Originally Posted by journey
I have a question, and it might be a really dumb question, but why is matted hair a health issue? what could be going on under the hair that is so unhealthy?
Matted hair can become a health issue when it is so severe that they are embedded into the skin. It pulls the skin (and the skin is an organ) and can also constrict or squeeze so that internal organs become uncomfortable. It can also interfere with walking, jumping and excersise. When it gets to that point, it is definately the job for a professional.
notme: It doesn't sound like your cat is at that point? I have assisted in shaving a cat thats fur was so badly matted, it would come off in large clumps like a shell of his body and was at least 1 1/2 inches thick.
It sounds like you may be able to take kitty to a groomer and have the little mats clipped out around the ears and neck. Please don't try this yourself though. Cats have a very thin membrane of skin on top and it is easily torn or cut. It heals quickly but of course, you don't want to hurt your cat! Having the cat shaved will work too. Personally, I just hate to shave them if it isn't necessary but I won't hesitate if it is needed.
After you get kitty "dematted" make sure you have a comb or two on hand. A medium tooth and fine tooth are good to have around. The fine tooth is good for the legs and those places you mentioned like behind the ears. Usually brushing only will not prevent or take out even some of the smallest mats. I only have to use the combs on my cat's trouble spots and the rest of their body I just brush.
Your cat will need some time to adjust and trust you before you will be sucessful at grooming him. Just give him some time and start with baby steps. When you do use a comb, start at the ends of the hair and work your way in. Try picking mats apart with your fingers a little and then they will slide right out (most of the time) when you comb. Using your fingers is a little less pulling on the skin. I use this method especially for those little pesky mats that always show up in spots. You'll get a feel for it. You just hold kitty in your lap (if you can) or lay him on a bed or other soft surface like a sofa (I put a towel under them so I don't get fur all over). Then you just kind of try to pick apart the mat starting at the top. Don't pick or pull so hard that you go all the way to the skin. That will hurt a bit and make the cat angry.