Around the House, Featured, That Cat of Ours

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.

Attention! 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 apply oil on yours.

Ready to try this? Purchase some olive oil now!

The image link above is an affiliate link. When you purchase through this link, I earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. Thanks for your support!

Edited, July 5, 2017:
A visitor commented below: “For a mild bout of constipation, a quarter teaspoonful of olive oil can be given for acute treatment but cats require animal fat sources, not plant oils, so olive oil is not suitable for ongoing care. Olive oil contains terpenic acids and phenolic compounds which a cat’s liver is not able to properly detoxify.”

Please consider this as well when treating your kitty. Thanks!


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

  1. 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!

    1. 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. We have a stray/adopted us Maine Coon KeKe, who is not up for much touching.
      Every winter she gets matts on the high and center part of her back and tail, mostly where she can’t get to when grooming.
      I know they bother her. Tried to take her to vet for grooming and it turned disastrous.
      Found this website hoping to find a way to help her.
      I tried the olive oil and it has been nearly two weeks and the matts are nearly gone.
      They were very tight and looked painful.
      Unbelievably this works.
      I use a cotton ball to apply when she eats, and she seems to know its helping or it soothes the area or she is just into her food. Anyways so thankful!

  2. 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!

    1. 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!

    2. 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. 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 .

      1. 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. 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!

    1. 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. 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. 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. 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!

    1. 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 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. 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!

  10. Worked PERFECTLY!! I just rubbed olive oil over her matted spots and brushed!! Worked great!

  11. For a mild bout of constipation, a quarter teaspoonful of olive oil can be given for acute treatment but cats require animal fat sources, not plant oils, so olive oil is not suitable for ongoing care. Olive oil contains terpenic acids and phenolic compounds which a cat’s liver is not able to properly detoxify.

  12. Thanks for the advice my persian ragdoll gets them every winter!I am going to try this great tip 🙂

  13. what about coconut oil? my 2 cats love the stuff and i’m wondering if it will work for my lil princess. She grooms 24/7 but still gets mats.

  14. I am going to try this…..i was going to get the gizmo from tv that cuts out mats but the reviews were really bad. I hope the oil works…… i will let y’all know…

    Dawn from Saranac NY

  15. We have a feral cat living in our garden, she has been in residence for 7 years now and is fed every day. A large matted area developed on her back, at about the same time she decided to allow us to approach her! Soon I was able to touch, then stroke her. The matt was so bad I decided to cut it out but waited until the weather was warm enough, then whilst she was distracted with food snipped it out. Hoped that would do the trick but just noticed it is returning. Will try the olive oil trick next time I feed her and let you know how it goes.

  16. If olive oil could be bad for them in the long run, and they need animal fat, perhaps lard would be better?

  17. Carl, …Nice to know this little bit of info.

    What about coconut oils, though?

    Donna Marie seems to have had better results with coconut oil vs olive.

    Are there any adverse affects of coconut oil on cats?


  18. I have a year and a half male long haired cat , i tried brushing him but he ran away or hissed , then i thought he would have to go to the vet as he wont let me touch him at all !!
    Reading about olive oil , i was surprised as i would never have thought about that .
    I am going to try the oil as his matts are soo bad and all over i have to do something .
    I will keep you posted .

  19. Yes it works! I am using coconut oil. The big matt’s are beginning to drop off. My husband couldn’t believe a huge one just came off as he was stroking him. We weren’t grooming him after my husbands stage 4 cancer . so happy this is painless for him and he loves the coconut oil too.

  20. Becky/anyone,
    Given the success folks have had with matted feline hair and olive oil, any thoughts as to how one keeps the olive oil placed on one’s cat from staining carpet/fabric ? When cats rub on upholstery, rugs the resultant olive oil stains could be problematical. Any thoughts appreciated.
    Thanks, Ken

  21. So relieved to hear of this olive oil method for matting being so successful for so many. Curious if just applied once and mats dropped off based on various times mentioned- like 3, 5 or 7 days or Once a day? a few times a day?

  22. I tried olive oil yesterday on my cat,he had a matted bit of fur on his back.I just put a small drop of oil on,gave it a slight rub in and today I used an ordinary hair comb on him and was absolutely amazed!The matted bit of fur just combed right out.My cat isn’t the best tempered cat either,but he let me do this to him as if he knew I was helping him.
    Thank you so much for this tip.

    1. You’re welcome! I’m glad it helped! Cats do seem to be a little more patient when they know we are just trying to help, don’t they? 🙂

  23. Used a syringe to squirt an half teaspoon olive oil on the mat….next morning it was coming out with no effort….

  24. Becky this is absolutely so wonderful and of course the vets dont tell you about this method of relieving your beloved pet of these awful matts etc. In actual fact I have a book about the different stages of a cats life and in the elderly section it doesn’t mention this issue that will inevitably crop up during this phase of their lives when they are no longer able to groom themselves. I have managed to put a little oil on my little “Finny” and will administer some using a syringe as well before going off to bed. I am feeling so much more optimistic now about the whole thing. I hated cutting them out with a scissors and leaving a hole in his coat never mind worrying about hurting him with the scissors. I will report back on how this situation develops.

  25. OMG thank you so, so, so much!!! i have a very skittish rescue cat with very sharp claws. she had developed a small mat on a sensitive area on her back. i was trying everything for a week before i found your post. applied the oil friday night and more sunday. today (monday) i decided to brush the oil spot lightly as i brushed the rest of her, and the clump just came out! saved a trip to the vet and a lot of discomfort. thank you!!!

  26. I also have a long-haired, rescued stray who doesn’t really like to be touched so I decided to try oil. HOWEVER, after reading about the reaction of cats to olive oil I was desperate and almost took him to the vet for removal of all those nasty matted areas on his hind quarters. Know how they say to “sleep on it”? I woke the next morning thinking … Omega 3 Fish Oils! Those would be good for him and I already had some available in capsules. I just punctured a capsule, oiled my fingers and — very carefully — just happened to stroke his fur in the matted areas. The knots started coming off (with his licking help) a couple of days later and I continue to find them daily. Problem solved!

  27. Wow, will try a little olive oil on one matted parea and coconut oil on another and report on the results! My vet shaved my grey long haired domestic last year and he had minor cuts and scrapes everywhere and didn’t seem any happier. I’ve tried manually detangling, but he is really sensitive and won’t have it. The oils sound so much gentler. Just hope he has no bad GI side effects.

Comments are closed.