Olive Oil for Matted Cat Fur…Who Knew?

You may have already met Fluffernutter, our beloved feline. Well, Fluff’s fluff has been a bit of a challenge lately. So much so, in fact, that he has several yucky matts on his fur, making his normally shiny plush coat a bit, well, lumpy.

Matted fur, when ignored, can do more than just make kitty lumpy. It can irritate the cat’s skin over time and even cause skin infections.

We have friends that had a matted cat. They ended up shaving him once a year as a matter of course to help prevent further skin irritation. While the idea of having a shaved cat nicknamed Fluffy seemed delightfully ironic, I just could not bring myself to consider that option before exploring all the alternatives. So as is my custom, I began the obligatory web research. Most of what I read recommended the same four options:

  1. Shaving
    Like I said, not there yet. Moving on…
  2. Detangling by hand by pulling the matt apart in sections.
    My cat’s not putting up with that. He’s got a line, and once you cross it…look out. And besides, who has time for that?
  3. Cutting Them Out
    Obviously this does work. I had previously cut a few off of our cat. But after reading account after account of cats going to the vet with gashes in their skin because their owners got too close to the flexible stretchy skin attached to the fur, I swore off any more cutting.
  4. Baby Oil
    Apparently, all you have to do is rub a little baby oil on the top and bottom of the matt at its base (by the skin) and after just a few days…*poof*… the well-oiled matts fall off. Post after post attested to it’s effectiveness. Magical matts dropping to the ground all over the place. This caught my attention.

The idea of using baby oil freaked me out a bit, though. The crunchy granola, chemical eschewer in me did not like the idea of my cat possibly ingesting baby oil from grooming the application site. Then I saw a few other posts about:

  • Olive Oil
    Hmmm. This sounded a bit better. So the next time the cat was in the kitchen I put a little olive oil on one of his more pesky matts. Worth a try, I thought.

Two days, nothing. Three days. Still no change. Reapplied one more time. Nothing. Then one week later…



There was the matt. Sitting on the floor. Just like everyone had described. I’m a believer. The next matt is getting oiled up this evening. I will keep you posted if it works again.

Obligatory Disclaimer: I’m not a vet. Olive oil did not harm my cat, but you may want to check with your vet before you slather some on yours.

19 thoughts on “Olive Oil for Matted Cat Fur…Who Knew?

  1. Jessamine in PDX says:

    A shaved kitty named Fluffy would be so awesome! But I’m sure this was much less stressful on him. I have a fluffy kitty too — though he’s more prone to hair balls than matts. But keeping this idea in my pocket in case that changes!

    • Lyn Hillman says:

      I wish I had known this long ago. My poor cat Yukon was plagued with matt’s as he got older. This would have made his last years more comfortable. As far as hair balls, I found coconut oil works wonders. Yukon licked it right off my finger. If your cat doesn’t, smear it on her paw. Rub it in so she can’t flick it off.

  2. Theresa says:

    We have a long hair feral born cat that is somewhat domesticated now. Is only a year old and started matting up thru the winter. Mats were very bad and tight close to his back—-We had been brushing and combing him when we 1st noticed this coming on but it didn’t do any good—-he matted up anyway…….we hoped when spring came he’d drop the mats but no real sign of that happening and he was crying when we held the mat to try to detangle or cut them. We rubbed olive oil at the base and thru the mats. The biggest ones dropped off within 5 days… the smaller ones 7 and there is still another small one we are working on. It worked for us!

    • Alison says:

      I have a British Shorthair with fur as soft as a rabbit. She developed a few lumps of matted fur on her hind quarters. I was sceptical but applied olive oil. The mats had fallen off within 5 days. It works!

    • Dahlia Kamel says:

      ONE day! Saved the $190 the vet wanted for blood work, sedation and shaving the matted fur. it was only in one spot but it was pretty bad. I could not believe this treatment worked but it did. thank goodness. I felt bad for my cat.

  3. Patricia Giovannoni says:

    OK girls did that on Mr 24yo who cant keep still, now i have one very greasy cat !!! not to worry he does not wash himself anyway at his age who cares .

      • teresa jones says:

        you applied to much only drops. i tried it on one of my long hair cats, and it worked like they said, so i tried it on my shy little girl. she had a good size matt on her hip, and she didn’t want it brushed, washed, trimed so this was the next step. two days later it came off but she is bare to he skin, like she was shaved. i don’t no if i’ll try that again.

  4. Laur&Matt says:

    Just tried this on my cat that has many mats on her middle back where she cannot reach. I will try to update later in the week with results. Wish us luck!

    • Loretta says:

      Did it work? This is our issue also, one of our cats can’t reach the back of her tail to clean because she’s overweight and the fur has become Matted.

  5. Carol Davis says:

    I put some drops at the base of mat and rub it in. My cat doesn’t mind this. It seems to relieve some of the discomfort. Then I brush him every day working on the mat. It gets smaller and breaks up. Today is the 4th day after applying it. Most of it came out with brushing today. I have no idea why or how it works, but it is very helpful.

  6. Becky says:

    I owe you and Lucy thanks you! It really works!
    I’m finding detached clumps all over the place. Poor thing was covered in them.

  7. Steevi says:

    My kitty, appropriately named ” Olive” , is paralyzed in her hind legs and wears a diaper daily. Needless to say, she has terrible matts by her rear . I have literally tried everything . She hates being shaved and hates having them cut. I gave this a try and they fell off in 5 mins ! I poured about a cup on her and gently brushed them off. I gave her a bath immediately to rinse off the olive oil. She really enjoyed the scent of the olive oil as well!

    • Donna Marie Smith in Texas says:

      I tried the olive oil on my medium hair length cat. He had tough mats under his front legs where he couldn’t reach. Than a groomer suggested coconut oil. It worked better. Just rub it into the mat gently with your fingers from the skin outward. See that the ENTIRE mat is SATURATED.
      . My cat just thought he was getting some extra petting, as I worked slowly and “sweet talked” him the entire time. It didn’t take a day or two to work..but less than an hour. When I returned to him, prepared to comb or brush them out, they simply came off in my hand.
      My cat is aging,( 12 yrs) and can’t reach the spots he used to for his own grooming.
      I was delighted to discover of this solution.

  8. Maybele Darling says:

    Maybele Darling in Canada
    I have a part Persian and part Domestic cat name Baby, he is only 1yr 4m old, He has 5 mats on his back (hind quarter) been fighting them since he was 6 months old.
    So today we have saturated one of the mats with olive oil and see what happens over the next few days. I will respond with results as they happen.

  9. Sandy says:

    Best way to apply??? Go to your vet (feed store, Tractor Supply Company, etc.) and buy a 3 cc syringe withOUT a needle. Draw up a little water to practice first. Then empty the syringe and draw up your oil and strategically apply it ONLY to the parts of your cat you want oil on!

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