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If it were my cat, I'd let the vet do what he has suggested. Matted fur can be very painful, and can't be combed out without causing more pain and possibly damage to the skin.

My long-haired cat gets mats on his hips. He won't let me comb him in those areas even when there aren't any mats. I had him shaved one year, but that required a blood test to check his kidney's and liver before anesthesia. Since then, I've cut his fur off myself at the beginning of each summer (not a pretty sight!), and I keep a close eye on the condition of his coat. Any mats that start forming get cut off right away .... very carefully, with scissors.
 
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