I have recently rescued my first long-haired cat. She is sprouting big mats that are clearly painful to her. However, she gets so excited when I groom her that I get scratched and I'm afraid I will hurt her. Is there anything that makes it easier besides having the groomer shave her down?
By Bluey from Laramie, WY
You may very well have to have her shaved. My mom does this with her Persian. She gets a "lion" cut, or you can simply cut the bad tangles out. I will give you several tips that I have found work for my cat:
Take a baby-wipe and spray it with lots of hair detangler made for kids. Then while your cat is eating a food she loves (like wet food) or someone is holding her, wipe this detangler soaked baby-wipe all over her coat especially on the tangled spots. The baby-wipe works better than spraying the detangler directly on to the cat! Also you might try mixing a tiny bit of hair conditioner into a tablespoon or 2 of water and putting this directly on to the tangles, just use you fingers to apply it. But my favorite detangler is Frizz-ease hair serum. It's made with a silicone-based product and it's super slippery and removes knots in a jiffy! (look for the word "dimethicone" in the first word of the ingredients)
Also, my cat will only let me brush him while he is eating. So when he's super-hungry in the morning I always brush him while he's eating. It helps to offer wet food to get the cats attention. I keep a brush hanging up near his food bowl.
Start out grooming your cat with a wide-bristled brush at first, then after you've gotten out all the tangles, switch to a pet comb. (a small comb with about 1/4 inch spaces between the teeth) These combs will remove the hair that is shedding. You can also pet your cat with an old panty-hose on your hand and this will help remove some of the shedding hair. It's most important to brush your cat in the spring when they shed most!
I have a pure Maine Coon that I have shaved every spring. He would never allow me to brush his belly, resulting in terrible knots in his fur. But I changed his mind.
Every night before dinner I would swipe him a few times with the brush where he liked to be brushed. The back of the head especially, down his back and on his chin and chest. Then he'd get to eat. I just slowly expanded on this so now he gets a few quick swipes all over before he eats. Now he purrs getting brushed because he knows what's coming. And so far this winter, no knots!
So you may as well get her shaved so that you have a "clean" start, and then try my plan. Most animals will respond to the reward system.
I've never owned a long-haired cat. But one of my short-hairs is a shedder! She used to not like being brushed, so I had to ease her into it. I'd have the brush stashed somewhere near me while sitting on the couch. When she'd come over for loving, after a while I'd sneak out the brush and get in a few strokes. Initially she'd be freaked out and leave. But after doing this several times, she started to realize she enjoyed the brushing. Now she comes running when I get the brush out!
So maybe a combination of techniques. If you cannot get the existing knots out, you might have to get professional help. But while her hair is growing back, try and slowly get her used to the touch of the brush. And then use Cyinda's detangler suggestion as knots develop.
Best of luck with kitty! I hope that as she becomes used to you, she'll relax and let you brush her. Let us know how it goes!
Please go have her shaved. I had a Persian that didn't like to have her tummy brushed, and she developed mats also. Cats are naturally protective of their belly because it's one of their vulnerable areas. The groomers have special equipment that they use to hold the cat in place, and once you get the initial mats off, you can start working with your pet to get her used to being brushed . With summer coming, especially way down here in Texas, the lion cut will also feel better to her.
Please get her shaved. Having mats is like someone constantly pulling your hair. She is in a lot of pain with these. Not shaving her can lead to other problems, so please shave her. After you shave her, please keep her indoors (if she goes outside) because the weather can cause havoc with her skin. Sun burn or very cold weather can hurt her. Good luck
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I have a long haired cat who loves being brushed, but she has developed fur clumps on her back and near her hind legs. I don't want to have her shaved. Is there anything I can rub into the mats to loosen them? I was told that SeaBreeze works, but is it toxic to cats? Any suggestions would be appreciated. Thank you.
Seabreeze would not be a good idea. It is not good for a cat to eat or lick off seabreeze from it's coat.
Some mats are so painful that they need to be removed under sedation at the groomers or vets office.
Assuming that is not the case, use a comb as a shield, between the skin and the mat. If you cannot get the comb under the mat easily, do not force it. Once the comb is between the skin and the mat only then would you begin clipping little at a time.
The mat will be close to the skin and injury can occur easily when trying to cut out a mat yourself.
It is better to take the cat to a groomer or vet if you are not used to doing this yourself. If you hurt the cat this way, you take a chance on losing his trust of you touching him at all.
Also remember that the cat could injure you or itself, without meaning too, should the mat be painful, which they usually are.
If left alone and untreated, the cat will get open sores and such under the mat, because skin needs to breathe and be able to have air get to it.
Assuming that this is not a serious mat, here are some resources and videos that may be of help.
Give your cat a soft pat from me, and blessings, Robyn
A long haired cat needs brushing/combing on a regular weekly basis and this will not allow the hair to become so matted it may require Veterinary treatment to remove it. Good luck.
I had a cat that looked as wide as she was long due to the amount of hair that she sported. Despite daily brushing, she still developed knots. Well, if you look around, there's all kinds of solutions. These never worked for us. Cutting them off was not an option, mainly because this tends to pull.
I would massage these areas, and when she was relaxed, I would take a pair of bandage scissors and just make small cuts into her fur. I never tried to cut them completely off; I made sure her skin wasn't tender (you will know if the skin is tender). Eventually these knots would just turn loose and fall off. Of course she would have a bald spot, but she never had any sores. She actually looked like she was molting. If you suspect that your cat has a sore or inflammation under these knots, then please, take them to the vet.
I know that my cat was unusual, but she was an Angel sent to me from God. Her name was Gracie. She is now back in heaven, and I was very, very blessed to have been allowed to care for and love her. (you can get bandage scissors where they sell medical supplies or at a uniform shop).