Removing Hair Mats From Cats

Mats are solid clumps of tangled fur and longhaired cats, in particular, can be prone to matting if they are not brushed regularly. These are not just unsightly but actually cause pain and discomfort to your cat. As the hair mats, it forms a clump which eventually begins to pull on the skin. The longer the mat remains, the larger and more painful it becomes.

It is highly recommended that longhaired cats be brushed daily to prevent the formation of mats in the first place. If this is started from a young age, the cat should quite enjoy it. It really should only take 5 or 10 minutes to groom a cat and avoid problems.

How to remove a mat in the fur

If you have a fairly compliant cat and the mats are reasonably small, you should be able to remove them at home. To do so you will need:

  • Pet brush or comb
  • Mat splitter (if available)
  • Cornstarch
  • Scissors

Brushing out the mat:

  • Add a small amount of cornstarch to the mat and rub it into the fur, this helps to lubricate the hair shafts, making detangling easier.
  • Carefully begin to brush or comb out the mat. Go very slowly and be careful not to pull the skin as you are brushing. If you have a mat splitter (pictured above), try to break up the mat into smaller sizes before brushing or combing, it will make it easier.

Cutting out the mat:

  • It may be necessary to cut out small or medium mats.
  • Slide a comb between the cat’s skin and the mat to avoid cutting the skin. Be extremely careful not to pull the skin.
  • Place one blade of the scissors through the mat and cut at a 45-degree angle to ensure you don’t cut the skin.
  • Don’t remove the entire mat in one cut, take it slowly.

Large mats or mats on cats who are reluctant to be groomed should be seen to by either your veterinarian or a pet groomer. It will be necessary to put your cat under anesthesia to remove serious mats.


  • Julia Wilson, 'Cat World' Founder

    Julia Wilson is the founder of Cat-World, and has researched and written over 1,000 articles about cats. She is a cat expert with over 20 years of experience writing about a wide range of cat topics, with a special interest in cat health, welfare and preventative care. Julia lives in Sydney with her family, four cats and two dogs. Full author bio

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