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Discussion Starter #1
Hi everyone! I have a quick question about grooming our new cat. We've progressed quite a bit on bonding and trust over the last two months. He's gone from hating me to tolerating me and now appears to like me, haha. It's taken more patience then I knew I possessed to get here and I know we still have a ways to go. I've been working on brushing him, he's long haired and super fluffy. He's matting up a little and shedding clumps of fur. He gets really irritated when I brush him. Are there any tips or tricks you used to help your cat stay calm while you brushed them? I've been doing it a little everyday and stopping when he gets upset, then I give him a treat and lots of love. Is that the right tactic or should I just stop completely until we've built up more trust between us. How can I help the matting of his coat if I should stop? Thank you for any advice!
 

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I used a coarse comb with rotating tines called "The Untangler"
Cats have delicate skin so it hurts when you pull a mat.
Sounds like you on the right track.
Once they get mats, your can try pulling the mat apart.
Some times the best thing to do is just cut them out, this is best done before they get too big and tight against the skin.
My Samantha would get mats on her britches and my ex would hold her by the scruff under her arm while I cut out the mats and trimmed her britches and a potty patch.
After my ex left I could do this alone so once she started to mat up (about 3 times a year) I'd take her to the local groomer for a dematting, a trim and a bath.
When she came home her coat just glowed.
 

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My two kitties were quite matted when I got them. One ended up needing a bit of shaving done as she really didn't like being brushed. Now she's matt free she's quite happy to be brushed with the odd bit of cutting where needed.
What I would say is, if you need to use scissors be sure to place a comb between the skin and the matt before you cut.
 

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Some cats don't like being brushed with wire bristles as they scratch the skin or feel too ticklish and will often tolerate a comb much better. Get a chrome grooming comb that has finer teeth on one side of it, and coarser ones on the other side. Rather than cut out mats it's easier to pick them apart gradually with a "stitch ripper" (available in sewing stores, and work at the mat gently and a little at a time without pulling. Yes, you're doing the right thing by always treating after a session, and it is best to stop if the cat is getting too irritated. It should be a pleasant bonding session, and one that your cat will eventually look forward to as soon as it sees the grooming comb. It's best to do it in a small room with door closed, such as a bathroom to keep it private and other pets out. Grooming on a bathroom vanity or small table that is waist height will make it easier for you. Remove any mats before you shampoo the cat---The water should be very warm and be same as body temp...100-102F, rinse well so no trace of shampoo is left, and after pressing out water with a towel, dry it quickly with a blow dryer (some cats don't like a dryer if it's too noisy), or put cat in a wire cage to blowdry it, or let it airdry in a warm room 80F++ in the sun. Cats can get chilled quickly if a room is too cold. As the coat dries, keep combing it out a little at a time. Clean hair does not mat as much as dirty hair on a longhair cat. Coat texture also makes a difference, a cottony type of coat will mat more than one with a silky texture.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Oh I wouldn't even try to bathe him at this point. He is still very wary of me though he's warmed up quite a bit. Coming to our home was extremely traumatic for him. He was with his previous owners his entire life. I would say he's more cotton like on his body and silky around his neck. He has a huge rough of fur on his neck like a lions mane that's a different texture then the rest of his fur. I would prefer not to have him groomed. I'd rather do it myself and I don't want him shaved down. I love his soft coat, I can run my fingers through it all day!
 

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I agree with the posters above who mentioned switching to a comb. Most brushes on the market are going to be too rough on a cat's sensitive skin. Combs work wonderfully to pull out dead undercoat and small mats.

A trip to the groomer is also another solution. A professional groom does not automatically mean a lion cut. I offer 3 options for clients when they come in with long-haired cats:
1) A bath and blow dry (includes nail trim, ear cleaning and sanitary shave) every 6-8 weeks. This keeps them in beautiful full coat with no matting, no excess shedding and requiring very little at-home grooming. *Some very full coats, especially if they are dilute colors may need more frequent grooms - the more cottony the hair, the more easily they mat. Persians in full show coats are usually groomed weekly.
2) A comb clip (also called a teddy clip/kitten clip) every 8-10 weeks. This takes off about half of the hair (sometimes more, sometimes less). This still leaves them fluffy but not as high maintenance as a full coat - and also with minimal work at home.
3) A lion cut every 3-4 months. Shorter coats mean less maintenance, this is a good option for busy households or those on a stricter budget.

