The first thing we have to realize is what exactly causes mats? It’s a simple equation:
Moisture + Loose hair + Dirt/grease = Mats
Take one of those ingredients out of the equations, and you are unlikely to have mats.
The other thing you must realize is that mats are very painful. It causes bruising and sores, and every step can become painful. It can turn a sweet cat into a miserable angry creature. Turning a blind eye to mats is willful neglect and completely inhumane.
Moisture is unavoidable with cats, because they lick spit all over themselves for about 40% of their active time. Not only does cat spit have five known allergens, when it dries it leaves flakes floating along the surface of the hair. So what you may have assumed was dry skin, is actually dried salvia.
Loose hair is particularly a problem for long-haired, overweight, elderly, or depressed/stressed cats. They just can’t effectively address the removal of all the dead hair as it sheds out. Skin sheds too. That’s the larger greeny yellow greasy flakes floating on the surface of the hair.
Dirt/Grease build-up is a no-brainer. Cats are naturally greasy to be weatherproof. Would you want to live with a room-mate that didn’t shower for months?
1. Become aware of the condition of your cat’s fur. This means regularly caressing and checking for excessive dirt or grease, dandruff, shedding, and the first tell-tale thick areas that are just about to fuse into mats.
2. Take ownership of your own set actions and attitude. Not all cats are great self-groomers. Admit there is a problem and help is needed. Either get out the comb and step up your home grooming regularly, or get professional help to find the right right maintenance schedule to keep your cat in healthy condition.
3. Purposely observe by looking for changes in behaviour and health. How often are they self-grooming? A healthy cat grooms 40% of their wake time. Has the condition of their skin and hair changed due to aging or stress? Can they reach everywhere they need to? Do they have poor quality hair?
4. Evaluate your present routine. Do you feed grocery or premium brands? When is the last time your cat had a check-up? Do you truly know whether your cat is healthy or do you just assume so? Cats are exceptional at hiding illness. Allergies, yeast infections, thyroid, diabetes, obesity, hormones, all can be possible contributors to a chronic matting problem
5. Seek professional help from a Certified Feline Master Groomer who can help you determine the best cycle of grooming care for your specific cat. Ask questions, and educate yourself on the needs of your cat. It will mean a better quality of life for both of you. With regular professional grooming, felines are happier, healthier, improved quality of life, and look, smell, and feel gorgeous.
6. Be honest about your ability to take good care of your companion. You choose to include this cat in your life. It is your responsibility and duty to ensure all its needs are properly taken care of and that it should never have to suffer due to your neglect. With all this new-found knowledge, if you are not willing to make a change and break the cycle of oscillating between matted shave-downs, you are committing willful neglect. The right thing to do is find a better home for your cat.