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Pets

Feisty fur and fangs

Everyone who owns a longhaired cat knows the challenge of keeping that fur clean and unclumped, especially as the cat ages. Just count your blessings you don’t have to battle your feline friend in the process. Regular readers might remember my July 2012 article about my medium-longhaired Maine Coon cat, Charlie, a spirited but sweet feline whose only real drawback is his propensity for getting overstimulated and responding with bites or scratches.

Normally, he’s a great cat pal, but for the past few months, we have had to deal with the challenge of clumps of matted fur on both of his hind legs. This 15-year-old cat is mostly in great health, but his hind legs have grown weaker over the past couple years, and he has become protective of them. Unfortunately, that is where the fur has matted up, probably because it is hard for him to do the full grooming necessary to keep his otherwise gorgeous coat in top condition.

Therefore, our daily routine consists of one of us distracting Charlie long enough to comb out a snarl or clip off a clump, and then leaping back from Charlie to avoid his retaliation. He calms down quickly; he’s nothing if not forgiving. But we’re still left feeling guilty; guilty because we let one of the most gorgeous cats around get matted enough to be a problem, and guilty for getting him hissing mad when we’re trying to remedy the problem.

It is important to deal with matted fur, because health problems can result from it, including insect parasites or sores under the mats. A good, thin comb or brush can take care of simple clumps, but once they’ve set and become thicker, the only solution I’ve found is to clip them off.

So every day I check to make sure my death-and-dismemberment insurance is paid up, grab a comb, and approach Charlie.

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