Long-haired cats are beautiful to pet and look at, but they do require some special care in comparison to shorter-haired breeds. If you've noticed that your cat has matted fur, or what looks like a small lump of tangled fur, then they need your help. Here's why and how you can go about it.

Increases Hairball Risk

Matted fur is a pretty big deal for a cat, but your cat will try to do its best to manage it. Unfortunately, that may not be the best thing for them.

These mats of fur can't typically be detangled by a cat's tongue. Instead, they'll just keep pulling on the mat until it gets yanked out. This is obviously uncomfortable for your cat, but also opens up the possibility of them developing hairballs if they swallow the hair mat. This is highly likely to happen, as once the mat is detached from the rest of their fur and touches their tongue, the barbs on the tongue tend to make it stick there. A cat doesn't exactly have a mirror and thumbs to look in and pluck the fur off their tongue, so more likely than not, they'll end up swallowing it.

Hairballs aren't just an inconvenience, either. They can lead to a type of problem called a gastrointestinal obstruction that can keep a cat from eating or defecating. It's a very dangerous condition and one that shouldn't be ignored.

Pulls Skin

If you've ever had a bad hair tangle, chances are you know how uncomfortable they can be. The more hair that gets involved from all over, the harder it is to untangle and the more parts of your scalp feel like they're being pulled on. Now, try to imagine how that feels for a cat. Not only is the fur being pulled from all over their body instead of their head, it also pulls whenever your cat tries to walk or move.

This is not only an uncomfortable problem for a cat but if it becomes severe enough, it can actually limit movement.

What to Do

If your cat already has mats, it's best to go to a veterinarian. While a groomer can remove the mats for you, the skin can be damaged when mats develop and aren't taken care of immediately. As a result, it's best to let a vet do the removal and then examine your cat's skin to see if there are any problems like rashes or bald patches that need treatment or wound care.

To learn more about cat care, talk to a vet clinic like Clevengers Corner.