Home Remedies for Cat Matted Fur: if you own a long-haired cat, you may be wondering if there are any home remedies for matted fur on cats. Dealing with cat mats isn’t only a cosmetic matter, but a health one too. Left untreated, mats are like the tip of an iceberg, you don’t see what’s happening underneath. Other than pulling and tugging at the cat’s skin, mats prevent the skin from being aired providing an ideal habitat for bacteria, yeast and other parasites. If your cat has mats, you may want to be watchful for some medical conditions that warrant a vet visit listed below.
Cat Mats: When to See the Vet
Cats are known for being “fastidious groomers.” The condition of a cat’s coat speaks volumes about the cat’s overall health. When a cat presents with “unkempt hair coat” such as increased oiliness, large areas of matting, odor and scaling, this can be a sign of a medical disorder that prevents the cat from successfully grooming. Coat changes in cats therefore warrant veterinary attention. Also, left untreated, cat mats can lead to complications. Following are tips on when to see the vet.
Sores Under Mats
Because mats prevent the skin from breathing, underneath those mats, sores may develop causing inflammation or even a serious infection that can cause fever and loss of appetite, explains veterinarian David T. Roen in the book “The Doctor’s Handbook of Home Remedies for Dogs and Cats.” If that’s the case, see your vet for treatment.
Mats Around the Rear
Sometimes, mats are seen in the cat’s rear end area. When the cat’s anus and urethra become blocked by mats, this can cause great discomfort in the cat, but also serious complications such as the inability to use the litter box, urinary tract infections and constipation, explains veterinarian Dr. Shelby Neely.
Matted Fur in Old Cats
If your cat is aging and you notice poor grooming and an increase in matting, this can be a result of some medical conditions, and a common cause are arthritic changes in the elderly cat. As the cat loses flexibility, he no longer can turn around to groom his coat, leading to the formation of mats over the back, explains Alice M. Wolfe, a board-certified veterinarian specializing in internal medicine. If that’s the case, you may want to consult with your vet for pain relieving options.
The Effect of Obesity
In some cases, obesity may be an underlying cause for the formation of mats in cats. Due to the formation of body fat, obese cats may no longer be able to groom themselves as they normally would. Seeing the vet for a weight loss program is important to allow the cat to better groom himself, but also to prevent other disease linked to being overweight.
Other Medical Conditions
There are several other medical conditions that may cause a cat to no longer attend to his coat with the end result of predisposing him to getting mats, odor and other skin conditions. Diabetes, hyperthyroidism, kidney disease and other medical conditions that affects the cat’s overall sense of well-being may play a role in an unkempt coat.
Home Remedies for Mats in Cats
While in some cases, mats need medical attention or may be a sign of an underlying medical problem, in some cases, mats simply form because, some long-haired cats require additional grooming from their owners. Daily deep brushing all over the cat’s body reaching every layer of the coat down to the skin is the best way to keep mats at bay. Many cat owners post raves reviews on a special grooming tool called the “Furminator” but here’s what you can do at home for the time being, if you are dealing with stubborn mats.
Keep Your Cat Dry
It may be tempting to give the cat a bath in hopes that water will work its magic and help loosening those mats. Instead, water does just the opposite. Once your cat’s coat is drenched with water, the mats will shrink up more tightly than ever, making the problem worse. So if you plan on de-matting your cat, keep her out of the water. The mats (and your cat!) will thank you.
Use Your Fingers
Slow and steady wins the race. When it comes to mats, you will need to be patient and try doing a little bit at a time working with your fingers from the ends of the hair inward. Divide the mat, hair by hair. It may help dividing the mats in smaller workable sections: first in half, then in quarters, and then in eights until the mat is gone.
Try a De-Matting Comb
There are several de-matting tools on the market crafted with cats in mind. Pet owners report mixed results, with some raving about them and others claiming they don’t work. It seems like results vary based on the cat’s temperament, coat type and types of mats. Some work best if used along special tangle removal sprays made for pets.
Slide a Steel Comb
Too many cat owners risk cutting their cats when they reach out for the scissors to cut off a mat. Vets are used to stitching the poor cats up. Cat skin is very thin especially by the armpits and belly area, and when the mat is very close to the skin, it can be easily cut, as seen in this picture, so avoid using scissors in these areas. If you must use scissors, to avoid cutting skin, you can slide a steel comb under the mat so that you cut over the comb instead of snipping the skin. Use blunt scissors for extra safety.
Get Good Clippers
Veterinarian Cris Bern cautions not to use scissors to cut mats for the dangers mentioned above. A better, much safer option is to invest in good electric clippers so to shave the mats off. Look for clippers with a #10 or #40 blade that allow to go under the mat more safely, recommends Dr. Bern. At the worst, clippers will cause a minor skin irritation, which is much better than an open wound that needs stitches. While shaving the mats is a good solution, consider that many cats are not collaborative though, so you might have to do a little at a time. If your cat is fractious, you may have to have your vet remove the mats, possibly with the aid of sedatives.
See the Groomer
For painful mats that are large and hard to de-tangle, you can see your groomer for a shave down. Many groomers will also give cats a cute “lion cut.” This will give you a few weeks of relaxation as you won’t need to brush your cat for a while until the hairs grow to a brushable length. If you believe your cat has sores under the mats, a better option is to see your vet so while your cat is being groomed, the sores can be medicated. Please note that some cats may act oddly after being shaved down, while some act friskier.