As a responsible cat owner, there are many elements of caring for your cat that will ensure it lives a happy, healthy, and comfortable life. One of these elements is taking care of their coat. One problem from which many cats suffer is a matted coat. It is particularly problematic if you have a long-haired cat breed or if your cat spends a lot of time outdoors where they pick up substances that can increase the risk of matting. On the other hand, cats that never go outside can suffer from matting due to dust and household debris in their fur. Matting is not always caused by an owner not grooming their cat properly. Old and overweight cats sometimes have problems reaching certain areas during grooming. Similarly, cats that are in pain from dental problems or joint conditions may find it painful to groom, and the lack of self-grooming can lead to their coat becoming matted. Of course, regularly grooming your cat will reduce the risk of matting. While prevention is always better than cure, it is important that you know how to tackle the situation if it arises. Here are five reliable tips for dematting a cat.
1. Make the Cat Comfortable
Possibly the most important tip for dematting a cat is to make sure that your cat is as comfortable as possible. Dematting is often a stressful and potentially painful process for a cat, so it is not unusual for them to become distressed and defensive. If the cat becomes distressed, then they are likely to fight against you. Not only will this prolong the task, but you are at risk of suffering from some nasty bites and scratches. Take the time to settle your cat before you begin by stroking it and talking to it in a calm and soothing voice. Continue to stroke your cat and talk calmly throughout the dematting process. It is best if you can have someone to help you with the dematting so that one of you can concentrate on dematting while the other focuses on keeping the cat calm and comfortable, says The Spruce Pets. Furthermore, it is often best not to try and complete the dematting in one go, as it can take time and may make your cat restless and irritable. Try to take regular short breaks and offer your cat a treat for their cooperation.
2. Try Using Baby Powder
A secret trick used by professional animal groomers and those who show their animals at events and competitions is to use talc-free baby powder to make dematting easier. An alternative if you do not have baby powder is to use corn starch. Simply add a little baby powder or corn starch to the affected area on your cat’s coat, then rub it in with your fingers, so the matted fur gets even coverage. Make sure the corn starch or baby powder runs all the way to the base of the matted area next to the skin. Next, lift the matted area and gently begin to comb through the matting. The baby powder and corn starch work by helping to separate the matting and drying out the coat. It then makes it easier to run a comb through the matted fur and less painful for your cat.
3. Using a Spray-In Conditioner
A common mistake that people make before dematting a cat is bathing their cat, as they think that this will make it easier. This is a myth as the opposite is true, as bathing your cat will make things more difficult. Instead, try using a spray-in conditioner. These are often inexpensive to buy and will really help to make dematting a cat easier. Spry on the conditioning solution and leave for a few minutes before attempting to comb the mat. It is best to use a spray-in conditioner specifically for cats to avoid reactions. Alternatives to spray-in conditioner include detangler or anti-static spray. If you use any of these products, then you should check your cat’s skin after dematting to make sure they have not had a reaction to the solutions.
4. The Best Ways to Comb Out Your Cat’s Matted Fur
Regardless of the other tips that you use, combing is always part of the process of dematting a cat. There are specialist combs and brushes that you can buy that are specifically designed for this task. However, a regular flea comb is just as effective. I Heart Cats says that you should always start at the base of the mat closest to the cat’s skin. Once the comb is under the mat, hold down the cat’s skin beneath the comb to stop it from pulling too much at the cat’s skin. Then, slowly and carefully pull the comb through the cat’s hair to loosen the mat. In severe cases of matting, you might find it impossible to pull the comb through the mat from the hair base. In that case, you should comb from the tip to loosen a little of the matting at a time, then gradually work your way down to the base.
5. Cutting Away the Matting
In extreme cases of matting, cutting the matting out may be your only option. If that is the case, Petful says it is best to avoid using scissors as there is a risk of cutting your cat. The better option is to use an electric razor to remove the matted area. However, if you must use scissors, you should only use blunt-nosed scissors as this will reduce the risk of cutting your cat. Use a comb to lift the matting away from the skin to protect your cat’s skin from the sharp blades. It is best only to trim the outer edges of the matting using scissors. Hopefully, doing so will help to loosen the matting, and you can then try to remove the rest of the matting using a comb.