Grooming Long Haired Cats with Mats

A well-groomed long-haired cat is divine to look at. Mysterious and elegant, their long flowing coats invite their owners to give them petting and a rub. By nature, cats can take care of themselves. Cats lick their fur for a purpose, and that is to groom themselves. However, if a cat’s hair is longer, they may need a little help from their pet owners. Grooming long haired cats with mats need to be brushed regularly, and, if they swallow too much fur, you may see them coughing up furballs, which is dangerous to their health. 

grooming long haired cats with mats

Maintain the beauty of your cat by helping them with their grooming needs. Do it yourself or hire a professional. Remember that your cat is your little baby and how you take care of them reflects on you as a cat owner. The following are tips and guides on how to deal with grooming long-haired Cats with mats.

Challenges to grooming long haired cats with mats

Weather and Temperature

The weather and temperature your cat is exposed to will dictate how often they will be shedding. Normally your cat will be shedding in the spring and fall. Your cats shed their winter coat in the spring in preparation for the warm summer months. During the fall, they put on a thicker coat and shed their summer coat. If your kitten is primarily kept indoors, this will affect how they shed.

They may even shed all year round in the temperature-controlled environment. The shed coat either spills to the ground, becomes ingested when they groom, or become tangled and form mats. Dead hairs can also combine with dirt and debris around the house, adding to the mat that may become hard and sticky. Long-haired cats may also have litter sticking to their mats, which become smelly and thickened mats. 

Troublesome Teeth

Older cats may begin to have problems with their teeth. Grooming long-haired cats with mats and teeth issues can be problematic. A cat’s main grooming apparatus is their teeth, and if they experience some soreness in their mouth, they will be disinclined to groom themselves.

Their coat will not get the benefit of the natural conditioning oils that self-grooming provides, and they will end up with matted and tangled hair. Unfortunately, bad teeth are the main reason why cats may not groom themselves properly since estimated 85% of cats aged 1 to 3 years have some kind of dental disease such as the following:

  • Ulcerated or bleeding gums
  • Wobbly teeth
  • Missing teeth
  • root infections
  • Damaged enamel with cavity

Have your cat inspected by a vet. A matted coat may just be one of your worries.

Arthritis

Sore joints are common among older cats and as much as 90% of cats aged 12 years and above can be traced with arthritis in a radiograph

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Stiff joints make it difficult for cats to use their facecloth, otherwise known as their paws to wash and groom. Cats are known to be flexible and agile, but if they have stiff and sore joints, they may not be able to reach all the way around to their hindquarters and groom themselves. If you observe, older cats tend to have knots and mats on their flanks and rumps. The reason for this is arthritis in the spine and it can be troublesome when grooming long haired cats with mats. 

If your cat is ever arthritic, give them medication approved by a vet and help ease the knots and mats by brushing and combing the areas they can’t reach. This gives them better control of knots and keeps them in a neat condition.  

Nausea and Sickness

grooming long haired cats with mats

Cats suffer from depression and anxiety too. If they feel under the weather, they may neglect to groom and lose interest in the things they previously enjoyed. The first thing that a cat who is depressed forgets is their grooming. Some signs to look out for are the following:

  • Reduced appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Drinking more
  • Larger puddles in the litter box
  • Tummy upsets
  • Altered behavior or mood

Have them checked by a vet to see if their behavior is caused by a more serious health problem.

Hiding Pain or Discomfort

Cats are secretive and don’t like to show they are vulnerable. One example is if a cat gets injured in a fight. They may just sulk alone lest rivals find out they have been wounded. Grooming long-haired cats with mats may not want your help at this point. They would rather sleep off any pain or discomfort. Because of this, they will spend less time grooming themselves. It is essential to get them to a vet to identify the source of pain and discomfort

Stress

Cats are affected by their home life and by your behavior. There may be changes in the home which unbeknownst to you causes disruptions in your pet’s life. These disruptions cause stress, and as a result, you may find your cat grooming too much or will stop grooming altogether. Try to find out what changed in your home life recently. Did you get a new pet? Did you leave home for business travel? These may be events contributing to your cat’s stress. 

Grooming long haired cats with mats at home

Mats in cats are, unsightly potentially smelly, and are a magnet for parasites, plus, those tangles are painful to your cat. Tangles and mats that are left on the skin for quite some time can lead to irritation and infection. 

Mats in cat fur are not only unsightly, but they are also painful to your cat. They can lead to skin irritation and infection if they’re not removed.

Grooming long-haired cats with mats requires patience and is not an overall fun experience. Take it slow, and don’t be frustrated if you cannot remove the mats in one sitting. You can get a professional or an assistant to get rid of the mats, but for this article, you will be shown how to de-mat your cat yourself.  

Before You Begin De-Matting

Most cat owners will swear that healthy cats groom on a nearly regular basis. This practice is not due to vanity. Cats instinctively know that licking their fur will keep it healthy and stimulate the underlying glands in their skin to produce oil that will lubricate the fur.

