This post was originally published November 9, 2015 and has been updated for content
Although cats are quite adept at keeping themselves groomed, sometimes mats come into the picture. Age, illness or just not being able to reach some parts of their body contribute to mats in cat hair.
Mats in cat hair differ from those in dogs or humans. For cats, hair that’s shed combines with oily skin to form larger and hard mats, almost like a Brillo pad. Even though we usually think of mats as being a problem only for long haired cats, all cats can get mats. Interestingly, certain colors of cats (cream, blue and white) often mat more than others since the hair tends to be more of a cottony texture.
Here are some tips for dealing with mats in cat hair:
- Don’t ignore mats. Mats don’t go away on their own, but rather tend to get bigger. Mats can cause skin irritations, wounds and even infection.
- Don’t try to cut the mat out. A matted area can pull skin into the clumped hair and trying to cut the mat could cut your cat’s skin. Consult a veterinarian or cat groomer for removal of the mat.
- Watch your cat after the mat is removed. The skin in the matted area will be sensitive for quite some time after the mat is removed, and your cat may lick the area or self-groom. This can lead the redness and skin irritation, so if you notice your cat repeatedly licking the affected area, it may be necessary to put an e-collar on to prevent him having access to it until it heals.
- Return to regular grooming schedule. It’s not a good idea until the hair in the matted area entirely grows back before resuming a regular grooming routine. It’s best to resume grooming when the hair is short to prevent further matting from taking place.
- Use the right tools. A metal comb with smoothed or ground down tines works best to remove hair and distribute oils in the skin. Pin brushes, natural bristle brushes and de-shedding rakes are often too harsh for a cat’s skin. Be very gentle when combing your cat and avoid pulling or tugging at tangles or mats.
If your cat doesn’t like to be brushed, one tool to check out is the Groom Genie. It’s a small brush with flexible soft rubber nubs that brushes and helps cats relax in the process. My cat Marty never liked to be brushed until one day I tried the Groom Genie on him. He LOVES it and will purr and rub against it if I set it down by him. I was quite surprised by his reaction, and so now a Groom Genie session is a special treat for him.
The Groom Genie is available through Amazon. Check out this link for more information: Multipet Genie Cat Grooming Brush, 4″