Matted fur on cats can cause irritation, pain, infection and even excessive hair balls. On this page we will look at examples of cats with matted hair, common places where matted hair forms and how to treat a cat with matted fur. We will give you step by step guides, examples and videos to assist you removing matted hair from your cat.
Cats spend a large amount of their life grooming. They are good at preventing matted hair but occasionally will need help in difficult to reach areas. Sometimes cats can actually make matted hair worse by grooming over a particle stuck in the hair. Matted hair in long haired cats is common but mats can also develop in short haired cats.
What is Matted Hair?
Most cats have fur consisting of a soft undercoat that keeps them warm and a course over coat of guard hairs that protect the coat from the elements. When your cat sheds their fur the undercoat will loosen and come away from the skin. If this is not removed when brushing, it can remain on the skin and tangle with the guard hairs. Your cat can make this tangle worse when grooming. Small particles like dust and even cat litter can be picked up on your cats coat. When your cat grooms over the item they can spread the hair around it, this can form a knot and make it worse.
The Negative Effects of Cat Matts
• Irritation on the skin
• Extensive pain
• Excessive hair balls that could lead to intestine blockages
Small mats will usually only cause irritation on your cats skin. Larger cat mats can potentially cause a lot of pain. A cat with large mats may find it difficult to rest or lie down in certain positions, this can cause problems with sleeping. Pain and a combination of lack of sleep and irritation could even lead to anxiety. Matted hair that forms around a cats back legs can potentially pick up faeces and urine. If these items are absorbed into a tight matt it can cause infection on your cats skin. Matted fur can cause irritation, this irritation can potentially cause a cat to over groom themselves. Over grooming will cause a large amount of hair entering the stomach and intestines. This can cause excessive hair balls and even blockages in the intestines.
Where Does Matted Hair on Cats Form?
Cat mats can form anywhere on your cats coat. Nevertheless there are some more common places where your cat cannot reach when grooming, this is usually where cat matted fur forms:
• Behind the ears
• Around the groin
• At the top of the back legs
• At the rear of the back
• Under the arms
• Around the collar
Many people ask us how to detangle matted hair or if you can brush matted fur out. Each mat or type of mat needs to be treated in different ways. It if firstly important to remember than your cat has incredibly thin skin. Never tackle a mat with scissors, it will only end in disaster.
Step by Step Guide to Removing Matted Hair From Your Cat
Small Mat Forming: If your cat has fur stuck together either by self grooming or debris being caught on the fur you should try and brush it out. This will help stop the fur forming into a cat mat.
Small Mats: If your cat has a small mat (know bigger than the tip of your thumb) try and gently pick the mat apart. Alternatively you can use a mat remover. Always hold under the mat so you are not cutting or pulling your cats soft skin. Once the mat is picked apart or removed you should brush over it to make sure the entire mat has gone.
Medium Mats: If your cat has a medium sized mat that cannot be picked apart take your cat to the local groomers. They will be able to shave the mat off.
Large Mats: If your cat has large mats or a large amount of matted fur then take them to the vet. The vet should be able to shave the mated hair off. If the matted hair is severe then the vet may have to give your cat anaesthetic as the process of removing large amounts of matted hair can be painful.
★ If your cat does have a large amount of matted hair then you must get it treated. Do not be embarrassed to take your cat to the vet or groomers. It is important to rectify the problem so you can start again, rather than hoping the problem goes away. It wont! And will only get worse.
Video of How to Safely Pick Apart Matted Hair
Prevention is Key
The key to good cat fur care is prevention. You should try and brush a long haired cat everyday and a short haired cat once a week. If you are having problems brushing your cats fur then please check out our
cat grooming tips.
Grooming a cat regularly has multiple benefits. It can build a closer bond between you and your cat, help identify lumps or injuries at an early age and keeps their coat and skin in good condition. If you find it impossible to groom your cat then take them to a groomers regularly. A professional groomer can give your cat a thorough groom and remove mats at the early stage. They can also discuss the option or clipping your cats coat short.
★ Top Tip: Start grooming your cat as a kitten. A cat accustomed to grooming from a young age will learn to tolerate being groomed. Remember to reward good behaviour.
We feel the below video has summed up this page very well.
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