The best part about a cat is its fur. And that soft and silky fur needs to be maintained. You may have noticed that your cat spends almost 50% of their waking hours grooming themselves. Grooming not only removes dirt and combs the hair but also helps to distribute oil along the fur to moisturize it. Hence, grooming is very important for a cat’s health.
But if your cat starts grooming itself less or can’t reach some areas, it may cause matting of the fur. Matted fur is very painful for your cat and in serious cases, might require shaving of the fur too. Therefore, it is healthy to keep the cats groomed all the time. Else, you have to use some home remedies for cat mats.
What are Cat Mats?
Usually, cats groom themselves by licking through their tongue. The bristles on their tongue will help remove the dirt and comb the hair. It also acts as a massager and induces the release of endorphins. When the cat starts shedding its fur, the matted fur may get tangled up with the intact hair and form knots. And this gets tighter as the days pass, which causes uneasiness for the cat. Mats are more likely to occur in long-haired breeds like Persian, Maine Coone, Birman, etc.
Matted hair is very harmful to cats as it reduces the oxygen supply for the skin. This may cause inflammation and infections to occur over time. Also, the oil distribution is hindered due to the hair getting stuck closer to the skin. Cat mat can pose trouble over time since it is not seen on the layer. So, it is better to cure and prevent mats from forming as much and as soon as possible.
Causes of Cat Mats
Shedding of the undercoat is one of the most common causes of matted hair and it is perfectly normal. Cats may have good flexibility but there are regions that are difficult to reach for them too. So, some areas may start having matted hair.
Another major reason can be the frequent movement of some parts like the chest, between their hind legs, or under the collar. These parts rub a lot and are under constant friction. This causes the lumps of hair to get tangled up. The fur that was previously tangled loosely, gets tighter with time and becomes difficult to cure after some time.
Lack of grooming or change in grooming habits of your cat might also be the cause of formats getting formed. Cats who usually do not have mats can start developing them as they get older or if they spend less time grooming themselves. Cats might decrease their time for grooming due to various reasons and are needed to be cared for.
If you find the behavior of your cat has changed or if it is not grooming itself properly, you might want to visit a veterinarian or a grooming center. For the time being, you can try these home remedies for cat mats.
Home Remedies For Cat Mats
1. Do not use scissors
The foremost mistake to make is using scissors. Some tangles may be very difficult to remove and you may want to just cut them off. But, it is a very risky resort to go for. If the knot is too close to the cat’s skin, there is a chance that the sharp scissors might hurt the cat or worse, cut it. This may lead to excessive bleeding and wounds on the cat that may need stitches. In other cases, the wounds might go unnoticed and get infected which may require a serious diagnosis. So, it is better to avoid scissors or any other sharp objects to cut the mats at all costs.
2. Olive Oil or Coconut Oil
Olive oil has proven to be one of the best home remedies for cat mats. Although it takes some time, it is cheap, easy, and gives excellent results. Olive oil is natural and does not harm the cat at all. You can use one spoonful of olive oil and apply it directly to the mat. You can leave it on for two or three days and see if there are any improvements.
Otherwise, you can rub the mat with your thumb and fingers to de-mat the fur. In this case, using more olive oil is better than using less so that the tangles are removed easily. Another alternative to olive oil is to use coconut oil. Coconut oil works well and is also similar to olive oil. Coconut oil is also a harmless natural remedy and provides extra lubrication to the mat.
3. Baby Oil
Baby Oil is also a substitute remedy for olive and coconut oil. Baby oil works in a similar way to olive oil or coconut oil. You can take a spoonful of baby oil and apply it directly to the matted region of your cat. Then gently mead it and let it work through the knot itself. You can also leave it for a few days to see the results. Baby oil is generally harmless for cats but it contains chemicals that can upset the stomach if ingested by the cat. So, if you plan on using baby oil, make sure your cat does not lick it.
4. Conditioner or De matting spray
Using water or bathing your cat before de-matting can cause you further problems as water does not detangle the fur. Conditioner or de-matting sprays can be an effective home remedy for cat mats.
Conditioners or de-matting sprays will help you keep your cat dry and easily remove the tangles. You will need to brush your cat and apply the cat hair detangler to it. Then, apply conditioner to the matted section, try to detangle the mats by combing through the fur. When you are done, remember to rinse the conditioner. This is also an easy and effective way to cure cat mats at home but you need to keep your cat calm and hold it firmly so that it doesn’t hurt when you break the mats.
5. Mat Combs
If regularly brushing your cat’s fur doesn’t work too well, you can use a comb called mat comb. It is a razor comb that cuts the hair as you comb through the fur. Inlaid with blades, this comb will allow you to trim the mats that are too close to the skin to be removed easily. It is particularly helpful to go under the mats and cut them off. But remember to hold the base of the cat’s fur. This will avoid the pulling and pain of detangling the mats. Mat combs can be a much more convenient option than even clippers and scissors. If you do not feel comfortable shaving the fur on your own, you can seek the help of your veterinarian or try other home remedies for cat mats.
6. Baby Powder or Cornstarch
Though this home remedy for cat mats is thought of as not so effective, it has shown some results. Talcum powder, cornstarch, or baby powder can be used to remove mats naturally. You can sprinkle some cornstarch powder or baby powder into your hands and massage the tangles with it. Then you can slowly pull the tangle apart and let it fall off. This home remedy may or may not work for all mats depending on how tight or loose they are. Cornstarch can be a natural element, but talcum powder or baby powder needs to be removed immediately after use to prevent it from getting ingested. It might, otherwise, cause an upset stomach for the cat.
Although scissors are a big no to use, you can try using blunt tools to detangle or cut the mats. Clippers are much safer to use than scissors formats that are stuck close to the skin. However, even for clippers, you need to know the proper technique so that it does not wound the skin. You need to use a good-quality clipper and hold it at the correct angle.
Then get to the bottom of the mat and remove it all at once. You can use blade #10 or #40 so that they go under the mats easily. Using this method will cause minimal pain to the cat and remove the mats closer to the skin too. But not all cats will be cooperative, so you will have to cut a little at a time. Or else, you can trust your cat groomer to it.
8. Brush regularly
The most important remedy that prevents mats from forming is to brush regularly. Brushing your hair regularly is not only to remove mats but also a type of bonding. You can spray a little bit of water to add moisture to the fur and start combing with a wide-toothed comb or a brush with teeth. Do not comb too fast. If there are any mats, this will cause pain to your cat. You need the right technique to brush out the mats on a regular basis.
When you come across a mat, hold the fur closest to the skin and try working the tangle out gently. This will allow you to brush the mats on the top layer without any pain. Brushing regularly also has a beneficial effect on the fur. It removes dryness and static electricity that can further prevent more and tighter mats from forming. So, make sure you brush your cat regularly to avoid any adverse effects.
Cats of all sizes, breeds, and ages can have mats and need to be taken care of as soon as noticed. If not, it may cause trouble for you and your pet, which you want to avoid. The best way to avoid mats is to regularly groom your cat if they have started spending less time grooming or cannot groom themselves properly.
Also, if you do not feel comfortable dealing with tighter mats yourself, you can visit your cat groomer on a regular basis to help you with it. It might be a better option format that is too close to the skin. Meanwhile, you can try solving minor mats with these home remedies for cat mats yourself.