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Treatment for matted fur

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 
There is a cat I have discovered at the shelter, a gorgeous long-haired tabby with green eyes. The problem is that she is completely matted - her fur from her head down looks like a thick felt mat. I have never seen anything so horrendous. She is very scared, lives on a top shelf, and everyone seems to have given up on her. She will not let anyone touch her, not surprising as her skin must be really hurting and pulled in all directions. I asked why she could not be sedated and clipped or even shaved and was told that she would be too traumatised and cold. I don't know how old she is, but she is certainly not a very old cat, but a full grown adult.

I spent some time talking to her today and although she looked at me fairly antagonistically, she let me put my hand near her and even sniffed it a couple of times. I didn't try anything more.

I know that some people here have had experience with this kind of thing. I have been speaking with some friends and I could get the money together to pay for a vet to sedate her and clip her and then she could recover in a large cage in my second bathroom.

Is this realistic? Would it be too much for her? How long does it take for enough fur to regrow that she could be let out of a heated environment? Then either she could go for adoption or one of my friends would take her. Or am I getting sentimental and stupid ?
post #2 of 19
A vet or groomer could sedate her (probably vet would be best to put her totally under) and shave her completely.

I'm sure there is pain if the cat is matted that bad. Depending on the season and being totally shaved, it could take as long as a year or so to have a full coat. It should be a month or two to get in a nice covering - not long but not bare. So she would have to be kept warm for awhile and in no drafts while the coat grows back.

If you and some friends are willing to cover the cost, I'm sure she would be worth it. Once out of pain from the matted coat, she may come around and be more friendly. Let us know what you all decide and how she does.
post #3 of 19
She must feel so uncomfortable bless her, I have just had to take my ragdoll to the vet to have a matt shaved out of her chest as there was no way I could get it out and it was to close to the skin, I would ring your vet and ask for a quote, they quoted me £30.00 for a half hour including sedtion, fortunatley my cat just sat there and never moved so they only charged me £10.00, that was a couple of weeks ago and there is now just a fine down of hair coming in. I am sure it would be worth it.
post #4 of 19
The best thing you could do would be to take her to a vet who will sedate her and shave her down. These types of whole body mats are very painful and pull and squeeze in places we wouldn't even think of! I've had rescues that when they were shaved it was like a tortoise shell came off their body. Poor baby. I say Bah Humbug that the cat will be too traumatized. It's much more traumatizing to be in such a horrible condition. Once she is shaved, you would see a new cat as far as personality traits. I've seen this over and over again.

Jenny, I say go for it, girl! Don't think twice about it. You have my word that you will end up with a brand new, energetic, friendlier kitty once she is mat free. I've resuced several Persians in this condition and had to do just what you are proposing. Also, afterward, my guess is you'll probably have no problem rehoming her. I wish I was there to help you. Please keep me updated on your decission and how things work out. This issue gets me really fired up!
post #5 of 19
Thread Starter 
Thanks. I will talk to my own vet about it tomorrow as I have to take Biscotte in for her yearly exam and vaccination (can't believe it's come round so fast! I took the others in yesterday but stupidly left her till last and there was no way she was going to come anywhere near me when she saw the others in their boxes. Not even Wellington meowing at her would tempt her.
post #6 of 19
I hope you can get this kitty to the vet and shaved. I'm betting she will have a complete change of personality once she isn't in so much discomfort.

You are an angel Jenny to be caring so much for her.
post #7 of 19
I wonder if you could get her to tolerate a little sweater to keep warm until her fur grows back?

I would definitely get her shaved if possible. She's got to be miserable like that.
post #8 of 19
Thread Starter 
I have been working on getting this poor cat's confidence, as she is terrified of being touched. But at last, today she let me caress her on the head and under the chin for around 15 minutes. She even purred. So I think quite soon I might be able to take in some sharp scissors and try to cut some of the matts at least. Everyone at the shelter is against sedating her or moving her, so I will see what I can do for her in her basket first. I have to take it very gently, for her and also because I do not want to throw my weight around at the shelter - though they are all amazed at the progress I have made with her.
post #9 of 19
If she's that badly matted, then just cutting some out will NOT solve the problem - if the mat is down to the skin where she can't move around without hurting, she has to be put under and shaved totally.

