It’s not just long-haired cats who get mats. Cats with short hair do, too. Cats mat when the weather’s changing. But keep a close eye on your cat with matted fur. Mats can also be a sign of health problems.
Why do cats get mats, Thomasina? My elderly cat is just one big tangle. She’s a mess!
— Sad Cat Mom
Hi Sad Cat Mom!
That’s a great question. I have a huge mat right now! For me, that must mean the seasons are changing. But there are other reasons why cats mat, too.
Shedding Causes Matted Cat Hair
Did you know this? Cats shed in the fall, too. We have to get rid of our summer coats to make room for the denser ones we’ll need in the winter.
But shedding can cause some nasty mats, like the one I have now. So brush your cat often when the seasons are changing. That will prevent her loose undercoat from tangling itself into mats. Our human uses a metal greyhound comb, and we love that. We also love the Zoom Groom because it feels so good. And it removes an amazing amount of loose hair.
Five Other Reasons Why Cats Mat
Shedding isn’t the only reason why cats get mats in their hair. Here are some more possibilities.
1. Obesity. Grooming isn’t easy for a fat cat. Just ask my friend Pepsi about that! If your cat can’t groom herself because she’s overweight, you can help her prevent mats by brushing her several times a week. But she really should lose weight, too! An all-wet-food diet is a great way to help a fat cat slim down. And here are some easy ways for your cat to get more exercise.
2. Old age. Like elderly humans, elderly cats can get stiff and achy, and that discourages grooming. Gentle brushing will help this, too. And it will make your cat feel so good.
3. Dental Disease. This makes sense when you think about it. When our mouths hurt, we don’t feel like grooming ourselves. And when we don’t groom, we get mats.
4. Arthritis. If your cat’s back hurts, she’s not going to want to turn around to groom herself. Our human loves acupuncture for cats with arthritis, but you can buy supplements that help, too.
5. Any kind of illness. If your cat’s not feeling well, she’s not going to want to take a bath. If she suddenly stops grooming herself, a visit to the vet is in order.
The Perils Of Matted Cat Hair
Take it from me, matted cat hair doesn’t just look ugly. Big mats can be painful. And if they’re heavy, they can tear our skin. They’re a great hiding place for fleas, and they can cause skin irritation and even infections if they’re not removed. They can slow us down, too, and that’s not good when your life might depend on making a fast getaway.
How To De-Mat Your Cat
I really hate it when our human tries to de-mat me. I do not like having my hair pulled! Sometimes, if she uses scissors to cut into the mat in a couple of places to break it up, I can pull it out myself. Never use scissors close to your cat’s skin. Cutting the skin accidentally can cause a nasty wound.
To de-mat your cat…
1. Sprinkle the area with a bit of corn starch and rub it around with your fingers.
2. Gently lift the mat up so you can see your cat’s skin. You might be able to work the mat out by rubbing it between your fingers, but this will take patience on your part and the cat’s. Our human cuddles with me while she’s working on the mat. I love this, although I get annoyed after a while.
3. While holding the mat away from your cat’s skin, gently pick at it with your metal greyhound or flea comb. This, too, will take patience. But eventually, the mat will begin to fall apart so you can comb it out. Don’t pull hard. That will hurt your cat and could tear her skin. If your cat starts to complain take a break or save the rest of your de-matting for another day. Your cat’s comfort is more important than getting rid of that mat in one session.
4. If the mat is really difficult to get out, use clippers designed for cats. Believe it or not, they’re safer than scissors and are a lot more comfortable than tugging at a stubborn tangle of hair. Your patchy cat won’t look great, but at least the uncomfortable mats will be gone. Don’t shave the entire cat! We hate lion cuts.
5. Try detangling spray for cats. Rub it on with your hands though. Many of us are scared of sprays.
6. Take your cat to a groomer. For many of us, that’s the easiest solution. Try to find a groomer who specializes in cats. And go to a grooming shop, not a pet supply store. A grooming shop will be quieter and less stressful.
This video will show you how to use clippers on a cat.
I hope this helps, Sad Cat Mom. If you’ll excuse me, I have to run now. Our human has the greyhound comb in her hand.