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space cadet
2005-Mar-06, 06:18 AM
My grandparents have been feeding a stray cat for close to fifteen years. Anyway, the cat has long hair and lately she has become so matted that there is no way to brush it out. The mats are so close to the skin that there's no way to cut them out either--I'd be afraid of hurting the cat. I read on the net that in cases like these the only thing you can do is take the cat to a vet and have the vet sedate and then shave the cat. I feel really sorry for the cat because I can tell she's uncomfortable, but there's no way my grandpa would pay a vet bill on a stray cat (he's not much of a cat person.) What would you do?

Messenger
2005-Mar-06, 07:01 AM
Can you contact the humane society in your area? Or an animal rescue group? It's a hard call, because if it's taken to a shelter, it might be put to sleep; but then again, it would receive better care and hopefully a home.

Chip
2005-Mar-06, 07:08 AM
If the cat is friendly to you, and you're brave, you can catch the kitty and wash her. Sounds impossible, but with preparation it can be done.

You get a small plastic tub and fill it with warm water and add animal shampoo. If the cat lets you - you pick her up and take her over to the tub and place her in the water in one "fell swoop". She'll hate it so wear garden gloves. Quickly but gently soak soapy water on the matted fur then rinse and put a towel over her and dry her. (She'll likely run.) Don't take a lot of time or expect to get her completely clean, unless she's a goofy cat and actually likes the bath - (rare.)

A Vet can do this too. It doesn't cost as much as you think. The cat will start self grooming once she gets a bath. The vet can trim her fur and wash out the dreadlocks.

You can call around first to see how much they charge. I have a cat and a history of past cats, and they keep themselves pretty clean - usually. An old cat - like an older person, sometimes "forgets to shave and walks around in the bathrobe". :wink:

Amadeus
2005-Mar-06, 11:22 AM
Being an owner of a long haired cat myself I can understand the situation.

Before taking it to the vet I would recomend washing first. This should loosen the "locks" a bit anyway. cut the locks as close to the skin as you can. You can do what hair dressers do and use the width of your fingers as a guard against the skin. Then brush with soft brush.Remember fur grows so if you do this once a week for a month you should be able to get all the matted fur out.

usefull tips on washing a cat.

1) garden gloves are a must! even the most tame cat will turn into a fur coat filled withrazor blades whilst being washed! Seeing as this is a stray cat it will not be polite. Expect scratches.

2) use a pet shampoo. dont think normal stuff will do. Cats hate the smell of stuff like citrus. Try to avoid the head unless you realy need to wash that area. Cats are very sensitive on the face. Do not rub the whiskers.

3) The cat will try to run out. Make sure it stays in untill dry. It can catch a cold and a sneezing cat whilst mildly amusing is not good for it.

4) rub down with a warm towl. The cat will like this and might decide not to get revenge by pooing in your shoes afterwards. :o

5) If you want the cat to be a bit more docile then give it a big feed before hand.

6) if all this seems like too much work then get a gold fish! :D

jt-3d
2005-Mar-06, 12:46 PM
Our long haired cat gets mats all the time. He usually rips them out eventually. You can try trimming the mats down if you can. Our's won't sit still for it so he is left on his own. I don't know about washing. It seems our's mats up after getting washed but I'm not sure. Must be a thing with older cats. Ours is 15 too.

Our other cat is a tabby so he won't have the problem, I don't think. We'll find out in 10 years or so.

Candy
2005-Mar-06, 01:26 PM
My long haired fur ball gets “dreadlocks” all the time. I cut them off. If they are to close to the skin, I only cut them down as far as I deem safe. I don’t want to cut her, which I have done before. Her hair grows, so I cut the rest of the “dreadlock” off after a few weeks. She thinks were playing when I do this, so I have to be extra careful with the scissors and her mouth. :wink:

Raptor1967
2005-Mar-06, 03:51 PM
We took in a big black stray that was in the same condition. I took my wifes hair trimmer and shaved the little bugger. He was to embarressed to go outside unitll his hair grew back but no more mats.

It was the funniest thing i ever saw but it worked .

Nowhere Man
2005-Mar-06, 04:15 PM
I've had success with "slicker" brushes in the past. It's not fast, and sometimes the brush gets caught in the mat (resulting in a few gouges in my hand), but with gentleness and persistence, you can clean them all out. My vet also sells "mat-breaker" combs which have a series of curved razors, sharpened so as to protect the skin but cut the mat up into little chunks.

