How do cats get matted?

All too often in my grooming salon, first time appointments are made when a cat is matted. Their hair has become thick, dull, oil and with large clumps all over. Most of the time, the owner is at a complete loss as to how they got matted in the first place. Was there a health change? Did they just stop grooming themselves? Did they rub around the carpet? How do cats get matted in the first place? This article will cover how cats become matted, which cats are at the highest risk for developing mats and what the options are to remove them.

What Does Cat Matting Look Like? Well, the first thing we need to address is that cat matting forms and looks very different from knots and tangles you would see in dogs or even people's hair. The majority of cat mats are solid clumps of dead hair stuck together with oils from the skin. When a cat’s hair wants to naturally shed out, it will either fall out on it’s own, be ingested by the cat during self-grooming (licking) or it sticks together with other dead hair. Over time more and more dead hair sticks together with excess oils from the cat’s skin. Small clumps turn into large clumps, and large clumps spread and turn into more severe matting. Once matting has formed there are only two options: it either gets combed out or shaved out. Cats aren’t equipped to remove matting on their own and it will only get worse and more painful. Which Cats Can Get Matted It may seem that only long-haired or very fluffy cats are susceptible to getting matted. But actually, all cats, even short-haired cats are at risk of developing knots, tangles and mats. Since it is dead hair compacting together, this can happen with hair at any length. For long haired cats, the highest areas of risk for matting are:

  • Belly/Armpits

  • Sanitary area

  • Chest/neck

  • Base of the tail

  • Back/sides

  • Fluffy Tail

Now, I know what you’re think