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How to Detangle Your Cat’s Coat

 by jaime on 18 Jun 2014 |
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Matted fur can be a huge problem for longhaired cats, but shorthaired cats aren’t immune from tangled, matted fur. If left unchecked, small mats become painful and difficult to remove. 

Mats begin with small snarls or tangles. Eventually, debris, dead skin and loose hair is trapped in the tangle, and tiny snarls quickly becomes a gigantic problem. Mats are most common under the collar, behind the ears, between the legs and along the haunches.

If your cat’s luxurious coat has turned into a matted mess, it’s time to get a comb and brush and do some serious damage control. Mats are not only unsightly, but your cat’s attempts at self-grooming may result in nasty hairballs. Eventually, large mats may become painful to your cat’s sensitive skin.

Patience is the key to mat removal, especially if your cat is resistant to brushing. Forcing the brush on an ambivalent cat results only in fear and frustration for both you and your pet. It’s much better to spread grooming out over several short sessions than to jeopardize your relationship and risk your cat’s wellbeing.

These are some tips to de-tangling success:
  • Spend a few minutes of quality time with your cat before you begin the detangling session. Create a calm atmosphere by speaking softly as you gently stroke your kitty from head to tail.
  • Begin with a wide-tooth comb or a wire slicker brush to remove mats. Begin combing at the ends, and then work towards the undercoat. If the mats are large, a matt splitter may make it easier to get to the base of the snarl. Work on one mat at a time and then move to the next.
  • When the snarls have been removed, finish the grooming session with a bristle brush to remove loose hair and dead skin. Alternatively, use a combination brush with rubber-tipped wire bristles on one side and a soft brush on the other side. Remove the mats with the wire bristles, and then follow up with the soft brush.
  • If you cat struggles or becomes skittish, stop the grooming session. Give them praise, a bit of tender loving care and a special kitty treat, and then try again when they're calmer.
  • Talcum powder or cornstarch may help loosen stubborn mats. Use your fingers to massage a small amount of powder into the mat, and then use the brush to de-tangle the mat. Be careful and don’t use powder too near your cat’s mouth or nose.
  • You may need to ask a friend to help sooth your kitty while your work out the mats. Don’t attempt to remove serious, painful mats on your own. Instead, take your cat to a professional groomer. In some cases, a veterinarian may need to use anesthesia to remove painful mats.
Once the mats are removed, establish regular, preventive brushing sessions. Brush your longhaired cat at least two or three times every week. Even better, do it for a few minutes every day. Daily brushing is especially critical for Persian cats that have coarse, easily knotted hair.
Detangling mats is an unpleasant experience for both you and your cat, and removing tiny snarls as they appear is much easier - for both you and your pet, than tackling serous snarls. The result is a happy owner and a healthier cat with a smooth, sleek, luxurious coat.


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