Cat mats mainly form because of two things: shedding/dead coat and greasy skin. All cats are greasy (the only exception may be from a medical condition). When dead coat tries to shed out, it can "stick" to live coat from the grease. Most coat sheds, gets stuck, and then more coat, etc. The greasy, dead coat compact together (think of a brillo pad) and that's why most cat matting is clumpy but can sometimes come out easily with a comb. A bath and blow dry can eliminate the two causes of cat matting. A bath with degreasing shampoo removes the grease, and the blow dry and comb out remove any dead hair.

Combing at home can help remove dead hair and while it can't remove greasy, it can more evenly disperse the natural oils in the coat so it is not as clumpy. The older cats get, the more oils they produce and the more likely they are to get matted. I recommend getting younger cats used to regular grooming appointments to avoid matting issues when they are older (since starting grooming geriatric cats for the first time can be very stressful, if they are already used to the schedule then it is not). I did 2 geriatric cats today at the salon. One comes in every year and has to be sedated since he is horribly matted, has paper-thin skin which makes it much harder and riskier to shaved, and is just a general grouch to the whole process. The other geriatric cat today comes in every 8 weeks for a bath and blow dry (no sedation). She has beautiful coat and does very well with the whole groom. She usually only has minimal matting that comes out during the blow dry (so no shaving, and no yanking matts out). These cats are 17 and 18, respectively. Hope this helps!
 

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Treats work for my cat Sally. She doesn’t like getting brushed, but if I take out her favorite treats Perfect Bites by Natural Balance made with rabbit she will come to me and tolerate me brushing her – haha! Gotta give her an incentive – she’s so smart. Now I think she’s just ‘pretending’ to not like getting brushed just so she can get a snack! She only comes though when I get out the bag...
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks everyone! He came to us with some ridiculously expensive comb, a furmaniator I think. He doesn't seem to like me using that on any part of his body except his head and neck. I went to petsmart today and got a comb with wider thicker points and rounded tips. I tried it out a bit ago and he responded better then he does with the other. He let me brush his back, sides and tummy for a few moments without the usual fuss. He did hop up and move letting me know he was done but stayed close by instead of hiding. This new brush wont pull out the dead hair like the other did but it should keep him from matting up.
 

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I'll also look into a groomer. My younger cat would do fine I think, he wouldn't be happy but he'd get over it. I'm just worried Loki(the older one) would flip out and would hate me. It's taken so long to get him where he is and our bond still seems fragile enough to break if I push him. I don't think he would do well at all. He's still so wary and untrusting after being uprooted from all he knew. It took a week for me to even be able to approach him without him trying to bite me when he first came home. He got me a few times hard enough to draw blood, I'd worry he might do that to a groomer trying to handle him.
 

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Most cats never need professional grooming. It sounds like you're doing a great job. My girls don't like the furminator, either.

I never groom my cats' entire bodies at one sitting, except Charlee, who practically melts into a soft puddle when I start combing her.
 

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Most cats never need professional grooming. It sounds like you're doing a great job. My girls don't like the furminator, either.

I never groom my cats' entire bodies at one sitting, except Charlee, who practically melts into a soft puddle when I start combing her.
That's very reassuring. I was thinking maybe Loki was odd for hating the furminator so much after reading all the rave reviews on it. Honestly I don't think they need a groomer. I rather avoid the cost though paying it wouldn't be an issue if I though it was really needed. I just don't think it's necessary. I've gotten his mats out without any problems and none of these issues seem outside of my experience. Just some mild matting I've caught in time and shedding(which doesn't bother me much), the real issue for me was how he was reacting to the grooming.
 

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Another thing you can try for Loki if you think he won't tolerate a shampoo, is to get some wet wipes (those kind for degreasing hands, like Kentucky Fried Chicken hands out). First you should have him de-matted before you do this. Rub one or two wipes well all over and into his coat, then wipe immediately with a well wrung-out hot washcloth. This will remove any residue from the wipes, so he doesn't lick it. Dry off with a towel in the direction of the coat, and then comb out as it dries. He will hardly be wet, but he will be more comfortable if it's done in a warm room. This is a quick method of freshening up a greasy coat if you don't have time to shampoo or cat won't tolerate it. You will find coat is nice and fluffy afterwards.
 
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