It’s the curse of long-haired cats: cat matted fur. Mats are tricky because different cats have different temperaments, so while one kitty might love being combed at home for hours on end, another might need a trip to the groomers to get rid of their mats. The key to dealing with mats is getting into an effective brushing/grooming routine.
Scissors are one option for dealing with mats – cutting through the middle of the mat and then gently working it apart with fingers and comb. However, even when pet owners are careful with scissors, there is still a risk of nicking a cat’s sensitive skin, especially if you have a squirmy cat who doesn’t like grooming. A lot of pet owners prefer to avoid this risk altogether by not using scissors or other sharp tools to deal with mats. Here are some alternative tips and tricks for getting rid of mats without cutting them out:
Dematting Brushes for Cats
Since brushing is the best way to prevent mats, you need to find a good brush or comb. There are a lot of different options to choose from, so experiment with a few until you find one that works for your kitty. Here are a few suggestions:
- Cat combs with two rows
- Dematter cat brush
- Rotating tooth comb
- Moulting/shedding combs (with long and short teeth)
- Dog/flea combs
There are endless varieties of combs and brushes available online and in pet stores, and remember you can also look into dog brushes and combs or even human ones as well.
Cat Brushing Routines
Again, you can pre-emptively treat mats by brushing your cat daily, and there are strategic times of year to consider when developing your brushing routine: for example, brushing more regularly during shedding season can help prevent hairballs from forming. However, some groomers recommend avoiding combing too much during the springtime because of problems with static.
When and how you approach your cat for brushing can also be important. Some pet owners suggest brushing and grooming during nap time if your cat sleeps through it. You can also use a slow process of acclimation for cats who really dislike brushing. First, give the cat time to just see and nuzzle the brush; rub it against the scent glands on their cheeks until they get accustomed to the smell. Then slowly and gently begin brushing, rewarding your cat with treats periodically for calm and accepting responses.
Other Treatments for How to Unmat Cat Fur
There are a few other ways you can proactively prevent mats or make them easier to loosen in addition to brushing. Try some of these tricks:
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- Natural looseners – Treating a mat with natural household substances like baby powder, corn starch, coconut oil, or olive oil can help loosen the mats and make them easier to brush out.
- Humidifier – Keeping a humidifier in the house can combat springtime static and make it easier to brush your kitty without getting a shock.
- Diet – Feeding a cat dry food has been linked to more mats, whereas some Ragdoll cat owners have found that higher oil content in a cat’s diet (i.e. fish oil capsules) have helped prevent mats from forming.
- Calming treats – If your cat positively cannot stand grooming, you can look for natural calming treats infused with chamomile to soothe them while you brush.
If the process is just too stressful to do at home, you can always take your cat to a groomer for mat treatments and to see if your groomer has any recommendations for daily maintenance. Lion cuts are one option through a groomer, though some pet owners prefer to avoid them because of concerns about a cat’s hair growing back properly.
If you’re nervous about sharp objects around your kitty, you are not alone. Scissors might not be the best option for getting rid of mats in cats who tend to squirm or put up a fight, but fortunately there are a lot of other grooming options to try before resorting to cutting out mats.
What are some ways you get rid of cat mats without cutting them out? What prevention tricks work for your kitty?