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How to Brush Out Matted Cat Fur: 6 Simple Steps

Written by: Jordyn Alger

Last Updated on February 19, 2024 by Catster Editorial Team

brushing ragdoll cat's hair

How to Brush Out Matted Cat Fur: 6 Simple Steps

Matting can be stressful for the cat and the owner. Your cat will be unhappy, and working through the tangles in your cat’s fur can be difficult, especially if the matting is severe.

Matting often occurs around a cat’s legs, chest, and collar due to their constant movement. If matting grows worse in these areas, it can lead to pain for your cat. It can also lead to several health issues, so getting the problem taken care of as soon as possible is essential.

To rid your cat’s fur of matting, you need the right tools. However, it is also crucial to recognize when a problem is too large for you to handle without professional help. This article goes through a few steps that you can take to deal with matting, along with advice on how to prevent the problem.

cat paw dividerWhat Tools Are Needed to Deal With Matting?

Before you can start working with your cat’s matted fur, you will need to ensure that you have the proper tools for the job. You need a brush or comb, and if the matting is severe enough, you may want special de-matting tools.

It is not recommended that you use scissors or shave your cat. If you cannot handle the matting with the tools at your disposal, you require the help of a professional.

woman brushing the Persian cat
Image Credit: ANURAK PONGPATIMET, Shutterstock

Know When to Seek Professional Help

Professional groomers have better tools to groom your cat’s fur. Any time that you feel you are in over your head, seek help. Your cat’s skin is delicate and can be easily injured if you are not careful, so it is best to leave the work to trained professionals if you are not confident and comfortable.

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The 6 Steps on How to Brush Out Matted Fur

1. Evaluate the Matting

The first step is to examine the area or areas that have matted. Is there one single mat, or are there multiple spots of matting? Is the matted fur small or large? By evaluating the situation, you can decide whether a professional should be involved.

wire bristle grooming brush with cat hair clump on the side
Image Credit: sophiecat, Shutterstock

2. Calm Your Cat

De-matting your cat is not a pleasant process. It may make your cat stressed or bring them discomfort, making the process difficult. To make things as easy as possible, it is essential to soothe your cat before you begin working. Your cat may not be willing to sit patiently while you work on de-matting their fur, which is fine. Give your cat breaks if needed.

woman hugging a cat Image Credit: Alek_B, Pixabay


3. Work Out the Tangles With Your Fingers

Your fingers are excellent tools for de-matting fur because they are effective and soothing. Your cat will likely be much more accustomed to your hands than a de-matting tool, and they may be more willing to let you work if you use your hands. Plus, your hands can be effective at breaking apart larger clumps of matted fur.


4. Brush What Your Fingers Cannot Untangle

It is unlikely that your fingers will be able to untangle the matted fur entirely, so once you have broken what chunks you can, move on to a brush or comb. Preferably, use a brush or comb that your cat is familiar with, since it can be less stressful. To prevent tugging against the skin, hold the base of the fur you are brushing, and brush in small, gentle strokes.

man brushing norwegian forest cat
Image By: Anna Hoychuk, Shutterstock

5. Use Specialized De-matting Tools

If your hands and the brush are not enough, it may be time to move on to de-matting tools. Depending on which one you use, there will be different instructions. Read the directions on the product and follow them closely.


6. When Nothing Else Works, Consult a Professional

When all else fails, look for guidance. A professional groomer is accustomed to removing mats on fur. Tangled fur may not seem all that serious, but improper care can lead to significant pain and other issues for your cat. Don’t be a hero—if you’re in over your head, ask for help!

bengal cat and vet
Image By: Pressmaster, Shutterstock

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What Causes Matting in Cats?

In general, the matting is caused by poor grooming. If your cat has an infection in their mouth, they are unlikely to groom frequently. Arthritis or obesity can limit your cat’s movement, making it harder for them to groom certain areas. Other issues that can cause matting include stress and various medical conditions.

If matting becomes a recurring problem, it could signify something troubling is going on. Talk to your vet if you have concerns about your cat’s coat.

The Dangers of Matting

Matted fur is a serious matter, not just an aesthetic one. Beyond causing your cat pain and discomfort, matted fur can also lead to some significant health concerns.

Fleas, ticks, and other parasites can hide in matted fur. Matting can lead to skin irritation, which can lead to infections. Matting may also affect temperature regulation, as thick clumps of matted hair can hinder airflow and make cats overheat.

When you notice matting, take steps to eliminate it. If you are concerned about resulting health issues, speak to your vet.

person brushing an orange cat
Image By: cottonbro, Pexels

How to Prevent Matting

The best way to handle matted fur is to prevent it in the first place. Taking preliminary steps to combat matting can spare your cat discomfort and potentially, certain health concerns.

Brushing regularly can keep fur from matting. Depending on the breed, you may want to brush your feline more often (for example, long-haired breeds). There are de-matting sprays that can prevent tangles if you feel that you need the extra help.

cat + line dividerConclusion

Matting is stressful and concerning, but you are not alone in dealing with it. There are plenty of resources to turn to if you feel ill-equipped to conquer the tangles on your own, such as specialized tools and professional help. Be sure to show your cat gentleness and care when removing mats, and of course, know when to throw in the towel and seek help.


Featured Image Credit: Chameleon Pictures, Shutterstock

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