I have recently rescued my first long-haired cat. She is sprouting big mats that are clearly painful to her. However, she gets so excited when I groom her that I get scratched and I'm afraid I will hurt her. Is there anything that makes it easier besides having the groomer shave her down?
By Bluey from Laramie, WY
You may very well have to have her shaved. My mom does this with her Persian. She gets a "lion" cut, or you can simply cut the bad tangles out. I will give you several tips that I have found work for my cat:
Take a baby-wipe and spray it with lots of hair detangler made for kids. Then while your cat is eating a food she loves (like wet food) or someone is holding her, wipe this detangler soaked baby-wipe all over her coat especially on the tangled spots. The baby-wipe works better than spraying the detangler directly on to the cat! Also you might try mixing a tiny bit of hair conditioner into a tablespoon or 2 of water and putting this directly on to the tangles, just use you fingers to apply it. But my favorite detangler is Frizz-ease hair serum. It's made with a silicone-based product and it's super slippery and removes knots in a jiffy!
Also, my cat will only let me brush him while he is eating. So when he's super-hungry in the morning I always brush him while he's eating. It helps to offer wet food to get the cats attention. I keep a brush hanging up near his food bowl.
Start out grooming your cat with a wide-bristled brush at first, then after you've gotten out all the tangles, switch to a pet comb. (a small comb with about 1/4 inch spaces between the teeth) These combs will remove the hair that is shedding. You can also pet your cat with an old panty-hose on your hand and this will help remove some of the shedding hair. It's most important to brush your cat in the spring when they shed most!
I have a pure Maine Coon that I have shaved every spring. He would never allow me to brush his belly, resulting in terrible knots in his fur. But I changed his mind.
Every night before dinner I would swipe him a few times with the brush where he liked to be brushed. The back of the head especially, down his back and on his chin and chest. Then he'd get to eat. I just slowly expanded on this so now he gets a few quick swipes all over before he eats. Now he purrs getting brushed because he knows what's coming. And so far this winter, no knots!
So you may as well get her shaved so that you have a "clean" start, and then try my plan. Most animals will respond to the reward system.
In case you haven't noticed, your cat is a grooming professional. Cats spend much of their time cleaning themselves!
Since I became weary in brushing our Persian cat over the many years, I became desperate to find a frugal solution. . .
Start grooming as soon as you get your cat. Start slowly to see how kitty responds. If he or she is skittish, do it frequently in short time periods until kitty responds better.