Why do cats get matted fur on their back

Do you know cats have approximately 65 times as many hairs as humans do? It’s like they have 4.2 million hairs (on average) all over their body. We, as humans, get tired when we try to comb our tangled hair, and imagine how cats keep all that fur under control with just their paws and mouth!! That’s why cats are called excellent self-groomers. 

But sometimes these exquisite self-groomers struggle to control their millions of hair, and end up with messy and tangled fur on their back. You may be wondering, “Why does my cat get matted fur? What causes this matting???. If you’re seeking an answer for this, then you’re in the right place. Well, we’ll not only give you the answer, but also give you some guidance and gimmicks so that you can remove this matted fur very easily, and prevent it from happening in the future. 

So, what are you waiting for? Grab your wooden comb and let’s get started on the journey to untangle your cat’s matted fur…     

What causes matting in cats’ fur on their back

Have you ever tried to comb your cat’s hair and felt like you were getting stuck after a while? “Hey kitty, is this your hair or am I trying to untangle maggi noodles? There are a few cat owners who haven’t experienced this hair knotting situation. 

Mats can occur when your cat’s hair gets clumped or tangled. It usually happens in those body parts that move or rub a lot. For example, on a cat’s back, under the chest and tail, around the collar, and between legs. This matted fur occurs for various causes. Here are some- 

  1. Excessive fur or hair: Fur can be matted on those cats who have thicker undercoat, particularly long-haired breeds. Such as Ragdolls, Persian, Siberians, Maine coon and others. It happens when undercoats develop extra hair, which doesn’t shed quickly, and cause matted fur on their back.

On the other hand, short-haired cats are not far behind. Even some breeds have thicker undercoats than long -haired breed cats. It means they can also get tangled hair too.  

  1. Skin infection: If your cat has a sore or infection in their skin, it can cause tangled hair. Because when your cat tries to groom those body parts, it causes them pain, and they start to avoid grooming those sore areas. As a result, it gradually leads to the cat’s hair matting and falling out. 
  1. Excessive hair oil and dust: Just like humans, cats also produce body or hair oil. If your feline’s body is oily and dirty, it will cause their back side fur to become twisted and matted. 

Apart from that, some kitties love to play with water. You know “Wetness makes dirt stick more easily”, so if your cat doesn’t dry properly, dust will easily turn their soft fur into twirling wool.

[also read this article, why do cats wet their paws]  

  1. Less grooming: Another reason for cats getting matted fur on their back is less grooming. It can happen due to their aging, and frequent shedding. Older cats are not that flexible to groom their back.

Then, shedding can also cause matted fur easily, especially when it’s peak season. So, when your feline starts to shed hair frequently, the loose fur becomes entwined in their coat and causes knots. 

  1. Dental problem: The main weapon of these self-groomers to groom themselves is their teeth and tongue; but if your cat has an oral problem or disease, they won’t be able to groom themselves, and eventually it will cause matted fur on their back.

Sometimes, it will be better if we learn something from professionals. So, keeping that in mind, let’s see what a vet said about a cat’s matted hair: Why Does Cat Hair Mat?  

How can you prevent matting in cats’ fur on their back

So, you have the idea why cats have tangled fur on their back, right!! Well, now it’s time to prevent matting in their furry coats. As there’s a saying goes, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Here we have mentioned some tips to prevent clumped hair on a cat’s back. 

  • Observe cat’s coat condition: First of all, keep hawk eyes on your cat’s coat. As we said, long-haired cats are prone to matting. So observe their coat’s condition, and make sure they are grooming themselves effectively.
  • Regular grooming: It’s true that cats spend most of their time on self-grooming. But it becomes difficult for older cats or overweight cats. That’s when your feline needs your help. Try to comb their hair on a regular basis to prevent matting. Remember to use the right tools for grooming their soft fur.
  • Avoid cutting matted fur: Sometimes we try easy ways to avoid problems. Just like cutting a cat’s tangled hair on their back. But it creates more problems than solutions. Because when you trim or cut their matted hair, it grows back in an uneven way and becomes easier to tangle again.
  • Address health issues: It’s crucial to identify and address your feline’s health problem. Because it affects their self-grooming. If your cat has any infection or sore on their back, you should treat the wound as soon as possible. Otherwise, it may not only cause matted fur, but also other serious health issues.
  • Keep cat’s coat dry and dirt-free: Keeping cat’s coat clean and dry not only prevents tangling in their hair, but also prevents fleas or other parasites. Do you know that parasites can cause bald spots on cat’s?? If not then read this article Why do cats have bald spots above their eyes and learn what’s the reason behind it and how to prevent it.    

What are the best grooming tools for preventing matting in cat

As we’ve mentioned using the right tools to groom your cat’s fur in the previous section, let’s have a look at what are the best grooming tools available for preventing matting in cat’s fur on their back.

  1. Use your finger: This is the best tool for your cat’s entwined or matted fur. Whenever you cuddle your cat, or give them a gentle scratch, use your finger to comb their fur. 
  1. Slicker brush or comb: It’s a sturdy metal comb that is effective for all types of cat’s hair, especially with matted fur on their back.
  1. Electric trimmer: Professional vets usually use this tool. Because, sometimes it’s impossible to untangle the knotted fur from the cat’s coat. However, you should avoid using this electric clipper unless necessary.
  1. Long-toothed and wide-toothed comb: Long-toothed comb is an ideal tool for long-haired cats to prevent matted hair on their back. In contrast, wide-toothed comb, aid to separate matted cat hair clumps rather than tugging.     
  1. Dematting comb: If your cat has thin or shorter hair, dematting comb can be the best tool for them. It has thick metal teeth, high-quality and most vets suggest using them for matted fur on the cat’s back. Moreover, it’s also suitable for all types of cats.
  1. Matt splitters: It has a curved edge to slit the tangle or matted hair, and some small sharp blade to cut off the knotted fur from the cat’s coat. 

