Matted Cat Hair
When a cat's fur becomes knotted and entangled, this is known as matting and left unaddressed, can become painful and dangerous to their health.
In this post, we'll explain why matting happens, whether matted fur needs to be shaved, how to have a cat safely and effectively dematted, and how matted fur can be prevented in the future. Also: when to see a groomer.
How do cats self-groom?
Cats are notoriously fastidious self-groomers, and spend much of their day grooming their fur. You may have felt those rough bumps on your cat's tongue if they've ever licked your hand. These tiny, backward-facing barbs are called papillae are there to remove loose hair and dirt. The barbs also promote circulation in the skin.
Flexibility is another advantage a cat has while grooming, as it can bend its head and body to reach almost anywhere on the body.
Why do cats get matted fur?
There are several reasons cats can get matted fur. This condition happens in mostly long-haired cats when knots and tangles develop in their fur.
When a cat sheds their undercoat, the top coat may retain fur, which can get caught. Your feline friend's fur can also become entwined and matted if it gets dirty or oily. Places that involve a lot of movement, such as under the chest, around the collar and in between the legs can also become vulnerable to matting if fur is not properly maintained.
Despite the fact that cats are usually excellent at self-grooming, matting can and still does occur. Especially with longhaired cats, your kitty has lots of fur to attend to, and even the most diligent kitty companion may not find everything. Areas where a lot of movement or rubbing happen can also prove difficult to keep clean.
Some cats have health issues that make it difficult to groom themselves as frequently or as thoroughly as they'd like. Dental health problems may make it painful to use their mouths. Age and obesity may also be factors, along with conditions such as arthritis that inhibit a cat's flexibility to properly groom themselves and prevent matting.
Why has my cat's fur gone lumpy?
A buildup of natural oils in a cat's coat can lead to greasy, lumpy and clumpy fur. Self-grooming serves an important purpose in that it redistributes these oils evenly throughout the fur, but if they don't groom sufficiently or frequently enough, these oils can accumulate and mats can form.
What are the dangers of fur matting?
The longer matted fur is left unaddressed, the more problematic - and painful - it becomes as knots tighten and cause discomfort and potential health issues for your cat.
Because cats sometimes conceal their discomfort out of instinct, it's important to ensure your cat is getting groomed appropriately and that fur matting isn't becoming an issue. Also note any changes in behavior.
Over time, mats become itchy and hot on your kitty's skin, leading to inflammation, irritation and possible infection. The mats also become tighter.
How can I remove matted cat hair?
If your cat's fur becomes matted, you can attempt to comb or brush it out with your fingers or by using a mat breaker, which are smaller than grooming brushes and may help to detangle mats that haven't grown too tight.
However, with some mats there's a risk that your cat will become stressed with a prolonged brushing session or that brushing will cause pain. We always tell cat owners to never use scissors in an attempt to cut mats out.
What may have begun as a minor nuisance can lead to cases of extreme matting, which may require the cat to be put under anesthesia and shaved.
When it comes to finding out how to remove seriously matted cat hair, it's best to schedule an appointment with our professional groomers in Farmington Hills. If your cat has matted hair, we can assess them and recommend a course of action.
If the mats are only impacting the fur, the groomer will likely comb or shave them using electric clippers. However, if the mats are also affecting the skin, your cat may require veterinary care to remove them and to correct any skin irritation and inflammation that may have occurred.
While each cat is different and will have different needs depending on your cat's breed, their coat type and length of hair, we recommend most should have a monthly grooming session.
We offer pet grooming services for all breeds of cats and dogs one day each week and can help you to keep your furry friend's fur clean, tidy and healthy.
Our groomers have the experience and knowledge to groom pet coats of all types and work with animals of a wide variety of temperaments. Grooming services include brushing and de-matting, full haircuts, bathing, nail trimming, de-shedding treatments, breed-specific haircuts and ear cleaning.
How can I prevent fur matting?
There are a few things you can do to prevent your cat's fur from becoming matting, including:
- Regular daily brushing using a soft-bristle brush to start (then one that's appropriate for your cat's fur)
- Discussing diet and nutrition with your Farmington Hills veterinarian (perhaps include more vitamin E and Omega 3 fatty acids to maintain a healthy coat)
- Scheduling professional grooming sessions and consulting our groomers for tips
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.