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How to Get Mats Out of a Cat’s Fur (5 Tips)

Nicole Cosgrove

If you’ve ever owned a longhaired cat, you’ll know how quickly and easily their coat can get matted, despite your best efforts. Not only are mats and knots unsightly, but they can also be painful for your cat, constantly pulling on their skin and restricting their movement. If left for too long, mats can even lead to infection from your cat’s constant attempts to bite and claw at the knots to try to get them out.

Luckily, removing mats in your cat’s coat is not as difficult as you might imagine, and it can be done quickly and painlessly in one sitting — with the correct methods. In this article, we look at how you can safely and easily get rid of mats in your cat’s fur. Let’s get started!

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5 Tips to Get Rid of Mats in Cat Fur:

1. Get prepared

Getting rid of mats can be stressful for some cats and even painful, so it’s important to be properly prepared before beginning the process. You’ll need to make sure you have all the required tools and a friend or family member to help hold your cat in position, as you’ll probably need two hands. Your cat should be as calm and relaxed as possible before you begin; otherwise, you can expect a few painful scratches!

Persian cat lying outdoor
Image Credit: Krzysztof Niewolny, Pixabay

You’ll need the following tools to help you remove mats from your cat:

  • A fine-toothed comb
  • A spray bottle of warm water or conditioner
  • Treats
  • A brush
  • De-matting brush
  • Blunt-nose scissors
  • An electric shaver

2. Brushing

Some mats may seem tight and un-brushable at first but can actually be brushed out fairly easily with a bit of patience. Try to guide a cat brush gently through the mats and see if the hair begins to separate. If it does, you can simply carry on brushing out the hair knot. The mat may be more stubborn, though, in which case, you can move on to the next step.

Li'l Pals Coated Tips Cat Slicker Brush
Image credit: Li’l Pals, Chewy

3. De-matting rake

A specially-made de-matting rake may be able to do the trick and rid your cat of their mats. These specialized brushes are made with stainless-steel teeth, with rounded edges to protect your cat’s skin. They have been proven to get through some of the densest matting. But some mats are simply too tight for even the de-matting rake, and you may need to move on to more drastic measures.

GoPets Dematting Comb
Image Credit: GoPets

4. Clippers

If brushing is not working, you’ll need to use an electric razor, or clippers, to remove the mat. This can be tricky to do, so you’ll need to make sure your cat is calm and being held tightly by someone else. If your cat will not sit still or you don’t have a friend to help you, it’s probably best to leave the clipping to a groomer to prevent injury.

Make sure you pull the skin tight and flat to avoid cutting your cat’s skin and try to work as quickly as possible. You’ll need to get fairly close to the skin to properly remove the knot, but some knots are very, very close and you’ll need to be extra careful. Also, many electric razors tend to heat up while in use, so be careful not to burn your cat’s sensitive skin.

Cat in grooming salon
Image Credit: Studio Peace, Shutterstock

5. Scissors

Cutting your cat’s mats with scissors is the last resort and not highly recommended, as you’ll need to be extra careful to not cut your cat’s skin. Make sure you use blunt-nosed scissors to reduce the chance of injury, but even then, your cat needs to be calm and still. Lift the knot as far away from the skin as you can with a fine-toothed comb, and gently cut the hair on the edge of the mat first to loosen it. You can then gradually work your way in and brush out any leftover matting afterward.

man grooming grey persian cat
Image Credit: artcasta, Shutterstock

Preventing Mats in Cat Fur

Prevention is most certainly better than the cure, and doing your best to make sure your cat doesn’t get mats in the first place will save you a great deal of time and potential stress for your feline. The best way to prevent matting is regular brushing with a proper cat brush. Begin brushing your cat every few days from when they are a kitten to get them accustomed to the process. This will save you time and potential stress in the future.

Diet can also have an effect on matting fur with cats, especially dry food. While there is nothing wrong with feeding dry food to your cat, giving them wet food regularly or exclusively may help add essential oils to their coat and skin and assist in preventing matting.

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Conclusion

Preventing mats is far better than trying to get them out, but cats can still get mats and knots occasionally despite their owners’ best efforts. Grooming and brushing your cats regularly will go a long way in helping to prevent their fur from matting. Beginning brushing from kittenhood will make the process much easier. Removing mats is a relatively simple process with the right tools and a touch of patience, but it’s always better to tackle mats as soon as you notice them, as they will only get worse if left there.


Featured Image Credit: Piqsels

Nicole Cosgrove

Nicole is the proud mom of Baby, a Burmese cat and Rosa, a New Zealand Huntaway. A Canadian expat, Nicole now lives on a lush forest property with her Kiwi husband in New Zealand. She has a strong love for all animals of all shapes and sizes (and particularly loves a good interspecies friendship) and wants to share her animal knowledge and other experts' knowledge with pet lovers across the globe.