Our poor Oscar the cat has been dealing with mats for the first time this summer.   He has never had this problem before so I was surprised when several pretty large mats showed up on his back (at the tail end) seemingly out of nowhere.

It could be that he is getting old or that  Henry is no longer here to lick his back (he regularly bathed Oscar) or it could simply be because he has been laying in the dirt all summer, although that is not so unusual so who knows.

Anyway, the thought of shaving the poor guy wasn’t something I was too fond of, but he was really uncomfortable so we were looking into that.  In the meantime, I set out on a search for any other ideas out there and came across someone recommending putting baby oil on the mats and they would just fall out.

Well, I was a little skeptical and didn’t think that baby oil was such a good idea when cats lick themselves so much.  But, without much to lose I tried a little olive oil, which wouldn’t hurt him should he lick it.  With the first one, I wasn’t even really sure whether it worked because I couldn’t find it or remember exactly where it was.  So I did the largest one next and within a few days it was gone.  Hmmm.

I wasn’t sure how this was working, whether it undid the mat or made it fall off, but they were gone so I did another one.  This time we actually found the mat on the floor so it appears that they are falling off.  Strange, but a few oily days and he is mat free and a whole heck of a lot more comfortable.

So, Here it is in a nutshell..

Remove Matted Fur in Cats and Dogs

  1. In a small dish, put a tablespoon or so of Olive Oil or Vegetable Oil.
  2. Get a cotton ball or cotton swab.  It needs to be something pretty absorbent and easily squeezed.   Softness is also a key as these are very tender for your animal and being gentle is really important.
  3. Dab the cotton ball in the oil and gently dab it at the base of the mat until fully coated.  Be very gentle, but you may have to gently hold your animal in place to get this done.  You do not need to get the underside of the mat, moving the mat that much could be very painful.
  4. Wait a couple of days and check to see if it is gone.
  5. Continue to be gentle in that area as the skin where the matted fur was will still be tender for a while.
  6. Once all the matted fur is gone and your animal has had ample time to heal, give them a good brushing and don’t forget to do it regularly to try to avoid this in the future.  This last step is something I am definitely going to need to work on.

Note: If there are multiple mats you may want to treat them one or two at a time.  This is only because this is oil that you are dealing with and it can be a little messy.  By only doing a small spot at a time you may minimize the mess.  I also found that if I applied the oil right before we went to bed, I could localize most of the oil spots to the place where he sleeps at night and not all over the house.  Another tip, rub a little dish soap into the stains before washing the item with the oil spots to help loosen the oil from the fabric.

2 Responses to Dealing With Matted Hair in Animals

  • donna higginbotham says:

    my cat is up in years, could loose more than a few pounds, has long hair, and is not one to be brushed! It has been a little over 24 hours since I applied vegetable oil to her matted hair (and it is a whopper). I already see progress and think I just may be a believer.

  • Vina says:

    Shoot, who would have thuoght that it was that easy?

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