My cat Midnight has always kept her shiny black coat carefully groomed, without a single hair out of place. If someone strokes her fur in the wrong direction, she immediately sets to work making each hair look perfect again. But as she has climbed into her double-digits of age, she has an increasingly difficult time grooming her hard to reach areas. As her grooming has become less thorough and frequent, her shedding hairs and dirty fur easily become tangled and create stubborn little knots of fur called mats.
Not only do mats look odd, but they also can be painful and need to be removed. Most of Midnight’s mats can be removed at home by brushing them out or with an electric trimmer (using scissors increases the risk of accidentally cutting her skin). But for some cats, their mats are so thick and painful that they need to be shaved off by a veterinary technician.
To prevent more mats from forming, I brush Midnight daily and quickly remove any mats I happen to find. Midnight is absolutely not a touchy-feely kind of cat, so she never fails to voice her dread of this event. But despite her frustration, I need to regularly check her coat to make sure any mats don’t cause her greater discomfort by becoming bigger or growing in number. If she becomes too frustrated while I am brushing her, I give her a few minutes to cool off before finishing.
Midnight’s FURminator brush has been an essential tool in keeping her coat nice and orderly because the fine tooth comb removes even more dead fur than a typical brush would. Gently brushing her coat in the direction it grows reduces the amount of tangling by removing these dead hairs. By also reducing the amount of loose hair she ingests while grooming, she also has fewer hairballs. Using the fine tooth comb produces an obvious effect— each time I am finished brushing, I have enough hair stuck to the FURminator to create a Midnight clone.
Many geriatric cats require more frequent brushing as they are no longer able to groom hard to reach areas. Some cats (especially long haired cats) require regular sanitary shaves to keep the fur on the back of their legs clean. Without frequent brushing or grooming, painful mats can form which can be difficult to remove when they become too large. Removing mats with a brush or electric shaver is ideal rather than using scissors which can cut the cat’s skin. Veterinary assistance might be needed if a mat seems too large or painful for removal at home. Mats can be prevented with frequent brushing, which can be facilitated with a FURminator brush.