Wednesday, November 30, 2011

How to remove matted fur from your howling, scratching, biting cat. Last night I was in despair about what to do about Graham's increasingly matted fur. I was afraid people would think I neglected him, whereas the real difficulty was how to keep Graham still for long enough to groom him.

I consulted lots of internet resources, from pet websites to that and eHow rubbish that is cut-and-pasted by some poor sod who earns $5 for 'writing' those things. But here is the technique that is working for me. It also gets a better aesthetic result than the widespread advice to just shave your cat.

1. Clip your cat's claws. IMPORTANT FIRST STEP.

2. Get a fine-toothed comb and a pair of nail scissors or other small, narrow-bladed scissors.

3. Sit the cat on your lap with one arm looped around his chest so he can't escape. Talk nonsense to the cat in that psychotically calm voice you use to soothe him on the way to and from the vet.

4. Isolate a fur mat and put your fingers between the root of the mat and the cat's skin. This is important so you don't accidentally cut the cat.

5. Work one blade of your scissors through the mat close to the bottom and snip vertically, away from the skin. Your aim should be to divide the mat into smaller clumps. Not only does this make them easier to remove, it also hurts the cat less.

6. Gently tease apart the small mats. They should come apart relatively easily.

7. Very gently comb out the cat's fur, being careful not to tug at it. Don't be worried if lots of fur comes out. If you've cut the mat vertically, you minimise the amount of fur the cat loses. I learned this lesson by trial and error, so poor Graham is currently missing a clump of fur because my early approach was to excise the mat by cutting it off close to the skin.

I wouldn't be a bona fide cat lady unless I pondered what to do with all the fur I have removed from Graham – most of it the downy undercoat. There is some nutcase who makes jewellery with cat fur and sells it on Etsy, and I have considered that. But because I am trying to be normal, I regretfully threw away the fur.

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