How can you safely remove mats from cats

Before you grab your tools, and start to get rid of all matted hair from your cat’s back like Edward scissorhands, it is important to know how to remove them without causing pain to your fireball. That’s why we’ve provided you with some effective steps to remove those clumped hair in a safe and proper way.

Tips to safely remove mats from cats’ fur on their back: 

If the matts aren’t big or tight enough, you can easily remove them without cutting them. Here’s how-  

  • Use your finger to gently comb through their matted fur on their back.
  • If there are any loose or shed hair, try to brush them off. 
  • You can apply some oil-based detangling spray, powder or cream, it will make it easier to remove mats. 
  • Use mat breakers (smaller than usual grooming brush) to brush their coat if mats are not too tight to detangle.

[watch this video and see how a vet removes matted fur from a cat: How To Remove Cat Mats!

If the matts are difficult to remove using your finger or brush, then you can use some removing mats to cut or trim them. Here’s how-    

  • First and foremost, you need to be very very very careful when you decide to cut them off. 
  • Use small scissors, slide the comb between tangled fur and the skin, then gently cut above the comb.
  • If you decide to use electric clippers, take extra precautions before starting trimming. (it’ll be better to let the vet to do that job)
  • You can also use dematting tools like Matt splitters and it will be better than using electric clippers.  

Sometimes, there are knots that look like hard stuff stuck in the cat’s hair. Watch this video and see how the owner removes a lumpy mat from her cat’s back using scissors, How To Remove Sturdy Mats From Cat Fur.     

When should you seek veterinary care for matting in cat

There are times when we cannot handle some problem alone, we need professional help. Just like when you’re trying to untangle a ball of furry yarn that has claws and whiskers. “Removing mats” may sound simple, but trust me, it can make you sweat like a pig, especially if your kitty has other problems. 

If your cat has skin disease, infection, wound, inflammation, or other serious health issues, then you should seek veterinary care for matted hair on their back.   

There’s another reason you should seek vet’s help. For example, when it’s difficult to trim off their tangled fur on your own. An expert vet can remove those matting from the cat’s back, keeping them under anesthesia. Moreover, they will advise you on some medication for their health issues. 

Common health issues that can cause matting in cats’ fur

Talking about cat’s health issues, there are some that can cause matted fur on their back. So, what are they? Let’s have a look-

  1. Obesity: if your cat weighs 10-15%, more than its ideal body weight, it can be considered as overweight or obesity. As a result, it can limit your felines’ flexibility to groom their coat. Moreover, being overweight is equal to excessive fat and oil, which causes sticky or matted fur on their lower back.
  1. Allergies: Skin allergies or parasites(e.fleas, ticks) can cause irritation, infection which not only make cats discomfort, but also make them to lick excessively their body, resulting in entwined or knotted hair. Besides, fleas can cause other skin or coat issues (e.g., open sores, scabs, and bacterial infection).     
  1. Arthritis: It especially happens in older cats. They may suffer from joint pain or stiffness, which can limit their movement as well as grooming. You know what can result from that. Yes, tangled fur!! 
  1. Oral sore or tumors: One of the reasons for cat’s less grooming can be oral issues. For example, soreness or tumors in the mouth. It causes them pain and makes your furball less interested in grooming, resulting in a dirty and messy coat.    

How can you maintain your cat’s coat to prevent matting in the future

Cat’s one of the best features is their coat, their soft, fluffy fur, which makes an urge in us to squeeze them.  You know how cats spend 50-60% of their time licking and combing their fur with their tongue and teeth. Managing those millions of hairs every day is a lengthy work, and if your kitty has some twisted and clumped hair on their body, then it becomes more difficult. That’s why you need to maintain your cat’s coat to prevent them from maturing in the future. Here how-

  • Keep your feline coat healthy: First of all, you have to keep your feline coat healthy. Diet and nutrition is one of the factors that affects their coat’s condition. Try to enrich their diet with high protein, vitamin E and fatty acid. 
  • Give professional grooming: Make sure to give your cat professional grooming at least once in a week or two, especially if your pet is a long-haired breed.  
  • Use correct tools and product during grooming: Using correct tools and products (like oil, brush, shampoo) during or after bathing can help you to prevent matting further. And avoid olive oil as it can cause more knotting.
  • Maintain routine veterinary care: As it’s the matter of your kitty’s health, it’s crucial to visit your veterinarian on a routine basis. Try to give your cat a monthly check-up, it’ll help you to detect and treat any health problems that may arise. 


 Just because cats are exquisite self-groomers, that doesn’t mean they need extra care for maintaining their coat fine and healthy. As a cat owner, it’s your duty to take good care of your pet. So, if you feel any matting or knotting while petting them, then make sure to try our guidance and gimmicks to get rid of this.  

Now it’s your turn. What do you think about matting fur on a cat’s back? Let us know in the comments below, and don’t forget to share this article with your fellow cat lover. Ciao!! 

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