Last Updated: 5 months ago

Having a hard time figuring out how to get rid of mats in your cat’s fur?

If you have a long-haired cat that spends any time outdoors, it’s something you’ll likely have to deal with at least once.

Even indoor cats can get all matted up if they’re having problems grooming properly.

So, read on for a few tips that will help you deal with matted cat hair problems!

Why do cats get mats in their fur?

mats in cat fur

We should probably start by figuring out WHY cats get mats, right?

As experts at Petco explain, cats have a whopping 130,000 hairs per square inch of their body. Jeepers, and I thought I had a lot of hair!

While kitties are typically excellent at caring for that magnificent mane, matting can occur for several reasons, including:

  • Friction and movement (that’s why mats often pop up between the legs, under the tail, and around the collar)
  • Pressure from lying down on a certain body part.
  • Shedding: loose hairs get caught up in your cat’s fur.
  • Illness or dental issues that prevent proper grooming.
  • Poor diet and an unhealthy coat.

Call your vet for help determining the cause behind Matted Cat Hair

It sounds weird to say “call your vet” for something as seemingly minor as knotty fur, I know.

However, if your cat isn’t grooming properly, something else could be going on.

Anything from dental problems to illnesses that cause lethargy can prevent your kitty from taking care of his fur.

I know that if my Maine Coon mix stopped bathing, something would be seriously wrong. That cat bathes himself 22 hours a day, and I’m only half kidding!

So, if your typically fastidious groomer suddenly develops mats, make a call to your vet the first item on your to-do list.

Now that we understand why mats can happen, let’s learn some tricks for preventing and dealing with them.

How To Get Mats Out Of Cat Fur

Matted Cat Hair Rescue: How to Deal with Tangles and Knots

We recently came across a post on a cat lover’s forum from a lady with a Maine Coon named Princess.

As she explains, Princess was dumped near her home, and she’s currently a “barn cat,” so she gets “TONS of mats in her fur.”

The poster goes on to explain that she’s already tried the obvious solution of cutting them out, but they just keep coming back.

So, what else can she do aside from follow Princess around with scissors? Well, for starters, she should put those scissors away entirely!

Experts say cutting your cat’s fur is actually dangerous since kitties have such delicate skin.

It’s just way too easy to accidentally cut too close and wound your cat, which can lead to pain, bleeding, stitches, and even infection.

Instead, invest in a professional metal mat comb and a good detangling spray, then follow these steps:

  • Start by working as much of the mat free as possible with your fingers.
  • Then, spray a little cat-safe detangling spray on your kitty’s mat.
  • Next, hold your cat’s hair in your fingers, just beneath the mat.
  • Use the comb to gently work through the mats using short strokes.

Depending on the severity of the matting, you may want to take your cat to a professional groomer.

Once you’ve dealt with the problems at hand, it’s time to figure out how to prevent them from recurring in the future. So, let’s check out some things that will help.

How to Prevent Cat Hair Mats

matted cat hair

Preventing cat hair mats is all about caring for kitty from the inside out. Keep reading, and you’ll see what I mean.

#1 Feed your cat a high-quality food

The right food can go a long way towards keeping kitty’s fur in great condition, which in turn can prevent at least some mats from forming.

There’s no single “best cat food,” but certain vitamins and minerals can help more than others.

Look for foods containing copper, vitamins A & E, Biotin, and Zinc. Omega-3 and 6 fatty acids are also fantastic for coat health.

#2 Regular grooming

Spend some time once a week (more often if your cat is particularly prone to mats) giving kitty a good brushing.

Not only will this help get rid of mats, but it’ll also keep kitty’s fur cleaner and even stimulate circulation to improve her overall skin condition.

Plus, it’ll help you feel mats before they have a chance to really get out of control.

#3 Keep your cat’s hair short

If you have an outdoor cat or a kitty that can’t quite groom himself anymore, consider keeping his hair short.

Yes, I know, it’s hard to give up those long, luxurious locks, especially if you choose your cat’s breed because you just plain love fluffy cats.

However, it’s a small price to pay to keep his fur from getting matted, caught up, and torn out. Obviously, don’t shave your cat in the winter, but during the warmer months, it’s something to consider.

If you do go this route, though, please take him to a professional. Remember what we said about the dangers of cutting kitty’s hair yourself.

#4 Keep kitty inside

Last, but far from least, please consider keeping your cat indoors. Not only will it help prevent mats, but it’s much safer for them overall.

Along with my two indoor cats, I care for a community of ferals. I’ve seen up close what can happen to long-haired kitties outside.

My own Fuzzcat was once a feral kitten. Before we brought him inside, I used to spend hours sitting on the porch trying to get knots out of his fur.

Maybe that’s why he’s such an obsessive bather now!


I hope this helps you deal with your kitty’s matting problems! If you have any other suggestions from experience, I’d love to hear them.

Do you have any other tips to prevent and get rid of matted cat hair? Share below!


The best way to get rid of mats in your cats fur is to prevent them in the first place. Read on for tips on how to do just that, plus how to deal with them when they happen anyway.
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Nicole Etolen
Nicole Etolen

Nicole is one of the writers here on CatVills. She’s been a cat lover most of her life and-at one point- counted five felines as part of her family. Today, she’s proud cat mom to two indoor kitties and caregiver for a slew of ferals.