Help! My Cat Keeps Getting Hair Mats!

CatChannel expert Jeanne Adlon, professional cat sitter, shares ways to get rid of stubborn hair mats in cats.

Q: No matter how much I brush my cat, he always gets hair mats. What can I do?

JA: That’s a great question. Hair mats can be very uncomfortable for your cat and can even lead to skin infections. However, convincing your cat that you need to remove them can sometimes be a challenge.

A friend of mine had a constant disagreement with her cat, Spottie, about his hair mats. Spottie is a gentle, long-haired tuxedo cat, but unfortunately, he tends to get mats in areas that are hard for him to groom. These areas include his rear end, around the ears and parts of his belly. Any attempt my friend made to try to remove them with a wire slicker brush (great for grooming and sold in pet stores), he resisted with a passion. No amount of treats convinced Spottie that sitting still for this indignation was a good idea.

I told my friend to call professional groomers and see if she could find one who would work with her on costs. With no baths, shampoos or “spa treatments,” basic brushing for mats was not too expensive. Now, Spottie goes in several times a year. My friend is no longer the “bad guy with a brush” in Spottie’s eyes, and that’s a relief for her.

I always say brushing is essential to keeping your cat’s coat and skin healthy. This is particularly true of seniors who might have trouble grooming hard-to-reach spots. However, no matter how much you brush your cat, mats can still form, particularly in long-haired cats. Check your cat’s coat thoroughly once a week. If your cat allows you to remove mats with a wire slicker brush, that’s great. I do not recommend trying to cut them out. You might cut your cat’s skin by mistake. If, like Spottie, your cat won’t allow you to remove the mats, ask around and see what a simple mat removal process would cost.

As always, I welcome your stories and comments.

Jeanne’s Tip of the Week: To help with your cat’s coat, try using some hypoallergenic bath oils made for cats and sold in pet stores.

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