Medium and long hair cats tend to develop cat mats in their fur, especially during shedding seasons and in hard to reach places.
Regular grooming can help eliminate cat mats, but sometimes they can develop without your knowledge - or in places the cat may not like brushing, like the armpits or pelvic area. Our longhair Drake loves being brushed everywhere but his armpits, so he occasionally gets a tangle of cat fur there. I try to get it with the mat breaker before it becomes a true mat, but sometimes they sneak up on me!
If the mat can be lifted slightly and is not right up against the skin you may want to try a mat breaker, a specialized brushing tool designed to help break up and remove mats.
Removing mats needs to be done gently and one at a time! Remember, mats can be painful for the cat - do not pull them! You may need to work on it a bit at a time with plenty of breaks so your cat will not become too stressed by the experience.
Do not attempt to cut the mats with scissors, especially if you cannot see the skin!
you may want to consider professional mat removal either by your vet’s office or a groomer who has experience with cats. Always ask about their removal methods and if the cat will be fully or partially sedated during the experience before making your decision.
If the cat has a lot of mats, your vet or groomer may recommend shaving your cat. Sometimes only the affected areas are shaved, sometimes the cat may need the “lion shave” – a full body shave except for the head, tail, and leg areas. Shaving will probably be more stressful for you than for your cat!
Some cats may not like the actual shaving experience but like the results – freedom from the painful mats and cooler in the summer months! Plus, the shaving time is shorter than trying to remove the mats individually so your pet will not be under stress for a long period of time.
Unless you have had previous experience using a shaver on your
cat, this is best left to a professional. It is very difficult to see
small folds of skin and your cat could be cut by the trimmer
accidentally if they are shifting around.
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