View Full Version : A question about cat grooming
05-09-2005, 09:48 AM
I have a 12 year old DSH cat, Snowy. (yes, the ultra imaginative name for a white cat)
She's got that kind of fur that has an undercoat and she's gotten a bit matted in one spot. Right on her back just a bit forward from her tail. You can't see it because it's kind of under the top layer of fur but you can feel it. There are probably a dozen or more little matted spots of fur in this one area. I'm thinking that she might not be limber enough to adequately groom herself in that area anymore though I don't exactly know that since I never see her groom herself. She's quite the little recluse.
She dislikes human contact. Hates being held and only occasionally wants to be petted and then never likes to be petted anywhere except her head and the coveted chin scratch. You'll get a warning nip if you try to pet her anywhere on her body but she seems to like to have her face and chin petted and scratched. I mention all this by way of describing how traumatic it would be for her if we held her and attempted to cut away the matted fur.
So, should I just leave it to work itself out? I'm tempted to catch her and clip them because I'm thinking they must be uncomfortable but then she'd certainly hate the attention and likely wouldn't come out of hiding for a couple of weeks.
05-09-2005, 10:04 AM
I don't think it will 'work itself out', I fear it will get worse.
Time for Snowy to see a professional groomer (who should be equipped to deal with less-than-lap-friendly kitties) or perhaps even the vet.
05-09-2005, 10:09 AM
Oh, and if you grab her and do it yourself, try this: Find a clump and try pulling it apart (lengthwise) from the tip to where it goes into Snowy's back. Do this gently. It's kind of like fraying a rope. If you can get them out without cutting I think it's better. I've had pretty good luck separating my cats clumps this way when they get them.
And if you do this don't be surprised if she does like the attention; those clumps can be mighty unconfortable...
05-09-2005, 10:48 AM
I'd bet she will be upset, but, grab her with a towel, and have someone else do the holding, while you do the clipping... unless you're good, and can control the cat. I seem to be able to groom/clip claws on all 3 of our cats, and (partly) don't understand the "crazy cat injuries" stories you always hear! :)
We have an old cat, 16 or so, who until recently had a sleeping spot that was too dirty. He would shed on his sleeping spot (an old moving blanket), and the dust would combine with his shed fur, and then get matted into his "hip" area, as he propped himself up to clean (he would spin while cleaning too).
We snipped the clumps out, and now make sure we change his blanket regularly, washing it once in a while. This seems to have fixed the problem. He wasn't happy AT ALL about the treatment, but he seems to be happier following the treatments.
He's also a bear to brush, he's got the world's finest cat hair, and it gets in your nose, and sticks to all available skin... for hours...
05-09-2005, 11:23 AM
On average I would guess I see one or two cats a week that need large matted areas of coat shaved off. One caveat: I see many owner-inflicted lacerations where people have tried using scissors. I charge way more to suture a grooming wound than I do to shave a cat.
Once every year or so a little old lady will call and say something along the lines of, "I need to get my pussy shaved". :D I don't know how my receptionists keep a straight face.
05-09-2005, 12:19 PM
So, should I just leave it to work itself out?
A mat will never work itself out. If you leave it, it will get worse and worse and more and more painful as the fur tightens and pulls the skin. Plus all kinds of crawlies like to nest in and underneath mats. You need to get them out or take her to a groomer.
Do this gently. It's kind of like fraying a rope.
This is a good method, as long as the mats are too tight.
If you don't have experience with scissors (dull tips or otherwise), I highly highly recommend NOT trying to cut them out. It's practically impossible to see where the skin ends and the mat starts, and the skin feels very much like the fur. It's very easy to cut the skin and the emergency vet bill will cost you quadruple or more what a groomer will charge.
We've had cat-grooming threads in the past where some people say that it's "easy" to cut out mats with scissors and they've never cut the skin, it's easy to see and feel the skin, anyone can do it, blah blah blah. They've just been lucky - so far. Listen to vetbridge.
05-09-2005, 01:49 PM
Thanks to everyone who responded. I guess my thought that as the hair grew out the mats would grow out too was completely wrong.
I remember trying to cut some mats out once before with her and you're right missbunny it's hard to see where the mat ends and skin begins. I think I ended up cutting the mat in half rather than get too close to her skin with the scissors.
I'm going to enlist my daughter's help to see how bad it really is then I'll probably call the vet and see how much they charge for grooming.
05-09-2005, 02:07 PM
Does your kitty go outside? Mats that start off as "not bad" get worse if they get wet. The fur shrinks up like boiled wool. VERY hard to get out.
If I were you, I'd suck it up and take her to a groomer this time, and then begin a slow process of doing a light combing every single day in order to stave off mats before they ever start. You donít have to brush her entire body every day; just try and do a part of it so that she gets more used to it. Try different types of combs and brushes too; different ones work on different cats, even if they are all short-haired or long-haired. If you come across any small mats (I mean after all the current ones are gone), it helps to hold the base of the mat while brushing it out, so that you don't pull the skin.
You can buy various mat-splitters at a pet store. Donít get the kind that has sharp blades, which cut the mat. There are others that have long skinny tines - usually not many on the head, maybe 4-6 - that allow you to draw it through the mat and break it up. (If the current ones are bad though, you probably should have those removed and then use a mat-splitter for future mats, before they get really bad.) You have to start by separating the mat at the top and slowly working your way down, as you separate more and more fur.
Are you one of those people who like the zit threads that are so often on these boards? Well, combing out a mat is just as satisfying as exploding a boil! Lumpy and misshapen becomes smooth and sleek. ;)
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