Long fur, mats, suddenly having problems, HELP!

Good grooming practices are essential for maintaining health and happiness for you and your cat. This is a forum to exchange tips and advice for proper care of your cat's hygiene needs.


Pet me. Now.- NOW!
Purred: Fri Feb 8, '13 9:04pm PST 
We rescued Minion when she was 3 weeks old. It's a long story, but I have no idea where her mom or siblings were, only that she needed someone to take care of her since her eyes were barely open and she could only drag her weak little body around.

Anyway, as stories like this usually go, she stayed. A fluff-ball of a kitten, we named her Minion from "Despicable Me" from when the little girl goes, "IT'S SO FLUFFY I'M GONNA DIE!"

Anyway, that is neither here nor there, the problem is that now, nearly a year later, I'm finding mats under her tail and her armpits. This is a new occurrence, as I run my hand over her body daily to look for anything of the sort. She is also getting poop stuck in the fur under her tail.

In fact, the poop thing also being a new problem, I took a pair of scissors and trimmed up her entire backside (she hated every second, but being handled since she was a baby, she grudgingly put up with it and I got out with just a few minor scratches). It's not pretty, but it works!

Yesterday I cut a mat out and today I found a new one! I combed most of it out (TOTALLY pissed her off!) and trimmed it when I saw it was hurting her more than it was worth the fight.

I'm just not sure where to start. I've never groomed a cat! My cats have always been short furred, like Maple! I don't mind daily brushing, and I so don't want mats, so I'm willing to do whatever, but I have no idea where to start! Can someone with experience tell me what to do?



Baby Mini


Pet me. Now.- NOW!
Purred: Fri Feb 8, '13 9:15pm PST 
Another photo, so you can see her unruly fur. Lol! The underside is curly. Which is new. The whole texture of her fur seems to be changing!


Angel Hallie- (5-15-96/11-- 7-12)

Please consider- adopting an- older cat!
Purred: Fri Feb 8, '13 11:46pm PST 
One of my cats I have is an adopted Shaded Silver Persian. Persians typically have a cottony undercoat that mats and tangles very easily. In addition because of their head type, Persians cannot effectively groom themselves. To top it off, my Persian absolutely hates to be groomed. I've ended up having to keep his coat scissored short on his underside, the back of his legs, and the area around and under his tail all the time to prevent him from getting feces in his coat and to keep him from developing mats on his belly, between his legs, in his underarms etc. I also keep his coat trimmed short under his chin and behind his ears, other areas where he tends to easily get mats. In the spring I generally have to scissor his coat short all over because he starts developing mats even on his back and sides when he sheds his winter coat.

For my Persian and to a lesser extent for my other longhaired cats, I also use a mat splitter such as the Four Paws Mat & Tangle Splitter. This style of mat splitter allows you to safely split the mat without danger of cutting the cat's skin. I also like the short toothed undercoat rake and the long toothed undercoat rake for grooming cats and dogs. With cats you have to be careful though and not overdo using the rake at any one time because if you keep grooming with the rake even after hair has stopped coming away easily, it's possible to make too much hair come out and end up with a bald spot which won't hurt the cat but doesn't look good and takes time for the hair to grow back in and cover it again. Rubbing a little cornstarch into the coat in areas where the coat is oily will help absorb the excess oil in the coat.

Depending on length, thickness, coarseness or softness of coat, degree of undercoat, the cat's ability to groom itself & other factors, longhaired cats usually do tend to get mats behind the ears, under the tail, in the back of the pants hair, under the chin, on the chest, in the underarm area, on the belly, and between the hind legs. Another place where many longhaired cats usually have long fur that can easily pick up feces, litter, and other dirt that can become stuck in the coat and even cause soreness and lameness is on the bottoms of the feet around and between the paw pads. Trimming the hair short around the paws and between the pads so the hair length is even with the pads instead of sticking out longer than the pads, will take care of this problem.

The grooming tools I use most frequently on all my cats is the short tooth undercoat rake, the flea comb, and of course, the claw clipper.


Pet me. Now.- NOW!
Purred: Sat Feb 9, '13 4:45pm PST 

Thank you! Do you know which brush I should start with? Will any do? I don't mind keeping her butt trimmed, but I want to avoid the mats without shaving her!