I agree that a wash beforehand would probably help. If, that is, the cat lets you near it afterwards :D .

Since this cat is at least 15 years old, it's probably not limber enough to clean itself as well as it could in its youth. It may not be around much longer :( .

Fred

Grendl
2005-Mar-06, 05:28 PM
I had an indoor/outdoor long-haired cat (never again) that got mats and I'd cut through them until they got as small as possible. Sometimes they were so thick I'd have to use heavy-duty scissors. Then you just have to follow up on it until the hair grows out. Books say long-haired cats should be brushed every day. The suggestions here are good if you can actually get a cat in a bath; last night I tried wiping down my cat Grendel and she was freaking out so much that I felt I was going to crush her bones trying to hold her down, so I let her go. She wouldn't come out for some time. There's no bathing my cats--she screams if I even pick her up.

I assume this cat is outside all the time, so it might not like the bath idea. I also don't think an outdoor cat should be completely shaved and any vet who would do that leaving skin exposed to sun, parasites, cold, etc. is not a vet I'd listen to. So, if you don't want to deal with a bath, I'd take the cat to a vet and see what he/she says. If you mention that it's a stray your grandparents have fed for 15 years, the vet might cut you some slack on the bill.

I Googled "animal assistance Utah" and a whole bunch of sites come up. The first one was this site that offers some financial help for those who can't afford medical care for their pets: http://www.petsamaritan.org/

Spacewriter
2005-Mar-06, 05:40 PM
We rescued a cat with mats so bad that they were pulling his skin and he could hardly walk. The vet charged us $25.00 for a grooming fee, which is nothing compared to the relief the cat will feel and the satisfaction you will get from helping an animal out of pain.

beskeptical
2005-Mar-06, 05:56 PM
Our good friends took their fuzzy tabby in for the sedation shave. Outcome was very good. They were glad they did it.

fossilnut2
2005-Mar-06, 06:04 PM
As some posts above suggest, cut off the offending hair as much as possible. Even half way is better than not cutting.

The cat has been fed for 15 years? So he/she is an old timer. We have had very old cats and find that as they get old they tend to groom themselves less. Poor grooming can also be a sign of other health issues.

Our cats are part of our family and I don't recommend this lightly but if this kitty is not going to get proper care in its last years then taking it to a humane society is not a heartless thing to do. There's a good chance it's teeth are rotted, etc. and the cat's kidneys are only partly functioning. Maybe the cat has a another healthy couple years but a sick kitty that fades away in discomfort for the last part of its life is something to avoid. Cats are great actors when it comes to not outwardly displaying pain.

Amadeus
2005-Mar-06, 09:55 PM
Just a quick note on cats and health. I wouldnt have one put down unless a vet said there was absolutly no chance of surviving an injury. Even then I would get a second opinion.

My other cat (I have 2) got half it's cheek torn out by a rat. We live near a river and it had been trying to catch one for weeks. It just came through the flap one evening with a rat in it's mouth and blood dripping down it's face.It wasnt a pretty site you could see the muscle.

Our vet said not to worry and to wash the area with salt water daily and and keep an eye on the area to make sure its not infected.

After about a month the cheek grew back and a month after that it's fur grew back and you cannot see any marks. He's about 10 years old and still has the energy he had when he was one.

I was very impressed by his healing ability, if this had happend to a human it would leave a huge scar.

Maybe part of it is my cats diet. I do not give them "cat food" because quite frankly it stinks, plus the meat is of low grade. For the same price I can get a tin of pilchards or tuna from the super market. They live mainly on fish and dried food that has vitamin supliments.

[edit] I just remembered that as a special treat sometimes they have ham & mayonase. They go crazy for that!

Spacewriter
2005-Mar-06, 10:03 PM
Well, as a further hijack, I just found out one of our cats is really enamored of ... wait for it... dried apricots!

He loves 'em. I talked to our vet, who works out at the same gym I do, and she said, "great. just dont' let him over do it!"

fancy that...

tlbs101
2005-Mar-07, 07:24 PM
We (wife and I) have, and have had several long-hair cats.

We have done a couple of the things described, above -- namely using scissors to cut out the mats, and using a professional groomer.

