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Helping your cat with grooming

Our tongues are barbed for a purpose
Karla Kirby

Cats groom themselves every day by licking their fur with barbed tongue.. The coarse texture of the tongue permits the cat to work through small knots in the fur while removing foreign objects. Regardless of their self-grooming, cats now and then can suffer from matted fur that is both unattractive and unhygienic. You can help your cat eliminate matted fur with the right tools. You can also make changes to your cat's diet and lifestyle to help prevent fur from becoming matted in the future.

You will need a grooming brush, manicure scissors, loving care and time.

Make sure your cat has eaten and is relaxed. A nervous, high strung cat will refuse to lend a paw and could injure you or become injured as you try to work on the matted fur. Most cats are more passive following a meal.

Gently play with the feline for a few minutes before attempting to treat the matted fur. Stroke the cat soothingly and use a soft, gentle voice to talk to him/her. This will make the cat more relaxed and easier to work with.

Work the matted fur with your fingers. The smaller mats should come loose in your fingers with a little prying. Be careful not to pull too hard on the fur because this can hurt or frighten your cat.

Use manicure scissors on the more complicated mats. Cut down the center of the mat with your scissors, being extra careful not to cut your cat's skin. You may wish to use your fingers to help better position the mat for easy admission.

Gently pull away at the matted fur as you cut it. You may need to make numerous cuts before the mat can be removed entirely. If the cat becomes too fussy or agitated, don't try to persist in working with his/her fur. Allow kitty time to calm down, and return to finish your work later.

Use a grooming brush once you have eliminated all the mats. Slowly brush the cat's fur, using caution every time the brush snags.

Brush the feline once or twice a week to keep his/her fur clean and free from mats... Your cat may at the start be bothered by the brush. If brushing becomes a standard activity, your cat will be less upset by it and maybe grow to like it.

Change your cat's diet and lifestyle to avoid future problems with matted fur. Try to keep your cat indoors whenever doable to keep him/her from getting dirty or rubbing against sticky, icky things. Add more fat to your cat's diet to boost oil production in the fur. Dry hair has a tendency to mat more easily.