How to Brush Matted Cat Fur Without Hurting the Cat

Though cats can be meticulous about grooming, mats require human attention.

Though cats can be meticulous about grooming, mats require human attention.

Regular brushing is usually enough to keep your feline friend happy and tangle-free. Occasionally, however, you may run into matted fur. Though removing those unsightly and occasionally painful mats is not necessarily anyone's idea of a good time, you can take steps to make the process easier for everyone involved.

Choose a time when your cat is in a relaxed state. This may include when your cat is about to fall asleep or when she has been fed recently.

Stroke your cat to reassure her and help her to relax further. If possible, hide your grooming tools from view.

Identify the mat on your cat's fur and apply a small amount of cornstarch to the hair. Gently work the cornstarch into the fur with your fingers.

Use the tips of your fingers to separate the mat into sections, taking care not to tug or pull at your cat's skin.

Use a greyhound-style comb, a pick or a comb with long, thin tines to gently pick at any mats that you cannot untangle with your fingers. This may take some time, but eventually the mat will begin to untangle. As with above, make sure that you are not pulling or tugging at your cat's skin.

Items you will need

  • Cornstarch
  • Greyhound-style comb or comb with long tines


  • If your cat has a large amount of matted fur, has mats that won't untangle with gentle grooming, or is completely intolerant to any grooming, take her to the veterinarian or to a professional groomer to have the mats removed.
  • If your cat begins to struggle or show signs of discomfort, take a break to allow her to relax. Make sure she is completely calm before resuming.
  • Do not give your cat a bath before you attempt to remove mats. Wet fur is more difficult to work with and can cause the mat to tangle further.


  • Never attempt to cut or shave a mat close to your cat's skin.

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