My cat has matted fur. How do I go about grooming matted cat fur?

By | January 12, 2012

This question is from Mary in the UK from the website. She ask:

My cat has matted fur. How do I go about grooming matted cat fur? She is a medium long haired cat and is old with a bit of excess weight. She always gets matted fur on her backside which she sits on and squirms about on when she is grooming the other parts of her body!

I’d appreciate some tips on this as I have always fought with this problem.


Hi Mary… thanks for popping by and asking. I like visitors and questions even though I can’t always answer them and this is a slightly difficult one or at least there are no easy answers.

It really depends on how matted the fur is. If is is bad I would get it done professionally and I wouldn’t leave the people (in the UK they might be assistants to vets at a veterinarian’s surgery) to decide how to do it as they might just manhandle your cat and groom through the matting upsetting your cat, maybe even traumatizing her.

I think the best way for bad or lots of matting is to have the fur shaved out professionally. It looks like a bad haircut afterwards but after the shaving the key it to consistently groom your cat every day, perhaps twice a day, to ensure that matting doesn’t reoccur.

As for less bad matting, Doctors Carlson and Giffin, two well known veterinarians in America (who I hope don’t d-claw) recommends the following:

Clumps of hair should be removed they say. Incidentally, it is worth asking ourselves if matting should be removed. Are we doing it for the cat our ourselves? This is a valid question. We don’t like matting as it feels horrible and we like the feel of stroking a cat (particularly the dense silky coat of a British Short-hair) but this is not a reason to clear out cat hair matting. Anyway that said, it is usually advisable to remove them as it makes the coat more efficient as a protector for the cat if it is in good condition (although cats don’t mind matting).

Doctors Carlson and Giffin recommend tangle removal liquids and sprays that may soften the clumps which makes it easier to remove them. A wide toothed comb should be used to remove matting but it may not if the matting is tough.

Under these circumstances the matting or clumps of hair has to be removed and anything we have in the house in the way of a shaver won’t do it. They recommend using sharp scissors with great care cutting away from the skin into the hair clump in narrow strips. A comb can be slid under the clump to protect the skin.

The single danger is cutting skin and the single obstacle is keeping your cat still to allow you to exercise some precision during the cutting. Take time and don’t take chances.

Leave some of the clump there (that is nearest the skin). Wait a few days for the hair to grow some more, which leaves the clump further from the skin. Then do some more judicious trimming. At a point in time the remainder of the clump can be teased out between the fingers and/or combed out in the usual way say with a Furminator which is a heavy weight and highly effective grooming tool.

Some people who keep Persians, a very long haired cat, give the cat a “lion cut” to get rid of the matting and give the cat a new look. Not sure about that but it is an option.

After all that it might be worth considering how to take proactive preventative steps. As mentioned consistent grooming by us given to our cats will prevent it. Also finding a diet that allows for some loss of weight without losing enjoyment of eating might be worth looking at. Although if your cat is old a bit of fun eating is not worth taking away from the cat. Exercise may also assist to burn some calories.

I found that dry food can put on weight as it is made palatable but contains carbohydrates that help to pile on the pounds.


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