What is the best way to remove burrs from a cat?

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Burrs represent annoying grooming issues both for you and the cat. Be prepared to use your fingers rather than a brush or comb, since pulling at the lodged debris will be painful for the cat, increase his anxiety, and make him more likely to resist the whole grooming process.

Burrs have a rough, prickly texture, which easily becomes tangled in the fur and progresses rapidly to heavy mats. If the material hasn’t been in the fur for too long, use your fingers to patiently separate the hairs until the burrs can be disentangled.

If the burrs are in the outer coat, they can be cut out, but always place the fingers of your free hand between the animal’s skin and the hair to be cut. A cat’s skin is very fragile and should be protected from injury at all costs, even if the services of a professional groomer are required. Never attempt to cut close to the animal’s skin.

If you are prepared to bathe the cat, you can use a little vegetable oil to help disentangle the burr, but the residue will need to be removed from the animal’s fur. If actual mats are present, do not try to cut them out. If they cannot be gradually dislodged, you will need to take the cat to a groomer.

With long-haired cats that are allowed to go outside in the summer months, having the cat’s coat trimmed – not completely shaved –on a seasonal basis to prevent these kinds of entanglements is a good idea. Only agree to have this done at the veterinary clinic, however, as the cat will need to be anesthetized. Never agree to the use of anesthesia unless the cat can be safely monitored.

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