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Marilee J. Layman

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06:22 pm: De-matting
I've learned a lot about de-matting while working on Loki, so I thought I'd share.

1. Fiskar kids scissors (blunt tips, sharp blades) and a thread nipper are all you really need and you have to be careful with both.

2. On smaller mats, use the scissors to cut the top off horizontally and you'll see two to five "columns" of mats. You can carefully cut down the very light mats between them, and then it's easy to cut the columns fairly close to the skin. A week or so later, they will have grown out enough to cut and have only fur left.

3. On the bigger mats, where they're attached to fur all the way around, carefully use the nippers on the edge, keeping them horizontal to the skin, and you'll see the mat is open under that part. Keep carefully going around cutting the parts that connect the mat to the fur, and then work like #4.

4. The best way to deal with the bigger mats once you have some open edges is to make them smaller. Use the nippers carefully to work through a part of the mat (I have a quarter of that giant mat on Loki off now) and once it's separate, you can use the scissors to gradually cut it down. Eventually you'll have fur at the bottom and you can cut there and get the entire mat part off. Continue for the rest of the big mat.

For some reason, when you make the extension of the mat smaller, the bottom of the mat doesn't mat right away. The fur grows out a bit and that lets you cut the mat clear.



[User Picture]
Date:November 4th, 2009 11:55 pm (UTC)
This is extremely interesting to me; thank you.

I have been using a pair of bandage scissors (also blunt-tipped but with a blunt triangle to sort of work into the bandage) that Lydy was given when she worked for a surgical unit. They are a little large for some mats, so I am thinking about the kids' scissors.

[User Picture]
Date:November 5th, 2009 12:40 am (UTC)
I have bandage scissors, too, but I found I felt more confident working closer to the skin and mat with the Fiskars kids scissors. I don't know of any other brand of kids scissors that has sharp blades, which is why I specified them. A lot of beaders use them to cut fishing line.
[User Picture]
Date:November 5th, 2009 07:40 am (UTC)
One of the cats here, Domino, has a matting problem that seems to be partly seasonal and partly due to diet. Periods of bad matting are accompanied by a lot of skin flakes and skin sensitivity.

So first, thanks for the good information on dematting. I have frequently been able to get Domino's mats off with my fingers, tearing pieces out from one side. Her mats don't usually join up into big mats, at least not quickly.

Science Diet "Sensitive Skin" seems to control Domino's matting, by the way, and now that I've been unemployed for a year I've found that less expensive cat food and supplements of fish oil emulsion, cream, or both will also help.

I think that part of the matting process in general is the fur cuticle splitting lengthwise, like split ends in human hair. The filaments of split-off cat fur seem to entwine with filaments from other primary fur cuticle shafts and lock together in mats.

This is I think consistent with the way mats tend to form some distance away from the skin: freshly grown fur is not yet split into filaments, so doesn't entwine and interlock between primary shafts of fur.
[User Picture]
Date:November 5th, 2009 08:41 pm (UTC)
I didn't know you'd been out of work so long. I hope you find a job soon!

Loki came to me massively matted and the parts where I've been able to clear the mats (the entire front, plus parts of the back) just need to be brushed regularly to stay free. Apparently the kids who owned him before thought matting was "normal" and didn't do anything about it for years. The mats are way too dense for me to do anything with just my fingers or hands.

The idea about the cuticle splitting is very interesting! I'll have to watch out for that.
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