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A clean fur is hygienic and keeps parasites and fleas from taking hold. However, when something happens and a cat stops grooming mats form. Long-haired cats are especially prone to having mats, and extra care and attention are needed for grooming long-haired cats with mats. 

If the matted area is large, it may be wiser to get a professional to straighten it out. A trip to the vet is also in order because there may be an underlying issue with the cat. However, if there are only one or two stubborn matted fur, it is best to take care of it at home. 

Cats can be nervous creatures, and before you begin, you must make sure that you have lots of patience and love for your cat. You should have a steady hand and a confident attitude to keep your cat calm and relaxed as well. 

Tools that You Need

cute cat

The first thing you should keep in mind in grooming long-haired cats with mats is to keep your cat relaxed. Perhaps you can start by petting your cat. Don’t introduce a de-matting session in the middle of a high energy activity as your cat may bite or claw you.

Prepare the following tools: 

  • Blunt-end scissors
  • Fine-toothed comb
  • Spray bottle/conditioner
  • Cornstarch
  • Cat treats

Preparing the Matted Area

It is essential to put on some cornstarch, or talcum powder to the matted area when grooming long-haired cats with mats. Gently stroke the matted area to disperse the powder into the area. Gently tug at the mat away from the skin so you can see where the skin is.

If your cat resists or cries out in pain, talk to it in a soothing voice and pet it again so it will relax. Repeat this procedure once your cat gets stressed again. 

Cutting the Mat

It is crucial that you cut the mat using a blunt-nosed scissor to avoid accidents and injury to your cat. Slide the scissors on the edge of the mat along the skin. Cut up into the mat and hold the blade perpendicular to the mat. Cut the mat without tugging or pulling at the hair while cutting.

After this, don’t forget to give your cat a treat to gain their trust and cooperation. 

After a brief rest, cut the remaining mats again. The mats should begin to separate, and you will be able to pull away the loose pieces with your fingers. Cut the tangled mats accordingly and leave only the straight hairs. 

Combing the Mat

One technique that you can be using is combing the mat. When the mat sections have been separated, use your non-dominant hand to hold the mat down. Use a fine-toothed comb to comb the mat piece, starting with the tip of the hairs. The hairs should ease up as you work down. For stubborn section, use a wide-toothed comb. 

Gaining the Cooperation of Your Cat While De-Matting

Regularly give your cats a treat and often stop to give your cats rest and some time to adjust while de-matting. The process of untangling mats may take several days, and you cannot force your cat to sit still and accommodate the sessions in one go. It may make them stressed. Mats that cover a wide area need professional attention and a visit to the vet. They may have to sedated, and their coats shaved to get rid of the mats once and for all. 

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Further Tips on De-Matting Your Cat

  • Never bathe a cat before removing mats. 
  • For small tangles, try spraying with a hair conditioner before combing.
  • Have an assistant to hold and comfort the cat while you work on de-matting

Grooming long haired cats with mats: tips to keep them mat free

grooming long haired cats with mats

Encourage good grooming habits from a young age

Start early with good grooming habits. Get your cat to get used to being touched and groomed. You could train them for this, especially if you got them as a kitten. Cats will get used to the idea of brushing and grooming and will consider it a safe activity that is normal and necessary. 

Develop a regular brushing routine

Your cat needs a routine to make something part of their habits. You have to introduce brushing and grooming on a daily and regular basis to make the activity stress-free for your cat. Devote a certain time grooming long-haired cats with mats such as once a week to make your cat realize that grooming is part of their activity and their life. It will also help you identify minor problems before they become full-scale ones. Your cat will also begin to trust the grooming process and won’t regard it as something threatening or unpredictable. 

Use a brush or comb designed for long-haired cats

Your tools should be appropriate for the job at hand. Hence, a brush that is specifically made for long-haired cats should be part of your grooming arsenal. These types of combs and brushes are designed to work its way through a thick coat. If you use a brush for short-haired cats, you will only be brushing the top surface of the coat. 

Use a mat breaker

If your cat has few knots and mats on their fur, you should know that there is a tool for the problem. Mat breaking tools are smaller than grooming brushes and help detangle mats and knots. A mat breaker is designed to cut through knots fast so your cat won’t even have a clue on what’s happening. You have to make sure that you are working on your cat’s topcoat as well as undercoat to fully get rid of knots and mats. You have to reach and straighten both layers to make your cat truly well-groomed. 

Feed a well-balanced diet

Everything originates from the inside, and your cat’s meal quality will often dictate if they will have a top-notch and healthy coat. If you find that your cat’s coat is lackluster and dry, talk to your veterinarian about the best kind of food that can give your cat a better-looking coat. Adding the necessary vitamins and minerals such as Vitamin E and Omegas can help you with your goal of having a cat with a beautiful and elegant coat. 

Final Thoughts

Long-haired cats make beautiful and affectionate companions. Their looks and elegance mesmerize their owners and anyone who sees them. Owning one takes dedication and patience since their coats need regular upkeep and inspection. Their moods and their health affect the appearance of their coat, so being sensitive to their needs and having regular vet checkups is part of your responsibility as an owner.  

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