This is an article I found on our-happy-cat.com website, going all the way back to 2007. It’s called “Long Cat Hair The Importance Of Cat Grooming”
Long cat hair needs special attention everyday and although your cat will groom itself often it will need some help from you to keep it in tiptop condition.
What is matted fur?
Long cat fur is normally very thick, which is what gives it that lovely fluffy look. When your cat grooms itself, it is normally only able to reach the top layer of fur.
Deeper down is where the trouble begins. The cat hair deeper down will start to get small tangles from just everyday activities.
These tangles if left will begin to clump together and get larger and larger and harder and harder to get out. This is what is known as matted fur.
The matted fur will start to pick up debris from the ground, which will make the matted fur heavier, causing it to pull on the cats skin. This will not only be uncomfortable for the cat but will eventually cause sores to form.
Common places mats form
Check these areas of your cat regularly for signs that the cat hair is beginning to mat:
•Behind the ears
•In the groin area
•Along the back of the haunches
•Between back legs
•Under the collar
•Behind front legs
How to deal with matted cat hair
If you groom your cat everyday, making sure that you are reaching deep down into the coat, matting should not be a problem. However every now and then the fur may get a mat and you will need to know how to deal with it right away.
As a rule any matted fur, which is larger than your thumb, should really be dealt with by a professional groomer. This is because your cat’s skin is thinner than our own and it may be very painful to remove larger mats without professional care and equipment.
In some extreme cases the cat may have to be shaved to remove all of the matted fur. Smaller mats can be tackled at home:
•Start by trying to gently pull the mat with your fingers to break it apart
•Then using a mat rake or mat breaker (available from pet supply shops), slowly saw through the mat, starting at the top and then working your way deeper into it.
Mats generally cannot be brushed out, as by the time they become knotted they are well and truly glued together and would be very painful to pull at.
If the mat goes very close to the skin, again see a professional groomer, who will be able to shave away the mat close to the skin. Do not attempt to do this yourself; it is very easy to cut the skin.
•It may be a slow process to remove small mats so take your time and be very aware of your cat’s discomfort. Remember their skin is very delicate.
Fur Balls Another Cat Hair Problem
Another really good reason why cat grooming is important is to help to prevent fur balls.
Every cat will get fur balls occasionally and will usually be able to easily get rid of them themselves. We’ve all had the lovely experience of your cat bringing up a hairball, in my case normally when you are about to eat your own meal.
However long haired cats are more prone to having hairballs which can get stuck in the throat and which will require a visit to the vet.
If this does happen to your cat please do not be tempted to try and get it yourself, using oil etc, its too dangerous and very unpleasant for your cat. A vet will be able to quickly and painless remove it.
By grooming your cat regularly you will be removing a lot of excess cat hair and so there is less that your cat will be licking up. This is especially true during periods of shedding, generally in the spring.
By Svetlana at cat-grooming.co.uk