How To Get Rid of Mats in Your Cat's Fur

Cat grooming

Mats are tangles in your cat’s hair. Removing them takes time and patience, but it must be done, because mats can become painful and lead to skin irritation or even an infection. Here’s how to get rid of mats in your cat’s fur:


  • Corn starch or talcum powder
  • Hair conditioner spray
  • Sharp but blunt-nosed scissors
  • Treats
  • Fine-toothed flea comb


  1. Wait until both you and the cat are relaxed. Do not try to remove mats from your cat’s fur right after playing with them. Wait until you have some time to work on this and feel that you can keep your cat calm.
  2. Work at the mat with your fingers. First sprinkle a little corn starch or talcum powder on the mat. Hair conditioner spray can also help to loosen the mats, but don’t use aerosol, because many cats will try to run at the sound of the can. Gently work at it with your fingers to try to loosen it.
  3. Cut away the matted fur. For significant mats, you will need to cut some of the affected fur. Very gently, pull the mat up, away from the skin. Use sharp but blunt-nosed scissors, and slide the scissors along the skin, with the bottom edge of the bottom blade sliding along your cat’s skin. Carefully cut up, into the mat. Try not to pull the hair while you are cutting. Repeat the cut with the scissors moved over about half an inch.
  4. Praise your cat. To keep your cat calm, pet their head, offer a treat, and always give them plenty of praise.
  5. Take a break. You may need to take occasional breaks, coming back to it later, once your cat has had a chance to relax. In fact, it could even take several days, depending on how severely matted your cat’s fur is. You need your cat’s cooperation and patience, so don’t rush things.
  6. Work at the mat again with your fingers. Now, when you work the mat apart with your fingers, loose pieces should pull away easily.
  7. Brush the matted hair. Once the matted sections have been separated using the scissors, use your left hand to hold the base of the mat down, so the comb won’t pull too much on the base of the hair. Then gently work the comb through each piece of the mat, starting with just the tip of the hairs and working your way towards the skin. Sometimes you will need to use just the first couple of tines of the comb to work at a stubborn section.
  8. Consider shaving. For seriously matted cats, you may need to have the fur shaved by a veterinarian or groomer. If you have come to this conclusion, never try to shave your cat yourself.
  9. Keep up on grooming. Frequently brushing your cat’s fur can keep mats from forming in the first place.

Removing the mats from your cat’s fur is a tedious process, but it is often necessary, especially for long-haired cats. This process goes much faster if you have a helper who can hold the cat still as you work. 


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