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Matted Cat Fur: Knowing the Causes and Prevention

Did you know a single cat has about 130,000 hairs per square inch of their body? Imagine keeping all that fur under control! For the most part, cats do a great job on their own since they are excellent self-groomers. But every once in a while, their hair gets tangled or matted. When this happens, it’s important to remove the matted cat fur before it causes serious health problems.

If you’re not sure how to get mats out of cat fur, we’ll walk you through the process and let you know when it’s time to consult a professional.

What Causes Matted Cat Fur

Fur can become matted for a variety of reasons. It tends to occur on parts of your cat’s body where there is a lot of rubbing or movement, like between the legs, under the chest, under the tail, and around the collar. Mats can also form on the shoulders and hindquarters from the pressure of lying down.

Shedding is another reason your pet may have matted cat fur. When loose hairs fall, it gets caught in your cat’s coat, leaving behind knots. The longer mats are left unattended, they can grow tighter and settle closer to the skin. As clumps get larger, they put pressure on your cat’s skin, making it painful to lie down.

Why Matted Cat Fur is Bad

Healthy and tangle-free cat fur allows for a continuous air flow to your cat’s skin. Matted cat fur, on the other hand, damages tissue by preventing oxygen and moisture from reaching it. This can lead to dry, scaly, and sometimes irritated skin. When your cat notices this change, they start to groom more which could increase the amount of hair they ingest and cause other health problems.

Another issue that you should take care of right away are mats that form on the back of your cat’s legs. Because of their location, they can trap urine and feces, leading to a skin infection. Neglected mats can also become a breeding ground for parasites.

How to Get Mats Out of Cat Fur

If the mat isn't too big or too tight, the best way to tackle it is to work it apart with your fingers. Next, apply an oil-based detangling spray to loosen the fur. Use a metal mat comb for cats to detach the smaller tangles. Start by holding the hair below the mat, close to the skin, and separate the tangled fur into smaller pieces. Be as gentle as possible and apply short, fast strokes so there's less pulling of the skin.

Never try to cut out a mat. Cats have very delicate skin and with mats forming close to it, it's easy to miscalculate and cut too deep. Not only will your pet be in pain but they will experience excessive bleeding and a wound that may need stitching. If you happen to nick the skin and it goes unnoticed, your cat is at risk for getting an infection.

How to Prevent Matted Cat Fur

The longer your cat's hair, the more likely it is to mat. To stop mats from forming, add regular brushing and combing into your pet’s routine. During this time, run your fingers through your their coat. This will help you feel any clumps of fur below the surface that need immediate attention.

When to Seek Professional Help

Not all matted cat fur is easy to remove. In some cases shaving your pet’s entire coat is the only solution. Instead of taking matters into your own hands, it’s best to see a professional pet stylist or veterinarian. Both have the tools and the knowledge about how to get mats out of cat fur without stressing or injuring your pet in the process.

If you choose to go with pet grooming for cats, you can ask for advice about the correct shampoo, detangling conditioners, and sprays to use at home. By incorporating these supplies into your regular grooming routine, you’ll know how to keep matted cat fur at bay. Thinking about taking your cat to a professional? Find a local Petco grooming salon and schedule a free consultation today!