I don't see why the shelter is so against this - IMO its more cruel to let her continue to be miserable - why don't they see that? Especially since you and your friends are willing to foot the bill.
post #10 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by GoldenKitty45 View Post
If she's that badly matted, then just cutting some out will NOT solve the problem - if the mat is down to the skin where she can't move around without hurting, she has to be put under and shaved totally.

I don't see why the shelter is so against this - IMO its more cruel to let her continue to be miserable - why don't they see that? Especially since you and your friends are willing to foot the bill.


I don't understand why they apparently think it is more humane to allow her to suffer this way rather then put her under once for a short time - when she wakes up she will feel so free and her attitude will improve tenfold!

Have them call me, I'll have a talk with them!
post #11 of 19
Thread Starter 
I have to be careful - I am new and a foreigner, and they do have the welfare of the cats very much at heart, even if there are some things we disagree on. First, I must prove and show by practical example that this is a cat that is basically affectionate and will benefit from treatment. All but one of them are afraid of her as she has scratched them all and just hisses at everyone from her basket. And I still don't know her full story, I am learning new stuff each week. I don't know how old she is, I would guess around 7-10 Next week I will take my camera in and let you guys see a pic of her and maybe you can offer some further advice.
post #12 of 19
Could you possibly have a groomer, vet, or persians/long hair cat breeder talk to them? Let them know that she is likely in pain 24/7? Surely if they heard it from someone local and with definite experience in the area they wouldn't argue.

I couldn't be as cautious as you are with the group... I'd outright ask them how much they'd love having their hair pulled and offer to do it.

Is there any reason why you can't just adopt her? (besides having a fairly full house already)
post #13 of 19
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by strange_wings View Post
Is there any reason why you can't just adopt her? (besides having a fairly full house already)

Don't even suggest it! I am still struggling with introducing my latest addition, Cinders, to all the rest - she and Ellie just fly at each other and have to be kept separate. And I have a peeing problem right now with both Persil and Biscotte - I think it may be because they can smell strange cats on me despite changing clothes when I come home. They are marking my place on the sofa and my clean laundry. Not much fun.

I will get this poor cat sorted, but believe me, it has to be done carefully or I will find myself sidelined. It is huge that she is beginning to trust me, and does wonders for my credibility at the shelter. But it is early days for both, and it must be a step at a time. We would not be able to shave her until the weather is warmer anyway - I would not want her skin exposed while it is still very cold - and we had snow here this weekend. The shelter people say, I do not know on what evidence, that they could not put Galipette in a cage. So keeping her warm has to be a factor.
post #14 of 19
Jenny, I understand the situation you are in. I don't understand the folks thinking at the shelter but I do understand your situation. The thing is, from my experience, cat's with that bad of matting are showing aggression out of fear and pain and much of it will dissapear once they are free from the source of pain (the mats). Please be careful with the scissors. Those whole body mats become embedded right down into the skin and you won't be able to tell where the skin starts most of the time. Especially since the skin is so paper thin. It's really not a safe process. Good luck with it all! I'm hoping for the best!
post #15 of 19
Thread Starter 
I agree with you totally. I am not going to try and do it all myself - I do not have that kind of experience. I am hoping that I can show them that it is possible to remove something and treat her without her going nuts. Then I can persuade them to let me take her to a vet/groomer. From my experience with her yesterday I think she could be a very nice cat. But what do I know - she will probably attack me next time!
post #16 of 19
I agree with the suggestion that you try and contact some groomers or Persian breeders in your area and see if they can help you out and get that cat out of the shelter - one way or the other.

