Matted fur – it happens to most dogs or cats occasionally. When you notice matted fur on your dog or cat, it’s very important to remove the matted fur as soon as possible. Not only is it ugly, but it can become very uncomfortable for your pet causing him to pinch and pull at it. Of course, this can just make matters worse.

So, what causes matts and how do you treat matted fur?

There are several things which can cause matting, but the most common cause is lack of grooming. If you haven’t brushed your cat or dog for a while, shame on you. Your pet can’t do it himself. He’s totally dependent on you to take care of him. If you can’t do it regularly, please take your pet to a groomer regularly.

Fleas can also cause matting. They can create a tangled mess in your pets fur. Check and treat your pet for fleas regularly.

Some cats and dogs have 2 coats of fur which shed and need to be brushed out. This is a natural process and it is important to brush out the undercoat when your pet is shedding.

So how do you de-matt your pet’s fur? Well, let’s get this one out of the way first. You can always have your pet shaved and let him start all over. Sometimes it’s the best thing. In the right weather, a fresh shave feels great to your pet. It might scare you at first glance, but it always grows back. However, many people are shocked at the thought of shaving their little beauty, so here’s how you can take care of matted hair on your own.

The most important thing to remember when de-matting your pet is this: be patient. Bathing your pet before trying to remove the matts can often make the matts worse. Removing matts from your cat or dog is usually not a quick process, so be patient. My youngest yorkie matted up over the course of 2 weeks one time because I slacked on grooming, and it took me 3 weeks to remove the matts.

Here are the tools you’ll need to remove matts from your dog or cat (the best prices I’ve found on these items is from US
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  • A steel comb
  • A slicker brush
  • A matt splitter

First, let your pet get into a comfortable position… on your lap, on the floor, on the sofa, or wherever he can get comfortable. You don’t want to wrestle your pet during this. If your pet is matted in several places, start de-matting in the places where your pet is most comfortable lying down. In other words, let your pet get comfortable, then work with the places which have easiest access. Also, do your best to control the cat or dog’s head. Control the head… control the pet.

Next begin to work on the matts with the steel comb. Be sure to brush with the grain of the fur. Don’t pull so hard that it hurts your dog. Just for an experiment, grab a small piece of hair on the back of your own head. Pull down, then pull up. Which one hurt more? Up, right? Keep that in mind when you’re brushing your pet. Use the steel comb to slowly break up the clumps.

Try to pull the matted clumps apart into small sections with your hands. The matts are easier to remove if they are smaller, and this will cut down on the amount of fur your pet loses. You may need to carefully cut into the matt with scissors to divide it up. Obviously, don’t get too close to the skin. A cut pet is an unhappy pet. An unahppy pet is more difficult to groom.

As the matts begin to break up, use the slicker brush to remove the tangles. Start at the end of the fur and work your way closer to the skin as the matts loosen up. If you try to start at the base of the fur, next to the skin, you’ll just end up compressing the matts even tighter.

If your pet is going to require numerous grooming sessions to remove the matts, that’s ok. The end results will be rewarding for both you and your pet. Take your time. Be patient. Help your dog or cat to remain calm and comfortable. If you’re sitting down to watch TV or a movie, that would be a great time to work on the matts.

After all the matts are removed, plan on regular grooming times for your cat or dog. Keep the comb or brush in a noticeable spot to remind you about maintaining your pet’s fur. It much easier to brush your pet a few minutes each day than it is to spend hours fighting to remove matted fur.

Good luck!

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9 Comments on How to treat and remove matted fur clumps from your cat or dog.

  1. rufus says:

    Very good advice. My golden retriever had a couple large matts (one behind each ear). I had to clip them a little bit, but I was able to work out most of it with your tips. And you’re right, it’s much easier to work with when the dog is relaxed. Thanks for the tips.

  2. Linda says:

    It was not that I wasnt grooming my cat, the fur was grey matted with black, I groom my cat daily but the matts keep comming. I cant take her to the vet as she is terrified of the carrier. Any other suggestions would be greatly appreciated. The matts become very close to the skin. I DONT WANT TO HURT HER. What is a slicker brush please help. There is a spot also under her chin I cant get to.

  3. gh says:

    Hello these mats are almost impossible to get out w/o using an electric can try a CORDLESS trimmer for pets..some have low noise. Do not use scissors for the cat’s skin is thin and can cut easy.
    You may want to call your vet ahead of can give a single pill (tranquilizer) from the vet if worse comes to worse to get her /him to the vet somehow.
    Your best bet is to try to get the cat to the vet somehow. They can clip all the mats off under short acting sedation ..give them a call.
    A slicker brush is a wire brush especially for can find it in a Pet Store..but like i said, A vet is the best thing as they will clip all the mats off with the electric shaver..the fur will grow back fine.
    DO NOT bath the cat in the will make the mats tighter and worse..GOOD LUCK!

  4. Tom says:

    My female cat has mats.One is I think about 4-5 inches long.Others are shorter.Had them before,not like this.Think she has about 6/7 of them.Have tried Baby oil.So far still there.The big one is still there.Tried to cut one off with scissors,she didn’t like that.Started to hiss get into a defensive mode.Your comments are appreciated.

  5. Elaine says:

    I have 2 Siberian Cats, one hardly ever gets matts, the other is always getting them,I brush both of them everyday….the pet groomer is the only one that can get them out….they need to be shaved.

  6. Dead says:

    “If you haven’t brushed your cat or dog for a while, shame on you. Your pet can’t do it himself. He’s totally dependent on you to take care of him. If you can’t do it regularly, please take your pet to a groomer regularly.”

    Gosh, I wonder what animals did in the wild before we took them in as pets. And what about all those that still don’t live with humans?? MY GOD, WE NEED TO START CLEANING MORE ANIMALS. THEY ARE HELPLESS WITHOUT US


  7. Lp says:

    The matting in my cat’s fur stopped occurring as soon as her diet was changed from dry to wet food

  8. karen says:

    I have a Shih-tzu and she matts terrible expecially on the top of her head and her fir is cottony soft there. the rest of her is course. I need a good suggestion on how I can get that out at home. Thanks.

  9. Constance says:

    I quit reading this article when it pronounced shame on cat owners who have problems with matts. I groom my cat with the furminator every two days and she still struggles with matts. So, shame on you first off for being so blankety critical.

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