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Removing Mats From a Maine Coon: A Step by Step Guide

Maine coons are a semi-long haired breed of cat. This means that they have a whole lot of fur to get knotted. Matted fur is a serious problem in cats and needs treating as soon as possible. So, how do you remove matted fur from your Maine Coon? Well, it depends on how severe the knotting is but you should be able to remove most mats yourself at home, provided that you have the right equipment to hand.  

What is matting and why is it a problem?

Matting occurs more commonly in cats with long hair. Maine coons have two layers of fur. If not regularly groomed then when the undercoat sheds it can get tangled up in the top coat. These tangles can soon turn into tight knots which pull on their delicate skin. This can be very painful for your cat. In a Maine coon matting commonly occurs around the armpit area and around the back end often due to clingons from the litter tray (or butt nuggets as my husband likes to call them).

When the skin is constantly being pulled at over a period of time it will become inflamed. Inflammation can easily lead to infection requiring antibiotic treatment. Therefore it is important to remove matted fur as soon as possible.

Matt the Cat (Husband named him…)

How can I treat Matted Fur?

Matted fur can be removed at home but severe matting may require treatment by a professional groomer or veterinarian.

It is not recommended that you use scissors to remove matted fur from your cat. Cats have very loose and stretchy skin which is also very thin. If they move whilst you are trying to cut away a matted area of fur then this can result in a nick to the skin. Small cuts in the skin can result in large, gaping wounds which take a long time to heal and the fur may not grow back as it was previously. This is not something you want for your cat, especially one with such a majestic coat!

Step One: Relax Your Maine Coon

When de-matting a cat you first need to get them nice and calm. Do it at a time when they are nice and relaxed, so for example, don’t attempt de-matting just before meal time. Give them a good stroke and maybe even a couple of treats before you get started. Now, depending on your cat’s temperament you may want to try some de-tangling spray but in my experience cats hate having anything sprayed on them so this may end up just aggravating the situation.

Step Two: Use a Greyhound Comb

Take a wide-toothed comb, sometimes called a greyhound comb, and slide the teeth underneath the mat. Once you have determined where the matted fur starts and the skin ends you can pull the mat away from the skin gently. Replace the comb with your fingers and hold the mat in place. You can now attempt to comb out the mat. Start at the end and gently tease the fur apart, taking care not to pull on the skin.

Step Three: Try an Undercoat Comb

If the knot is too tight for a wide-toothed comb to work then it’s time to try using an undercoat comb. This is a special type of comb with two layers of teeth: one set for de-shedding the undercoat and a second set with more teeth for breaking up knotted fur. If you are not sure what an undercoat comb looks like then just click on this link to see an example on Amazon.

Step Four: Then Try the Mat Comb

If you have no luck with the undercoat comb then your next port of call is the mat comb. This is a brush that also has a layer of razors which can cut away some of the matted fur. Try to get the razor underneath the mat if you can clearly see where the skin ends and the mat begins.

Step Five: Use the Electric Clippers

Finally, if all else fails then you might want to try using some electric clippers. These are much safer to use than scissors. The question is then about how confident you feel in using a set of clippers on a cat.

Step Six: Examine the Skin

Once you have removed the matted fur then it is important to check the skin for areas of inflammation.

Severe matting requires treatment from a vet or a professional groomer. They may even need to provide sedation as de-matting with clippers can be quite a distressing process. The sound and vibration of the clippers in combination with the discomfort from the mat being pulled can be very upsetting for your cat.

What can I do to prevent further matting?

Once your coon has been de-matted you’ll want to take precautions to make sure that this does not happen again in the future. Taking a few minutes to brush your cat daily will significantly reduce the chances of them developing further knots and tangles. You’ll also find that they shed less too with daily maintenance which is a blessing when it comes to vacuuming the carpets.

For daily maintenance just use something like a silicone massage brush, this one on Amazon is a good, inexpensive example. Your cat will love the sensation of being massaged and won’t even notice you getting rid of all of their excess fur that has accumulated during the day.

It is also important to do a full grooming session on a regular basis, maybe once or twice a week. This is a more intensive session and may even involve bathing your Maine coon if they don’t mind water. The need for bathing will largely depend on how dirty they get. A lot of Maine coons are kept as indoor cats and therefore will not need bathing regularly. An outdoor cat will of course be at higher risk of becoming a bit grubby.

It is important not to bathe a cat who has matted fur as this will make the matting worse. If you do intend to bathe you cat then give them a brush first to check for matting and also to remove any small tangles and knots that you find. When bathing you want to use a good quality cat shampoo. Click here to see recommendations for the best shampoos for Maine coons.

You may find that as your cat ages, they groom themselves less. This can be due to arthritis of the joints making it difficult for them to groom certain areas. This put them a high risk of developing mats. If this is the case with your cat then you should think about increasing the frequency of their regular grooming sessions.

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