Long-haired cats have fur that is, unfortunately, prone to matting. While regular brushing will prevent nearly all mats, you may find yourself needing to groom a matted cat. While your vet or groomer can handle this, it is expensive and will almost certainly be more stressful for the cat. Removing mats is critical to make sure that your cat's skin and coat are healthy.
The right cat grooming supplies can make it much easier to remove mats on your long-haired cat. You should have a wire bristle cat brush; however, this alone is not adequate for a matted cat. Purchase a small mat comb or mat rake at your local pet store. Look for one with closely placed tines or blades, and read the instructions carefully before using. Scissors and a rat tail comb are also helpful when working on a matted long-hair cat.
Basic Mat Removal
Choose a time when the cat is calm and relaxed for grooming. Begin by gently brushing the cat in areas that are not matted. While grooming a matted long-haired cat will not be pleasant for either of you, try to keep it as gentle as possible. Look for mats behind the ears, in the groin, along the haunches, between the back legs and under the front legs. If the fur is not matted to the skin, you may find that you can work on the mat with your fingers to loosen it and break it into smaller, more manageable knots. Use a mat comb or rake on the smaller knots.
Dealing with Severe Matting
If your long-haired cat is quite matted, simply breaking up and individually removing every mat may not work. If the fur is densely matted or the mat is very close to the skin, you may have a more difficult task at hand. To cut away mats, work a comb between the matted fur and the cat's skin. Cut just above the comb, using the comb to protect the skin from the scissors. You may also prefer to cut mats on a cat unwilling to handle regular grooming.
While these home remedies do work well, they can be quite time-consuming. If your cat is very matted, clipping at the groomer or vet may be the best choice rather than a home remedy for a matted long hair cat.
Try to maintain a positive attitude toward grooming by offering treats and playtime after working on a matted long-haired cat. Catnip may relax a stressed and angry cat after grooming.