by Tara Edwards
Mats on your pet’s coat are a genuine annoyance, both for you and your furry friend. And when the pet in question is a cat, old or long haired one, getting rid of that problem can get pretty difficult.
Difficult maybe, but definitely not impossible.
Mats must be dealt with as soon as possible because they represent an ideal place for bacteria gathering which often results in various bacterial or fungal infections. And those are way more annoying than mats.
Now let’s do what we’re here for: explain how to get rid of these irritating bundles of tangled hair. You can achieve that by following the next few tips we have prepared for you. So without further ado, here are the methods for removing mats from old or long haired cats.
Tip #1: Prevention is easier than intervention
The smartest possible course of action would be prevent mats from occurring in the first place. Since we’re talking about cats this time around, you may think that they do all their required grooming activities by themselves but that’s not exactly true. Therefore, you should properly wash your cat from time to time and brush its hair so that it doesn’t get entangled.
On top of that, make sure to keep the hair dry, don’t let it remain wet for a long time because that may lead to infections and you don’t want that. Also, clip the coat when you notice it has gotten considerably thick, messy or too long.
Another reason for mats appearing is a bad overall physical condition of the cat. This can happen due to old age or obesity. In such a case, the cat cannot reach all areas of its coat so it doesn’t maintain its hygiene adequately. Places that haven’t been cleaned end up turning into mats.
Tip #2: Removing the mats by yourself
If you try to cut out the mats by yourself without taking all the necessary precautions, it is highly likely to hurt your cat. It’s very hard to remove mats without damaging the delicate skin beneath them.
First try to untangle them by using a special shampoo meant for that, together with a brush or comb which has wide teeth. Hold the fur closest to the skin with your fingers before brushing or pulling at the mat to reduce pain and pulling. Then start at the end and work your way up. Sometimes you’ll also need a mat (razor) comb as well, depending on how thick the mats are.
If you are still unsuccessful, and we definitely recommend you to take your cat to the groomer. In case this is not possible, you can try using clippers or scissors, but definitely make sure the skin underneath is flat or else you can badly cut your cat. Using scissors should be used only as a last resort. Make sure you have a clear visual of the area before you proceed. Use a comb to lift the fur away from the skin, cut the edges of the mat that are outside the comb, and then detangle the rest with a comb.
Tip #3: Take your cat to the groomer
Don’t overlook or neglect grooming – it is one more important aspects of properly caring for your pet. The person who has the appropriate skills and knows how to remove the mats without harming your pet is a professional groomer. Not only do they have the adequate tools but they also have a lot of experience with this kind of work so they know how to prevent the cat from doing accidental flinches or trying to pull away which can cause unwanted injuries.
If you don’t have enough free time to take the cat over to the grooming shop, worry not. You can just call a portable groomer instead and they’ll come over to your place with their van that’s equipped with necessary tools for their job.
Tip #4: If you mess up, act responsibly
If you thought you’re skilled enough and went ahead and tried to cut out the mats and by doing so, accidentally cut your cat, you need to behave like a responsible owner.
First sanitize the wound appropriately with warm water and some hydrogen peroxide. If the cut is shallow and small that should be enough. But if it’s deep and big you must take your pet to the vet immediately. And don’t lie to the vet either, they must know what happened. Everyone makes mistakes, you didn’t do it on purpose so don’t worry about it.
That’s about it, now you know how to take care of mats in your cat’s hair. If this seems bothersome, you can always get yourself that ugly cat with no hair and you’ll completely avoid any hair related problem. Some would call it cheating, others would call it a genius move, you decide which one you prefer.