When we use scissors, sometimes we can't get all the way down to the skin, but usually the mat is so detangled by then, that a good brushing gets the rest of the mess out (usually takes a few "sessions" because none of our long-haired cats ever cared much for outside help in grooming).

The professional groomer charged US$50, which I thought was a little expensive, but it did keep Larry the ragdoll cat happy for a while.




Well, as a further hijack, I just found out one of our cats is really enamored of ... wait for it... dried apricots!

We had a Siamese cat that went nuts for musk melon (canteloupe). If you left a sliced open half on the counter, he would sneak up there and hollow out quite a bit of it, in one sitting.

Trebuchet
2005-Mar-07, 07:49 PM
...The professional groomer charged US$50, which I thought was a little expensive, but it did keep Larry the ragdoll cat happy for a while....

Ragdolls are advertised as "non-matting". At least that's what my wife told me before we got ours. I misunderstood and thought she said "non-shedding" which sold me on letting her get one. (Not that I actually had a choice anyhow! :-? )

Our ragdoll does mat a bit, mostly in the ruff around her neck but is much better than the two Himalayans. Both of whom hate to be groomed. The mat breaker comb works pretty well.

Does Larry the Ragdoll go limp when you pick him up? Ours definitely does not!

Spacewriter
2005-Mar-07, 08:02 PM
We (wife and I) have, and have had several long-hair cats.

We have done a couple of the things described, above -- namely using scissors to cut out the mats, and using a professional groomer.

When we use scissors, sometimes we can't get all the way down to the skin, but usually the mat is so detangled by then, that a good brushing gets the rest of the mess out (usually takes a few "sessions" because none of our long-haired cats ever cared much for outside help in grooming).

The professional groomer charged US$50, which I thought was a little expensive, but it did keep Larry the ragdoll cat happy for a while.



You had a cat named Larry, too? So did we. In fact, we wrote a planetarium show about him!

Larry (http://www.lochness.com/shows/lcs/lcs.html)

The Real Larry (http://www.lochness.com/lnpages/katts.html)

The show is so popular that people still write and ask us about the real Larry. We always say he's a great cat, even though he died in 1999 (old age). But he's with us always.

Candy
2005-Mar-07, 08:09 PM
What's a ragdoll cat? Photos? 8-[

Nicolas
2005-Mar-07, 08:12 PM
Patches of all colours, rather long hair. At least, that's what I call a ragdoll cat.

dvb
2005-Mar-07, 08:34 PM
My mom's cat Oscar is getting pretty old (around 12-13 i think), and he's been getting mats for some time now. Problem is, he's too fat to reach his back where all the mats are, so he's unable to groom himself there anymore.

My mother did some research on the internet, and found something that no one else had mentioned here. Apparently, and this is according to her, you can carefully pull the mats out with your fingers, and it doesn't harm the cat at all. I'd have to say that I've been witness to this, and Oscar doesn't seem to mind either. He doesn't get many mats, and most of them run along his spine, so when they do get pulled out, there isn't really much hair missing. So I'm not sure if it's something you'd want to do to a cat with heavily matted fur.

Maybe someone else has a second opinion on this?

Candy
2005-Mar-07, 08:46 PM
My mom's cat Oscar is getting pretty old (around 12-13 i think), and he's been getting mats for some time now. Problem is, he's too fat to reach his back where all the mats are, so he's unable to groom himself there anymore.

My mother did some research on the internet, and found something that no one else had mentioned here. Apparently, and this is according to her, you can carefully pull the mats out with your fingers, and it doesn't harm the cat at all. I'd have to say that I've been witness to this, and Oscar doesn't seem to mind either. He doesn't get many mats, and most of them run along his spine, so when they do get pulled out, there isn't really much hair missing. So I'm not sure if it's something you'd want to do to a cat with heavily matted fur.

Maybe someone else has a second opinion on this?
Some of Fifi's clumped hairs I can pull out with my fingers, like the pre-mat ones. It's the others that I miss, under the belly, that are the culprits to a pair of scissors.

Nicolas
2005-Mar-07, 09:09 PM
Solution?

http://www.scottressler.com/ap3d08.jpg

She used to be long-haired before she got cryogenically frozen...

:lol:

tlbs101
2005-Mar-07, 09:27 PM
Larry (aka Boo-boo) was a true Ragdoll with papers and everything. He only started matting when he got old, because he just wouldn't groom himself properly (forgot? too tired?).

