Matted fur isn't just unsightly. It can cause your cat pain and hide underlying medical problems. Matted hair cuts off the supply of oxygen to the skin and creates a perfect breeding ground for bacteria, maggots, lice and fleas. Matting is most common in medium-haired and longhair cats but short-haired breeds with thick fur can also suffer from the problem.
Work on your cat's mats when it is calm and relaxed. After eating is an ideal time. Removing mats requires patience. Take a break if your cat becomes agitated.
Sprinkle cornflour on your cat's mats and work it into the fur. Run a comb through the base of the mat and use your fingers to break up the clumps. Be firm but gentle. Do not pull on the mat. Continue combing until the mat has gone.
Snip the mat near the base with scissors if the mat can't be removed by combing. Always cut up and away from the cat's skin. Longhair cats often have thin, delicate skin which is easily cut. Work slowly and always make sure you can see the cat's skin.
Shave the cat if combing and cutting don't remove the mats. Invest in a good pair of clippers with a No. 10 blade. Place the cat in a standing position with its side facing you. Shave downward from front to back. Be careful not to nick the cat's skin.
Reward your cat with a treat during and after grooming. Regular grooming will help decrease mats in your cat.
If the cat becomes very agitated or aggressive while you are trying to remove mats, it's a good idea to take it to a veterinarian or professional groomer. It may need to be sedated while the work is being done.