Why Does My Cat Have Matted Fur? Dealing with Dematting and More

With about 40 million hair across different square inches of their body, you would think that cats have a lot of hair problems to deal with; and it is rightly so. Their beautiful coats are often subject to hard masses called mats, and it is the most common fur-related issue cats have.

Now, you may ask, why does my cat have matted fur? Cats can have matted fur from locomotion and shedding. Also, if your cat is always on the paws, it can develop mats too. Sickness is another reason for having matted fur in cats.

In this article, you will learn of the many processes through which you can de-mat your cat’s furs and get your answers on till which point you can groom the mats and home or need to avail professional groomers.

Why does my cat have matted fur?

Cats can have matted fur from shedding.

Cats that live outdoors more than they stay inside are more prone to having mats than indoor and/or short-haired felines. During shedding, the outgoing hairs tangle with the ones that are still intact and make knots.

Matted fur can also result from more serious issues like sickness. Sick cats are not groomed as often, resulting in matted furs. An increase in weight can also cause matting. Usually, the more obese your cat is, the higher the chances of the cat developing matted fur.

How do I get rid of my cat’s matted fur?

You can get rid of your cat’s matted fur with the help of combs, scissors, and conditioners/sprays. By keeping a steady hand and by keeping the cat calm, you can patiently get rid of your cat’s matted fur.

What You Need

Firstly, you will need to relax your cat. You cannot induce a dematting session in the middle of a play session, or you may overexcite the cat and get scratched. You will need the following cat tools before you start the dematting process:

  • Scissors with blunt ends.
  • Combs with a comparatively finer tooth.
  • Spray bottles with water in them/conditioner-water mix.
  • Cornstarch or dry shampoo.
  • Cat treats.

Step 1: Prepare

Start by sprinkling cornstarch or dry shampoo where the cat has matted fur. Unless you can’t, avoid the use of talcum powder as some cats may not react well to it. 

Workaround the cornstarch with your fingers into the mat and keep pulling the mat away and outward so that you can locate the skin surface. Coax the cat all the while to prevent stressing it out.

Step 2: Cut

Take blunt-nosed scissors, and keep moving in the direction of the fur on the skin while keeping the mat perpendicular to the skin. Cut into the mat without pulling the hair. Praise and give treats to your cat if it did not fuss during this step. 

Keep separating the mat with scissors and the loose hair will easily come out.

Step 3: Comb

If you have had some loosened sections, the matted fur is weaker now. Use a comb to de-mat the remaining fur. Gently use your left hand to hold down the base of the matted fur and gently pull the hair outward without the cat feeling much of it. You can use a fine-toothed flea comb for this.

Step 4: Finish

You can end the process if there are no more furs. If there are many mats, do not plan on fixing them all in one sitting and take your time while giving some to the cat too. Your cat needs to be cooperative and patient while you work on the tangles.

Does matted hair hurt cats?

Yes. Sometimes the matted hair can be uncomfortable for your cats and hurting them is painful to some extent.

While matted fur is a common problem that develops with movements, some matted fur can be found in all cats. But if your cat has developed a lot of it for a huge lack of grooming, chances are it has reached the point of damaging your cat’s skin and at the same time is preventing moisture and oxygen from reaching the skin surface. This may weaken the tissues on the cat’s skin, and welcome parasites, causing pain to the cat in the form of irritation and infection.

Can matted fur be fixed?

Yes. Matted fur can be fixed. Even if they are too tight or too big, you may not be able to work them apart with your fingers but you can still have professional groomers fix the matted fur for you.

The best way to fix matted fur is to either use dry shampoo or an oil-based spray for detangling. With a detangling spray, you can easily comb through the matted fur with short and fast, yet gentle strokes. Following this with a slicker brush also helps to fix the matted fur. This creates less pull on its skin and reduces the pain.

Is it safe to shave a matted cat?

Yes. It is safe to shave a matted cat. When the matting is too severe, shaving is a better and less painful way of fixing the mats than just combing and using scissors.

There are different possible thoughts on whether or not it is okay to shave a cat, some saying that any grooming is disagreeable if the cat is reluctant to do it. However, not grooming a cat, ergo not clearing off the matted fur is even more inhumane as it can often give rise to painful situations for the cat.

When the cat has not been groomed for long, the matted fur rises in the form of clumps. These clumps are a result of a dead undercoat, natural oils from the skin, and shedding hair. When these severely combine together, a more severe mat forms, which needs to be gently shaved off. 

Cat hygiene in this sense is just like that of humans. Although they do not need to be bathed and cleaned every day, not cleaning and degreasing their coats for months can produce increased grease, increased filth, increased hairballs, and increased unsanitary mats. This is why it is not only safe but also required that in severe cases, you shave a matted cat.

However, for an aggressive cat, shaving can be dangerous. So always seek the desired help of a professional cat groomer here.

Do I need to take my cat to the vet for matted fur?

If your cat has a severe case of matting, you may need to take the cat to your veterinarian.

When the matter fur in a cat’s body is just that–matted fur–without affecting the skin underneath, then you only need to take the cat to a professional groomer. He can either comb or shave the cat. 

However, if your cat’s matted fur is affecting its skin as well, you will have to take him to a pro vet to rule out or ascertain the chances of skin-related issues, inflammation, or irritation.

Can I shave my cat to get rid of mats?

Yes. You can shave your cat at home to get rid of the mats if you think you can do it amidst all the fussiness.

If your cat has a small amount of matting near the size of a nickel, you will not need to shave it. You can instead use metal combs. Flea combs that will not tug and pull the skin and hair of the cat further increasing the discomfort can be avoided. However, in certain areas of the body where combing will not help, such as, behind the ears, under the armpits, and near the genitals, it is wiser to go for shaving or clipping with a corded or cordless clipper at home instead of combing.

But if your cat has a large amount of tightly formed mat, you can skip the combining altogether and go for shaving. This would be better to avoid ripping the cat’s coat.

How much does a vet charge to shave a cat?

The average cost for shaving a cat at the vet’s may cost you around $50-$70, depending on the grooming package you select and your location.

The prices are also influenced by your cat’s disposition, and whether it hisses and scratches the groomer during the grooming process. This may add an additional $5-$10, as hazard pay. The size of the cat and the amount of time it takes to de-mat the cat also increases the cost.

To determine the cost in-depth, the groomer will firstly evaluate the cat at the time you drop it off. This will give them a detailed idea of how much matting has happened on the cat’s skin and how the feline will react to itself being handled by strangers. This will let them fixate on the best package for the cats and eventually help you decide on what budget you would need to spend for grooming the cats.

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