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How to Get Mats Out of Cat Fur and Prevent Them in the Future

We get it, and we’ve all been there. You are doing your best, but somehow your cat always ends up with mats all over the place, and maybe you feel like not the best pet parent because of it. 

Luckily, there are a few ways to remove the mats from your cat’s fur without causing further discomfort, so you can keep your cat feeling comfy and looking glamorous. When you get ready to demat your furry friend, it is important that you do this when your cat is in a calm and relaxed state. Trying to demat a cat that is already agitated likely will be less than a pleasant experience for either of you. 

What Tools Do I Need?

Before you try to demat a cat, there are a few tools you should get together in order to make the dematting process as easy and successful as possible. These include:

  • Blunt-end scissors
  • A fine-toothed comb
  • A Spray bottle and pet-safe conditioner
  • Cornstarch
  • Cat treats

Steps for Successful Dematting

Step 1: Prepare Your Cat’s Fur

It is best to start by preparing your cat’s fur, specifically in the areas where it is matted. You can do this by sprinkling cornstarch over the matted areas and gently working it in with your fingers. 

Gently try to pull the mat up and away from your cat’s skin so that you are able to see where the skin is. It is important to take care when doing this so that the process is as comfortable as it can be for your cat. 

If your pet begins to resist the process at any point, take a break and attempt to soothe your cat by speaking in a calm and quiet voice and petting it gently. 

Step 2: Cut the Mats

Using your blunt-ended scissors, hold them perpendicular to the skin and gently slide them along the skin and into the mat, cutting up and in. Be careful and do your best to avoid pulling your cat’s fur while you complete this step. 

When you do this successfully, reward your cat with a treat. Continue this process until you have separated the mats, and then start working with your fingers to pull away the loose pieces. 

It is also important to sanitize any equipment you plan to use before making contact with your cat’s skin, so as to ensure that no bacteria is transferred. Alcohol wipes are a great option for this, especially unscented wipes as some fragrances can cause skin irritation. 

Cutting your cat’s mats out of their fur is generally not highly recommended, so it is important to be extremely careful and try other methods before resorting to this. 

Step 3: Comb the Mats

Once you have a separated piece of a mat, take your fine-toothed comb and gently comb through the mat while using your non-dominant hand to hold the mat such that the comb does not pull your cat’s fur out. 

Start combing at the top of the hairs and work your way down, rather than working from the bottom up. For particularly stubborn sections, use only the front four pegs of the comb for more control. Spraying the mats with conditioner can help make it easier for the comb to glide. 

Additional Tips

Aside from these steps, you can also invest in a mat breaker if you find that using scissors is too difficult. Mat breakers tend to be smaller than brushes and combs, and they can help you separate and break apart larger mats in your cat’s fur so that they are easier to remove. Just like with any other tool, mat breakers should be used with care in order to prevent pulling out your cat’s fur and causing them pain and discomfort. 

If your cat’s mats are particularly serious and hard to break apart, it is best to bring your cat to a groomer or vet so that the mats can be taken care of by a professional. A groomer can comb or shave off mats that are only affecting your cat’s fur. 

If the mats are affecting your cat’s skin, too, they may end up causing irritation and inflammation. When this is the case, it is necessary to bring your cat to your veterinarian, where they will be able to appropriately remove the mats and take care of the skin that has been affected.

How Can Matting Be Prevented?

Cats groom themselves regularly, and this alone can help prevent matting, but when this is not enough, there are a few steps you can follow that will help make a difference. 

For one, brushing your cat regularly plays a huge role in the prevention of matting. Brushing your cat once a day, rather than one a week, for example, helps prevent mats before they start. Daily brushing gets rid of loose hairs that are stuck in your cat’s fur as it sheds, and these loose hairs are a common culprit for matting. Grooming your cat’s undercoat as well as the top coat is also crucial because the undercoat is where mats begin. 

Additionally, having your cat professionally groomed on a regular basis can be a big help in terms of matting, especially if your cat has particularly difficult fur. If your cat dislikes grooming, a way to help with this is by acclimating them to touch and rewarding them for their patience and good behavior during grooming. Finishing your brushing sessions with a treat can help your cat make positive associations. 

When you successfully remove mats from your cat’s fur, make sure to thoroughly brush over the areas where the mats sat beforehand. This can help keep the fur from gathering back in those spots, leading to more mats in the same problem areas. Cats tend to neglect areas that have been matted before, so pay special attention to these spots.

Your cat’s diet and nutrition are another huge factor when it comes to the condition of your cat’s fur. Diets that are high in vitamin E and omega-3 fatty acids can lead to a healthier coat, so if you find that your cat’s coat is problematic, it might be time to talk to your veterinarian about a change in diet. 

Using the correct tools for your cat’s hair type is another important step, and if you are unsure of what kind of comb or brush is best for your cat, a professional groomer will be able to help. 

Dr. Brite’s Pet Pure Cleansing Wipes may also be a great help in the prevention of mats. These wipes eliminate pet odors while leaving your cat’s coat healthy and shiny, thanks to our alcohol-free formula. These wipes allow you to reduce the frequency of your pet’s baths, and may in turn help keep your cat’s coat healthy. If you do find that you need to bathe your cat more frequently, however, castile soap may be a good choice. 

Castile soap helps keep your pet’s coat moisturized because of the various oils it contains, such as olive oil, coconut oil, and rosehip oil. Our Citrus Castile Soap is cruelty-free, vegan, and contains no toxic chemicals. It also does not leave behind a greasy residue and has a natural formulation with a refreshing citrus scent that can help reduce pet odors. 

Takeaway

All cat owners have likely experienced matting in their pet’s fur at one point or another, especially with cats who have long hair. Matting can result from several things, but mats most often occur when the hair that a cat has shed does not get removed from its coat, and ultimately creates a knot. 

When you spot mats in your pet’s fur, it is important to prepare the fur by sprinkling cornstarch on the mats before you attempt to get rid of them. Using a fine-toothed comb can also make the process of dematting your cat easier, and you should comb from the top of the mat and work your way down. More severe mats that you cannot seem to get rid of might call for a trip to the vet or the groomer. 

To prevent mats, make sure to brush your cat every day and keep its coat healthy by ensuring that your cat’s diet has sufficient vitamin E and omega-3 fatty acids. Ensuring that you are also using the proper grooming tools for your cat’s fur can also make a big difference. Mats are a common hindrance, but they are both preventable and treatable if you take great care. 

For more pet care tips, check out Dr. Brite’s blog for helpful info for all things clean!

Sources:

https://www.thesprucepets.com/how-to-de-mat-a-cat-552043

https://www.wikihow.com/Prevent-Matted-Cat-Hair

https://www.prestigeanimalhospital.com/services/cats/blog/matting-cats#:~:text=If%20your%20cat's%20fur%20becomes,of%20a%20prolonged%20brushing%20session.

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