I understand you not wanting to shave her till warmer weather, but that would mean more months of being miserable and hurting cause of the mats. I'd find SOMEONE willing to adopt her now and work with her after she's out of the shelter!
post #17 of 19
Thread Starter 
At the moment she is not up for adoption - I have no say in that. As a volunteer I may be able to persuade them to let me take her, at least temporarily to get her sorted, but even that is not sure yet. If I were the shelter, with the views they have on her, I would not give her to me, as I have only been there, on a part time basis, for two weeks. They do not really know me yet and I have to be careful not to seem a know-all or even worse, someone trying to get hold of cats! At least right now the little cat has someone who strokes her and talks to her regularly, and she is responding to that.
post #18 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by jennyranson View Post
At the moment she is not up for adoption - I have no say in that. As a volunteer I may be able to persuade them to let me take her, at least temporarily to get her sorted, but even that is not sure yet. If I were the shelter, with the views they have on her, I would not give her to me, as I have only been there, on a part time basis, for two weeks. They do not really know me yet and I have to be careful not to seem a know-all or even worse, someone trying to get hold of cats! At least right now the little cat has someone who strokes her and talks to her regularly, and she is responding to that.
You are right - they may not want to hear what you have to say right now. You are also right not want to seem to be a know-it-all. Often folks that have the KIA attitude are eventually ignored and even if they have good advice, it ends up going unheeded.

Sounds like you are taking it slow and steady and certainly doing a good job IMO.
post #19 of 19
Jenny: You are an angeland that cat is lucky you happened along!!

I found a cat {Ginger) in my local shelter who was in a very similar situation. Maine Coon cat.....extremely unfriendly and aggressive.....heavily matted although not as bad as yours from your description....and about five years old according to previous owner.


Her surrender papers said she was a friendly cat so I assumed that the current personality was due to the trauma of being in the shelter and that she would mellow out over time. Excellent analysis on my part or maybe just a lucky guess?? The first week or so she bit me a couple of times.....got me really good, once; but gradually settled down and now she is s sweet kitty after 3 months of work. She was my Christmas present for this year.

Her mats, while numerous and large, did not seem to be causing her any discomfort so I let that issue ride for a while since I didn't have the $200 the vet wanted to sedate and shave her, anyway. The last trust hurdle to jump was belly rubbing. She had been fairly trusting since about month 2; but still would not let me rub or even touch her tummy. That changed all of a sudden about 2 weeks ago!! She has been letting me stroke/rub her belly on a fairly regular basis although she still is not 100% comfortable with it yet.

Coincidentally, I found a coupon in the newspaper about a month ago for a free, men’s, bladed razor. It is one of those fancies ones that has a battery (one AAA) in it to make it vibrate. But what is really special about it is that on the butt end there is a little miniature trimmer that is exactly like a groomer's electric clippers!! The trimmer head is 5/8†wide and just the perfect size and shape for cutting out mats. The head is very thin and looks like it would work even on mats that were very tight to the skin and because of the design, there is no danger of cutting the skin like there would be if using scissors!!

For the past two weeks, I have been acclimating her to the sound and feel of the trimmer by petting her while holding the trimmer with the motor on; but not making any attempt to actually remove a mat. Last night, last night I removed a smaller mat on her flank and she tolerated it pretty well. She was a little nervous; but didn’t try to run off and the mat came out very easily. I am hopeful that with time, she will be more comfortable with the process and let me do her belly, which is where the majority of the mats are. I don’t know if this razor is available in France or if it would be big enough to do a complete shave job. Mmaybe it would work if you just did just part of the cat at one time; but it only costs $12 so you wouldn’t be losing much if it doesn’t work. Here is a link to the Shick web site so you can see what it looks like:

http://www.schickquattro.com/sq_home_flash.cfm

If it turns out this razor is not available in France, I’m sure someone in the US would be happy to purchase one and send it to you. If you don’t have any close friends in the US, I would be happy to do it for you.

And one final comment to all that were so fast to jump on the “uncaring†workers who staff the shelter where this cat currently resides, perhaps your criticism is a little premature. I doubt that any of those folks are monsters…..I’m sure they all have the best interest of the kitty at heart and it is certainly possible that there is more to the issue than is offered here. Without seeing the situation, first-hand, it is a little arrogant to be criticizing the shelter workers when you may not have the complete story. In my limited experience with shelter workers, they all have only the best interest of the animals at heart; but even accepting that, differences of opinion as to what is best for a particular animal are possible. They certainly aren’t working at those shelters to get rich.

Let’s be a little more a little more parsimonious with our criticism and a little more generous with our praise.
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