or Connect
TheCatSite.com › Forums › Our Feline Companions › Cat Care & Grooming › Tips on mat removal and/or prevention?
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Tips on mat removal and/or prevention?

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
A while ago I posted about a small mat problem with my Birman. (I asked whether people preferred vets or groomers, but ended up dealing with the mat myself.) Since then, the problem has gotten worse. We brush him regularly, but for whatever reason, he has developed a few more mats on both hips. All but one of them is small, and it's that one that has me worried; I don't want it to get bigger.

I'm still really nervous about accidentally hurting my boy in the removal process, so I made a few calls today. (The vets prefer sedation grooming and like to do full-service jobs like lion cuts, and that's very unnecessary in this case.) I called one groomer who's booked until next week, when I won't be available. My vet recommended another groomer, but the shop is on the other side of town, and a trip there could easily take four hours out of my day, which I can't afford.

So...I'm going to try again to do this myself. Don't worry - I know not to try to cut the mat out with scissors. Does anyone have any other tips or tricks on mat removal and/or mat prevention?
post #2 of 9
You can work the mat out with a soft bristle slicker brush. If possible pull the mat in pieces - if there are ends of the hair that you can separate, grab those and tear the mat into smaller pieces. Next (whether you were able to pull it apart or not) try to hold a finger(s) behind the mat and keep going over it with short fast strokes until the mat is detangled. If tearing doesn't work and you feel the mat is to large to brush out in one piece, try taking scissors, and push the end of one scissor blade through the mat with the sharp edge and point away from the cats skin, then make a cut through the mat. Then again, same process with the slicker brush. It's time consuming, but this is really all a groomer does to brush mats out. If the mat is way too tight to brush out this way and you do not want the cat to have a lion cut then I would just clip out the mats and wait for the patchy-ness to fill in.

What type of brush or comb are you using in your regular grooming to prevent mats? The best thing I've found is a fine tooth metal comb. A quick, daily comb through with this does a pretty good job. Most brushes either hair teeth too far apart that it doesn't catch all the knots, or the bristles don't reach all the way down into the coat so the undercoat forms mats regardless of brushing.
post #3 of 9
Thread Starter 
Thank you for taking the time to give me such a detailed, helpful response. The more I think about it, it seems that patience is key.

I typically alternate between the Furminator and the Zoom Groom. I like both of these products (and the cat seems to like them, too), but in this particular situation, you may be right about the metal comb. I have seen others on this site recommend them. If anyone has a particular brand they like, please let me know. There are so many different types available, it's difficult for me to choose.
post #4 of 9
The furminator is NOT a brush nor should it be used for regular grooming. A furminator is essentially a stripping knife with a fancy handle on it. What a stripping knife is designed to do is grab and pull out all of the loose hairs from the coat. Stripping knives are most commonly used on terrier breeds (dogs) and animals with tight coats (think chihuahua or labrador retriever). The furminator is great, and I use it on many animals - dogs and cats - but it will certainly do nothing for preventing mats. Also note that a furminator should be used with the blade at 90 degrees from the coat at all times. Using the stripping blade on an angle will actually cut the hairs on the coat (which is why you'll sometimes hear of people leaving bald patches in their cat or dogs coat with it!). Use the furminator carefully and sparingly when your cat is shedding.

A zoom groom, again, is not for daily grooming. The only thing I've used products like this for is to collect loose shedding hairs in the bath. Is does not have teeth that will detangle hair, and a small tangle will turn into a mat over time.

You can get a fine tooth metal come from any pet supply store. IMO, no one brand is better than another with this type of tool - they're pretty simple/standard. The only thing I would look for is a shorter comb with a handle rather than a 10 inch comb since it'll be easier to comb the cats belly and chest with a shorter comb.
post #5 of 9
Thread Starter 
Good grief, I feel like such a newb!

Believe it or not, one of my RB kitties was longhaired, and I currently have a second longhaired cat (not a Birman). Neither one ever had any mats. I guess the Birman breed might be more prone to them(?). Someone once told me that they were the "lazy man's longhair," meaning that they didn't require as much grooming as some others, but I'm beginning to wonder!
post #6 of 9
Any cat (or dog) with a cottony feeling coat will be prone to matting, though any coat long enough to mat, cottony or not, can. Other than that, some people are just lucky if they have a long hair that doesn't mat!
post #7 of 9
Lola can get mats if I don't groom her regularly. It seems if I comb her at least 2-3 times a week, she stays mat free. When she does get mats, we discovered a small clipper (it's a small battery operated clipper) is great. Then we don't have to pull out mats, which probably hurts like heck. I hold her, my hubby clips out the mat, she purrs the whole time. That is the solution that has worked for us. Her armpits were where she would get mats, so it's an awkward spot anyway.
post #8 of 9
A seam ripper works good for teasing out mats. But if it gets to the point where you can't seem to handle it yourself, you should probably go ahead with the vet or a groomer giving your cat a shave.
post #9 of 9
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by mzjazz2u View Post
But if it gets to the point where you can't seem to handle it yourself, you should probably go ahead with the vet or a groomer giving your cat a shave.

I took whiteforest's advice and picked up a fine-toothed comb (yes, with handle!) yesterday. We have definitely made some progress.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Cat Care & Grooming
TheCatSite.com › Forums › Our Feline Companions › Cat Care & Grooming › Tips on mat removal and/or prevention?