Reader Question: Is there any Advice for an Owner of a Longhair Cat that gets Heavily Matted?

Dear Dr. Plotnick,
I have two domestic shorthair cats who are brother and sister. They will be 12 years old in April. The problem is that the female gets matted fur that I cannot remove unless I shave it off – which I am afraid to do. The mats do not seem to bother her, but they look uncomfortable. They are located on her chest area. Do you have any advice for me?

Bonnie L.

Dear Bonnie,

 Longhaired cats are more prone to matted fur, but shorthaired cats can also have this problem. I would not attempt to shave the mats off by yourself if you feel apprehensive about it. And by no means should you attempt to cut them off using scissors. Hair mats often become tightly adhered to the skin, and I’ve seen many cases, unfortunately, where well-meaning cat owners attempt to remove the mats using a scissors and end up creating a huge laceration that requires surgery to repair. Matted fur is uncomfortable for cats, and tightly adhered mats predispose the cat to a skin infection. The technicians at most veterinary offices can clip these mats off for you. If the matted fur is widespread, a more practical option might be to have your cat’s entire coat shaved, which might look better than having a cat with a multitude of bald patches. If your vet cannot do this type of grooming, I’m sure they can recommend a groomer who can.