How To Safely De-Matt Your Cat & Avoid Being Scratched

How To Safely De-Matt Your Cat & Avoid Being Scratched

Author WCF Staff


It is possible to de-mat your cat's fur by either cutting, shaving, or combing it. Dead hair, skin cells, outside debris, and whatever else the cat might have rubbed itself against can all be found in a fur mat. In addition to being ugly, mats can be uncomfortable for them. If you don't get rid of them, you risk skin discomfort and infection.

In most cases, de-matting a cat is not a pleasant experience, whether for the cat or the owner. Since mats typically require several grooming sessions to be completely removed, it's crucial to take things gently and patiently. Even while this method is the fastest and least painful approach to removing mats, it still demands attention to detail.


Grooming isn't just a matter of vanity for most cats; it's a necessary part of their lives. It's good for a cat's skin, and it encourages the sebaceous glands to produce oil that will keep the fur supple and shiny.

RELATED: 7 Helpful Cat Grooming Tips

Grooming helps keep fleas at bay by keeping the cat's hair clean. Mats can form if something gets stuck in the cat's fur or if the cat doesn't take proper care of itself. The cat can have discomfort due to the hair clumps. Mats are more common in long-haired breeds, such as Persians and Maine Coons.

You should visit your veterinarian if your cat completely stopped grooming and taking care of itself, as this could indicate a significant health issue.

cat being brushed

However, if your cat's coat has only a few obstinate mats, you should know how to handle them on your own.

It takes loads of nerves, surgical precision, plenty of patience, and even human assistance to remove the mats from cats while keeping them calm.

What you'll need for de-matting

First, your cat needs to be completely calm. If you try to remove a mat during a playing session, you risk being severely scratched. Before de-matting, you should prepare a few supplies:

  • Scissors with blunt ends
  • Fine-toothed combs
  • Conditioner
  • Cat snacks
  • Cornstarch

Preparing the area

In the vicinity of the mat, lightly dust your fingers with talcum powder or cornstarch. When you can see the skin underneath the mat, gently lift it up and the opposite direction of the cat's skin.

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Sit down and pet your cat to calm it down if it continues to resist. If your cat begins to become agitated during the process, try to calm it down at any time.

cat being washed


The lower blade of the blunt-end scissors should move gently along the skin. When using blunt-nosed scissors, insert the lower blade into the mat. Cut straight through the mat in an upward fashion. Try to avoid pulling the hair as you cut.

Praise your cat for its patience by rewarding it with a bit of a treat.

Move the scissors around half an inch forward and cut again. The divided mats will come apart easily if you use your fingertips to work them apart as soon as possible.


Using your non-dominant hand, hold the mat at the very base with your index finger and your thumb. That way, the comb will not pull your kitten's hair as you work.

You can use a relatively sharp flea comb to comb the mat. Start at the very top of the matted hair and slowly work your way to the base. Just the first 3 or 4 pegs are more than enough for this. As the mat starts coming apart, you can slowly move down.

Preparing the territory

Your cat will appreciate a final snack when you finish. If your cat's mats are severe, it may take a couple of days and sessions to de-mat them altogether, so don't rush things. You'll want your cat to cooperate and be patient during this process.

cat grooming

Next, get a small slicker brush and gently brush out any leftover tangles in short-haired cats.

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Cats that are very matted need to be taken to the vet. To remove all mats, affected cats are given a mild sedative, and vets shave them. Be careful to keep up regular grooming, especially brushing, routine when the cat's coat grows back.

What's the point of dematting?

Matted fur can cause your cat a lot of pain if it isn't taken care of right away. Looks aren't everything! Dematting can help your cat stay happy and healthy. To remind you of the most serious side effects, here are a few examples:

  • Stretched skin: Your cat's skin can be stretched or broken by thick clumps of matted fur that merge with one another.
  • Anxiety: Cats are notoriously clean animals and may suffer greatly from severe matting. They may overgroom in an attempt to calm their anxiety, which could lead to further health issues. Not to mention the fact that their mental health suffers due to this stress.
  • Getting caught: Don't forget that cats love exploring, so keep an eye out for them. It's easy for their matted fur to become snagged and twisted if they enjoy slinking through shrubs.
  • Parasites: Mats are composed of dead skin, loose hairs, and oils. As a result, flea and tick infestations are common. Once they've settled into that fur nest, they're not going anywhere.

World Cat Finder Team

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