Thick Maine Coon coat can easily become matted if left unattended

It could be argued that a disadvantage in being the human caregiver of a magnificent Maine Coon cat is that you have to take steps to prevent the coat from matting. Such a dense, shaggy coat is great for outdoor cats in cold climates but in temperate climates it is not so much that the cat can become overheated but that the fur can become matted. 

Thick Maine Coon coat can easily become matted if left unattended. Not for this stupendous Maine Coon, however.
 Thick Maine Coon coat can easily become matted if left unattended. Not for this stupendous Maine Coon, however. But proactive steps are easier, safer and more enjoyable for the cat. Photo: Pinterest.

Matting is problematic and mats should be removed. If they aren't removed, they will become bigger as we've seen on the Internet with some incredible cases of extreme matting through neglect. Mats take up more and more hair and they start to pinch the skin which can cause irritation and even pain. They can also lead to infection an infestation of the skin. It is said that you rarely see long-haired cats in feral colonies. This, it is said, is testimony to the fact that in temperate climates the natural state of affairs is a short-haired coat.

Associated: Extraordinary pictures of matted fur on abandoned cat AND See the transformation after 2 pounds of matted fur is removed from 14-year-old cat

By far the best policy with respect to matted fur is to prevent it happening through daily combing.  Proactive steps are easier, safer and more enjoyable for the cat. Once you have mats it is much more difficult. However, there are commercial tangle remover liquids and sprays which can soften mats to make it easier to remove them. 

The veterinarians and authors of a well-known handbook on cat health say that you should first saturate the clumps of hair with one of these tangle remover liquids as they rehydrate the hair and close the barbs. You should then separate as much of the mat as you can with your fingers.

You can remove some mats with the tip of a comb but sometimes they will need to be cut out. I think you will find many products on the Internet, particularly on Amazon, which may help you deal with mats and which may avoid using scissors because they should be used with extreme care for obvious reasons. One danger area is that a cat's skin is not attached to the underlying muscle and as the hair is pulled up the skin goes with it i.e. the skin "tents up".

The advice also is not to slide scissors under the mat and above the skin because you are very likely to remove a piece of skin. I can see real dangers here and great care needs to be taken together with a heavy dose of common-sense. 

Frustration and irritation should not get the better of a cat owner under these circumstances. You might consider sliding a comb beneath the mat to protect the skin below. You then hold the scissors perpendicular to the comb and carefully snip into the fur in narrow strips. "Perpendicular" means at 90° or in a vertical position. This is to avoid any chance of damaging the skin. You should also tease the mat out gently with fingers. After it has been removed you can comb out any residual bits of fur left behind.

You may consider taking your cat to a professional but if you do that you should take extreme care as well. Personally, I am not convinced that I can trust so-called professionals at grooming parlours or even veterinarians for that matter to remove mats without traumatising the cat concerned.

You might consider giving your cat a lion cut during the warm weather or some other haircut delivered professionally to remove the possibility of mats occurring. If a lion cut is carried out at the veterinarian they may and probably will sedate the cat. I would ask about that because anaesthetics are potentially dangerous.


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