It's all about- me.
Purred: Tue Feb 12, '13 3:27pm PST 
What an adorable kitty! I can see why you couldn't resist keeping her. I don't have long-haired cats at the moment, although I did have a Himalayan who abhorred being brushed. I had to resort to having him shaved down twice a year because he would get so matted.
I now have 3 short-haired cats, one of whom has very fine fur that occasionally mats. I use a Furminator on them. It does a great job of combing out the loose fur, especially the undercoat that tends to form the mats. One of my cats follows me around meowing to be brushed, she loves it so much.


Purred: Wed Feb 13, '13 10:22pm PST 
I usually start with either the short tooth or the long tooth grooming rake unless there are big mats. When there are big mats I use the mat splitter to break them apart, then I either scissor them out - you have to be careful when using scissors on a cat, look where you're cutting, if you're scissoring close to the skin, only cut hair from small areas at a time because with a cat's loose delicate skin, it's easy to accidentally cut skin if you go too fast or try to scissor areas too large when cutting close to skin. With the Persian when I'm scissoring him, I first cut the hair so it's about an inch long, which can be done more rapidly and with cutting larger sections of hair at a time. Then after that longer cut, I go in and slowly carefully cut the hair shorter in areas such as under the tail, between the hindlegs, on the belly, the underarms, chest, and behind the ears. If I run into mats I switch to the splitter and split the mats first before scissoring them. It's just too easy to accidentally cut skin if you try to cut out big mats with scissors.
I also sometimes use a wide tooth metal comb that I used to use on my Collies, for the Persian, because the wide tooth comb is good for superficial detangling.

Everytime I finish a grooming session with the Persian-he hates being groomed-I say that a cat shouldn't have any more coat than it's able to groom by itself and if the cat is going to be long haired it should have along enough nose to groom itself! Another thing worth being aware of, cats such as Persians can often develop tremendous flea infestations without the owner even knowing it because the fleas hide in the coat, humans don't see the fleas, the fleas can run around under the mats undisturbed. When I used to help out in an emergency clinic, my cats were blood donors a few times for Persian type cats who came into the clinic dying of anemia from being literally bled to death by fleas and the owners were unaware of the massive flea infestation because the owners couldn't see the fleas under the coat.

Member Since
Purred: Fri Aug 9, '13 11:38pm PST 
Dear Minion,
Sorry to hear you are having trouble with mats. Although regular combing is good for general maintenance, fact is, mats are caused by dirty hair. Cats are naturally very oily, and combine that with dirt and eventually mats will start. Combing out the mats is helpful but keep in mind that you are just spreading around the oil and dirt more and that the hair will mat again in no time. If it has skin and hair, it needs to be bathed regularly. Clean hair doesn't mat. But if your cat is long-haired and you've bathed it, you cannot let it run around and air dry. Any existing mats will shrink and it will become worse. (That's how felt is made) You must either comb out all mats before the bath and comb again just after drying, or have a professional cat bath and comb done.
Cat wipes don't work very well, nor does dry shampooing as they only do a bit of service to the surface of the hair, rather than getting down to the roots and skin which is the source of the oils making the dirt stick in the coat. Those products are meant as a temporary solution if a complete bath is inconvenient.
Look for a professional cat groomer, preferably with the NCGIA, if you have trouble bathing Minion without causing stress and stifle between you. And don't use any conditioner.

Member Since
Purred: Thu Apr 3, '14 8:29pm PST 
I wouldn't scissor up any long haired cat as there skin is so delicate loose and stretchy it can easily blend right into a matt, making it look like just the mat when in fact their skin is mixed in there. I have heard many stories of people accidentally cutting their cats skin. If they mat up very easily it is a good idea to just get them shaved down about every 3 or 4 months depending on how fast they grow or mat again. I will sometimes cut out a few matts on my Persians but I am very careful, and I make sure I first have a metal greyhound comb between the skin and matt, then I cut just over the scissors, once the matt is cut short you usually can break it up and comb the rest out. You usually will use a metal comb on a cat to make sure you are getting all the way to the skin, as a brush will just go over the top of the coat leaving undercoat still underneath it that matts up.