Quick Tips: How to Handle Mats

Cutting mats can be dangerous. Use a comb or brush instead.

Posted: Mon Feb 17 00:00:00 PST 2003

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Cutting matted fur can be dangerous, using a brush or comb is the best way to handle that clump.Grooming experts warn cat owners against cutting out mats. It is tempting because when you see a big clump of fur and you know your cat won't hold still for more than a few seconds, you just want to help the cat quickly get rid of that clump.

"Do not attempt to cut mats yourself because you can easily cut the cat's skin. Mats often sit right on the skin and you can end up with a big veterinary bill," Kathy Salzberg, a 21-year grooming veteran and owner of The Village Groomer in Massachusetts, says.

"People come in all the time after cutting the skin. You should use a comb or brush," advises Elaine Wexler-Mitchell, DVM.

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Quick Tips: How to Handle Mats

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Reader Comments

Marilyn    Columbus, NE

6/29/2014 1:12:10 PM

I know cutting out mats is not the thing to do, however my long=haired cat hates to be brushed for more than a minute. I have my husband scratch her head while I cut the mat in the middle of the mat. This makes it much easier to comb through the rest.

Maureen    International

8/24/2013 3:58:36 PM

Our 17 year old calico cat is suffering from arthritis, and this summer I've noticed that she has all but stopped grooming herself. Her longhaired coat is absolutely FULL of mats, except along her spine, tail,and her head. She won't let me brush her anymore, and grooming the mats out is impossible. She doesn't want to be touched. The vet is worried that putting her under to be groomed could be bad for her. Can we leave her as she is, or will she develop sores from all these mats? I don't want the poor dear suffering, and I don't know how to help her.

Stacy    Gilbert, AZ

5/9/2013 8:45:31 PM

I once heard that when a mat on a cat is cut out, the small hairs next to the skin become more easily tangled into a mat. Is that accurate?

CatChannel Editor    Irvine, CA

3/12/2013 10:47:04 AM

Margaret -- How wonderful to have had this cat for so long! You are right that your cat is probably better off in your hands. At her age, she might not be helping you as much with her grooming responsibility. Arthritis could prevent her from cleaning her fur comfortably. Click this link for further advice on grooming your cat. LINK Good luck!

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