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Best Way To Remove Matted Fur

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Milo Persian cat

Dealing with mats on your Persian cat is part of Persian cat ownership, regardless of how well groomed, your cat is you will still encounter the dreaded matted fur.

Most long-haired cats have very thick and dense fur and if this isn’t cleaned or brushed often it bonds together creating mats. You will often find that the areas with the most mats are the areas your cat struggles to groom themselves. It tends to be on the back of their legs, belly or under their chin but tangled fur can be anywhere on your cat.

Whatever you do don’t reach for the scissors as it is so easy to cut your cats skin, it’s very difficult to trim matted fur without cutting the skin. Your cat’s skin is very delicate and thin and you may think you’re just cutting out the tangled fur but there will be skin there too so don’t do it.

Preventing Mats Is The Key

If you want to minimise the build-up of matted fur then you need to groom your Persian cat on a regular basis, this won’t ensure your cat is 100% mat-free but it will go a long way to reducing the number of mats your cat has. Starting early is the key to success, if you’ve got a Persian kitten you can read my Persian kitten care guide here.

I found that once I incorporated a regular grooming routine using the correct tools that Milo my Persian cat had fewer mats than before. I recently wrote an article looking at the Best Brushes for Long-Haired Cats and these are the tools I’ve effectively used to control Milo’s mats. One of the most effective tools to keep the fur in good condition and remove the loose hair is the Furminator you can read the review I did here.

There are a few steps that I use to remove matted and tangled fur from my Persian cat Milo.

Step 1. Gently Try to Comb the Mat out

You can sometimes gently comb out the mats if you hold the matted fur and use a Cat Slicker Brush and just try to work the mat out this can sometimes work on less matted fur. I find that the slicker brush works best as it doesn’t pull at the fur as much as a fine-toothed grooming comb would. 

You need to make sure your cat is very calm before you attempt to comb the mats out as you will often find your cat will run off once you start combing the tangled fur. It’s important not to stress your cat out otherwise this will be a painful process for yourself and your cat. 

It’s important to note that I only recommend you try this step as the first line of action, if the mat is bad then combing won’t help and may even make the mat worse. 

Step 2. Coconut Oil for Mats

Organic extra virgin coconut oil has many health benefits for cats and it can actually help loosen mats. I recommend applying coconut oil to the mat and leave it for about an hour, this can help to untangle the mat and sometimes you can loosen it with your hands or gently comb it out.

Coconut oil is perfectly healthy for your cat to consume so if your cat starts to lick the coconut oil don’t worry!

Step 3. Try a Mat Removing Comb

There is specialist mat removing combs, that are said to work quite well at removing matted fur without hurting the skin. I’ve not personally used one myself but they are effective at removing mats from looking at the review online. Here’s what they look like.

Step 4. Shave the Mat Out

This would be the option I would use if all the other steps have failed, this would be the last attempt if all else fails. 

You have two options here you either take your cat to a professional groomer who can shave the matted fur for you or you buy a professional pet clipper. They look very much like a human hair clipper but they’re quieter to ensure your cat isn’t scared by the noise. 

I find that shaving the mats out can be a good way to go as you’re unlikely to cut your cat’s skin as you would with scissors and an electric pet clipper makes the process fast and painless for your cat. I’ve had to shave many mats from Milo’s fur. In the summer I will sometimes trim Milo’s fur to keep it looking neat and it makes it easier to groom and helps prevents tangles and mats.

Final Thoughts

If you follow the above steps you should be able to remove mats from your cat’s fur. As mentioned above prevention is the cure to annoying mats and bathing your Persian cat every so often is also a great way to reduce mats and remove loose hair. 

The important thing to note is that not all cats will be tolerant to being brushed or shaved so it can be difficult at times and in some instances you may need to take your cat to a professional groomer. Hopefully, these steps can help you remove mats and tangles from your cat’s hair.

8 thoughts on “Best Way To Remove Matted Fur”

  1. The ONLY thing I have not tried with my 20 yr. old cat is the Coconut Oil. She is too old to be put to sleep the shave and the Shaver I have (for cats) doesn’t even get through the matts!!!

    1. Finding the right technique really helps when it comes to trimming mats off. What I have found works great is using a steel comb to gently encourage the mat away from the skin (brushing with the grain of the hair, so top to bottom and front to back). If you do this quite gently and don’t try to force it, almost tapping at the mat with the comb, the mat may loosen just enough that you can switch from the comb to the trimmer. At this point, your trimmer may be able to shave this small layer of non-matted hair that you have exposed from under the mat. This is not a quick process but if you’re gentle and your cat trusts you and tolerates it, it can work wonders, even allowing you to work your way through some gnarly mats. Again, your goal is to “free” the mat by cutting the younger hair that’s under it, rather than cutting “through” the mat… which most clippers cannot do.

  2. I also have a 18 year old Persian cat her mats are awful I will be trying the coconut oil, I don’t know why I didn’t think of it, coconut oil is my go to for everything! Thanks Dawna Shupe Utah

    1. Carefully using diagional wire cutting pliers can break up the mat and help with its removal. Take shallow cuts being ever so careful that you are nowhere near the cats skin.

      1. I found putting a metal comb between the skin and the mat clump and cutting above the comb will prevent cutting the skin. You can either cut the mat off completely if bad or cut vertically to break up the mat into smaller pieces so it is easier to comb put.

        1. Thank you for your information I need to know if I can give my cat any safe tablet to make him sleep so I can clean him other wise he will bite me

          1. Hi Suhad, I wouldn’t give your Persian any tablets. If he needs sedating then this needs to be done in a veterinary practice, in a professional environment. You should (if you are careful) be able to remove mats whilst he is awake. You just have to be gental and know when enough is enough for one day.

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