When he was a "young" cat is hair did not mat, as "advertised" -- or at least the few mats he did get were on the outside surface, only and very small.

He would go limp when you picked him up under his shoulders, but he would complain if you did it for too long.

Sadly, Larry broke his leg jumping from the bed to the floor when he was almost 17 years old, and we made the decision to put him down. (He was also 3/4 blind with one eye clouded over with cataracts and the other eye clouding.)

We do have another Ragdoll, though -- Tabitha (8 years old). While Larry had silver tabby markings (non-typical for a "textbook" Ragdoll breed), Tabitha is a textbook perfect blue-point longhair Ragdoll cat. The only thing wrong with Tabitha is that her skin is so thin, she hates to be touched in any way, shape, or form.

Trebuchet
2005-Mar-08, 12:19 AM
Patches of all colours, rather long hair. At least, that's what I call a ragdoll cat.

That's not the breed that's recognized (by some associations) in the USA.

Ragdolls are semi-long haired, large (our female is 14 lb) cats with typical "Siamese" markings, beige body with colored points. They do not have the Siamese body type -- for instance they have what I call a normal cat face, neither flat like a Persian nor long-nosed like a Siamese. They are noted for gentle dispositions and soft, silky fur. They come in several point colors and may or may not have additional white markings -- ours is "mitted" with white feet, belly, and chin.

I'm not board literate enough to attach a picture but if you google "ragdoll cat" I'm sure you'll find some.

space cadet
2005-Mar-08, 05:56 AM
The other day I finally tried cutting out some of the matts around her neck. I was surprised that she was so cooperative because she's usually half wild. She even seemed to enjoy it. But then I accidently nicked her with the scissors and now I feel horrible! I don't think shaving is really an option either since the cat has always been too afraid to come inside and i'ts probably not a good idea to let her run around outside naked. She'd get sunburned. :(

Nicolas
2005-Mar-08, 09:22 AM
Patches of all colours, rather long hair. At least, that's what I call a ragdoll cat.

That's not the breed that's recognized (by some associations) in the USA.

Ragdolls are semi-long haired, large (our female is 14 lb) cats with typical "Siamese" markings, beige body with colored points. They do not have the Siamese body type -- for instance they have what I call a normal cat face, neither flat like a Persian nor long-nosed like a Siamese. They are noted for gentle dispositions and soft, silky fur. They come in several point colors and may or may not have additional white markings -- ours is "mitted" with white feet, belly, and chin.

I'm not board literate enough to attach a picture but if you google "ragdoll cat" I'm sure you'll find some.

I googled it, and your description fits what I found. A completely different cat than what I had in mind. It seems like the names given to cats can't be translated, as different languages use the same descriptive words for other cats.

Candy
2005-Mar-08, 10:53 AM
The other day I finally tried cutting out some of the matts around her neck. I was surprised that she was so cooperative because she's usually half wild. She even seemed to enjoy it. But then I accidently nicked her with the scissors and now I feel horrible! I don't think shaving is really an option either since the cat has always been too afraid to come inside and i'ts probably not a good idea to let her run around outside naked. She'd get sunburned. :(
Don't worry, space cadet, she forgives you. She knows you're trying to help her. Cats are smart and lovable. "Play" with her again to get the rest of the buggers off. Just use patience. Try giving her a tiny snack each time you are successful. This will condition her to be submissive. Well, it works for my fuzzy ex-stray now-indoor baby. :D

Nicolas
2005-Mar-08, 11:15 AM
Don't worry, space cadet, she forgives you. She knows you're trying to help her. Cats are smart and lovable.

They do indeed. We've had semi-wild cats allowing us to pull chicken bones stuck between their teeth out of their mouth (which was more fear to overcome from our side than from the cat's side in fact, but anyway :)).

