Two of the three like them; the other, not very much.
Yeah, they had historically never been a problem so they caught me off guard - "whoa, where did all THESE come from?" Will definitely be more vigilant in the future once we get this all sorted out.
 

valentine319

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I recommend shaving tummies which the vet can do quickly. Have them do armpits too.

if you do it yourself use something like this but you must hold the hair close to the base so you don’t hurt the skin.

LovinPup Pet Mat Remover Easily removes Mats Professionally from Your Dogs & Cats and Straightens Tuft & Knotted Pet Hair. Extremely Gentle on Pets, Works on Sensitive Skin Too!
by LovinPup
Learn more: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B088B3F8R4/?tag=thecatsite
 

LokiWolf

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I echo getting her belly shaved along with her armpits. I honestly would never cut mats that are close to the skin out. It can be too easy to get the skin and their skin acts like nylon panty hose easily. Metal comb slicker brush and a pin brush. I honestly don't recommend a furminator cause it damages the top coat. A deshedding rake might be better.
 

valentine319

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I echo getting her belly shaved along with her armpits. I honestly would never cut mats that are close to the skin out. It can be too easy to get the skin and their skin acts like nylon panty hose easily. Metal comb slicker brush and a pin brush. I honestly don't recommend a furminator cause it damages the top coat. A deshedding rake might be better.
honestly vet assistants can do it so fast. Their shavers also have a lower sound. It’s worth the cash. Cutting them is so easy to do. I say just get it done at one time and toss the stress.
 
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