Matted hair on your cat can be a major headache and it can turn into a proper nightmare both for you and your furry baby. Follow the following tips to de-mat your cat as easily as possible :
Matted cat hair solution: Tips and tricks
Cats are fastidious groomers and they spend at least 50 percent of their day just going through their grooming rituals. However, matted fur cannot be avoided. Matting occurs when fur gets knotted or entangled especially among long-haired cats like Maine Coons, Persians, Birmans and Siberians. Matting also happens when cats shed their undercoat the fur gets caught in the topcoat and when the fur gets dirty or oil it becomes matted.
Here are some tips and tricks to solve the matted fur dilemma:
1. Assist your cat with her grooming.
One trick to prevent and solve matted fur is to help your cat by brushing her regularly. Assist your cat with her grooming and do not wait until mats get worse. Tackle it at once and use a dematting brush to remove tangles. You may also check out our article on how to brush a cat that hates it for some great tips.
2. Promptly address the litter clumps in hair.
Each time your cat uses her litter box, litter clumps tend to cling to her back end. If this goes unattended, accumulated litter clumps could result in matted fur. Prevent this from happening by brushing out clumps and cleaning the area well. You can also try less sticky litter.
3. Do not use scissors if not necessary.
Avoid using scissors on your cat when attempting to remove tangles in her fur. You may accidentally nip her skin without doing any good. Should you need to use scissors, opt for blunt-nosed ones.
4. Never use water to remove matted hair.
When removing matted fur, especially if you have a long-haired cat, do not use water as it will just worsen the tangles.
5. Request someone to assist you.
Removing tangles and matted fur from your cat will be easier if you have an assistant, preferably someone who is familiar to your cat. You can work on your cat’s matted fur more easily if you have someone to distract your cat.
6. Make sure to use gloves.
Your cat may become squirmy or agitated so you should use gardening gloves to hold her steady. It will also protect you should your cat become aggressive.
7. Use your fingers to tease the tangles apart.
If your cat’s fur has just started to form tangles and the mat is not yet that bad, you may use your fingers to tease the tangles apart and to smoothen your cat’s fur.
8. Bring your cat to a certified groomer.
If you think you cannot handle the tangles anymore, it is best to bring your cat to a certified groomer. This way, you will avoid hurting your cat and let the professionals do what they do best.
Steps to de-mat a cat:
Here are the steps to follow to de-mat your cat:
Step 1. Prepare the materials for the dematting.
Before you start dematting your cat, make sure that these materials are in place: blunt-end scissors, spray bottle/conditioner, fine-toothed comb, cornstarch or talcum powder and cat treats. Also, make sure that your cat is relaxed such as after her mealtime and not while in the middle of a play session.
Step 2. Prepare the matted area
After making sure that your cat is relaxed and in a comfortable position, sprinkle some cornstarch or talcum powder in the matted area and gently work it around using your fingers. Tease the tangles gently and pull the mats away from the skin so that it is visible. If your cat starts to squirm, stop and try to get calm your cat down.
Step 3. Cut the matted fur with blunt-nosed scissors.
If using scissors gently slide the blunt-nosed scissors along the skin and to the mat and hold it perpendicular to the skin, making sure that the bottom blade should slide along the skin. Cut the mat and make sure not to pull the hair while cutting it.
Move the scissors over half an inch and start cutting again and you should be able to start working the separated mats apart using your fingers to pull away loose pieces.
Step 4. Proceed by combing the matted fur.
Use your non-dominant hand to hold the base of the mat with the thumb and forefinger so that hair won’t be pulled out once you start combing. Proceed by gently combing through the mats from the very tip of the hair. Slowly move down to the mat as you comb, occasionally using the first four pegs of the comb for stubborn sections.
It may take several days before you can finish de-matting your cat and depending on how severe the mats are. This will also depend on your cat’s level of patience and cooperation. If you have a severely matted cat, it may require veterinary intervention as she may have to be sedated to remove the matted fur. Prevention is key to avoid matted fur and you should brush your cat regularly to maintain her healthy and glossy coat.
What are the causes of matted cat hair?
These are the leading causes of matted hair among cats:
1. It may be due to accumulated dirt and debris.
If your cat mostly stays indoors where the environment is temperature-controlled, she may shed the whole year round. This may contribute to matted hair especially if it becomes combined along with dirt and debris in your cat’s surroundings.
2. The litter box may contribute to the problem.
Clumping litter easily gets stuck in the back end of cats, especially with long-haired cats and this may contribute to the matting. To avoid this, check and clean your cat’s back end for any stuck litter to avoid the build-up of matted fur.
3. If your cat habitually goes outside your home.
If your cat sometimes goes outdoors it is more than likely that she will collect dirt, dust, bits of leaves and other particles including tree sap. These may get stuck in her coat and may build up and become matted especially if left unattended.
4. Cat is not too keen on her grooming.
There may be times your cat may get lazy or not too keen on grooming. It may be because she has an injury or is not feeling well. If she becomes lax with her daily grooming, mats will likely appear.
5. Your cat may be unable to groom because she is overweight or has arthritis.
An arthritic, overweight or a senior cat may have limited movement and won’t be able to properly groom herself and this may result in matted fur.
If you have a long-haired cat you will most likely have to deal with matted cat hair at some point. The best way wo combat this problem is to take action early before the matting gets out of hand.
Image: istockphoto.com / Mik122