We once had a cat who had cleaned out a glass jam jar, and got stuck in it with her head. Normally, when cats get stuck with their head in things like cans, they panic, run around, hit something really hard, which usually sets them free.
A glass jar was way too heavy to run wild with (it extended too far, so she couldn't really lift her head a lot). Also, she still could see a bit, so after the first panic she settled down a bit and asked for help. That help came in the form of "man equiped with rather heavy hammer". We saw no other solution of freeing the cat other than smashing the jar. Working with water and soap isn't a good idea on these cats, certainly not when they are rather scared to death already... The hammer trick had some risks: obvisoulsy there was the risk of smashing her head in the process, she could be hit by glass pieces, and we had to make sure the glass bottle neck broke in enough piecces, so she wouldn't end up wearing a sharp glass necklace. And all this in one shot, as she likely wouldn't give us another chance of doing that joke. Luckily the jar broke in several nice big pieces, freeing the cat without any injuries to cat or man (or hammer). I do think the cat has a different opinion on "loudest sound ever heard by cat". :D

Candy
2005-Mar-08, 11:39 AM
I can top that story. Several years ago, living in the basement of my grandmother’s house, I was sleeping comfortably with kitty on my stomach.

SUDDENLY, there was a loud explosion that shook the foundation of the house. I had left a candle burning on the glass table, which happen to also have a potpourri can nearby. The candle burned down, heated up the glass table, and BOOM. They found the can imbedded in the brick wall across the room.

During the initial shock of the explosion and the fires everywhere, my first instinct was to get kitty out of the house safely. I left grandma sleeping upstairs. I figured she heard the explosion.

I then proceeded to put the fires out, saving the biggest for last. Well, the blanket I was using to smother the fires caught on fire. Again, my first instinct was to start stomping on the blanket to help put the fire out. I was in such shock that I forgot that I was using my bare feet.

Well, grandma called the fire department, the firemen came and ‘blew’ out the smoke. My neighbor took me to the emergency room where I had 3rd degree burns cleaned. I refused to let them tear off the melted blanket. I soaked it off over time. This was a smart move, my skin grew back without scarring. Plus, no skin graphs, which is what I was told by the doctor later during physical therapy.

After a few hours I returned home. It was just my parents and grandma sifting through the damage. I had a ringing in my ears for about a month, so I can only imagine what kitty heard. Grandma said they were yelling for kitty, but they had no idea where she was. I called for kitty, and she came running into my arms. Now, that’s powerful love between man and feline. :D

cyswxman
2005-Mar-08, 11:42 AM
Or, in this case, woman and feline. :)

Nicolas
2005-Mar-08, 11:47 AM
I do not approve of setting your cat at the door because of something she had no part in [-( You cruel woman. :D

=D> Great story. Sounds like a rather dangerous situation however. I'm glad all ended up rather well.

I guess the hair reaction of kitty to the sound of the explosion would be sufficient to remove any matting? :lol:

Candy
2005-Mar-08, 12:00 PM
I do not approve of setting your cat at the door because of something she had no part in [-( You cruel woman. :D

=D> Great story. Sounds like a rather dangerous situation however. I'm glad all ended up rather well.

I guess the hair reaction of kitty to the sound of the explosion would be sufficient to remove any matting? :lol:
I forgot to add, the potpourri can was less than two feet from my head. I had singed hair, which I didn't notice until a week later. So yes, this could've been much worse. :-?

ComptineDunAutreEte
2006-Apr-04, 11:48 PM
My aunt who's a former vet and owns a horse ranch gave me this great tip for removing difficult matts...

If you go to a horse care supply store ask them for a product called "cowboy magic" its used to detangle horse mains and tails and is safe for animals.

Its a tad on the expensive side but it comes in a 24 oz bottle and up so it will be pleanty and will last for quite some time, you dont need alot just a drop for each mat, work it in and begin combing out!

It actually works pretty well and if anything will help reduce the size and you will at least be able to comb the matt away from the skin a bit and then if you must then begin to cut the matt out.

This product is definately greasy, so I recomend a bath afterwards, I also suggest trimming your kitty's claws before beginning any of this, trust me you'll be glad you did with most cats.

I have two exceptions to this, two of my kitty's toby and percy LOVE water, they go out in the rain and if I'm not careful they hijack baths, sinks, and showers! However, my other lovely kitties hate water and put up a fight!

If you're on a budget, I hear vasaline works well too, only it doesnt smell as nice, and is a different consistency. The cowboy magic is liquid so it penetrates the matt better.

Good luck!

ComptineDunAutreEte
2006-Apr-04, 11:54 PM
The company is called cowboy magic and the specific product im talking about is the detangler, just thought I'd add that, as i was just informed of this... oh and now they carry, get this, a two ounce bottle! perfect for your kitty grooming needs! more than a sufficient amount and it doesnt hit the wallet very hard.