My wife and I’ve bought numerous pet shedding combs over the years, grooming our cats without the thought of a ripoff ever crossing our minds. For that matter, I doubt the manufacturers of shedding combs consider them a ripoff in any way, shape, or form; most likely, they believe they’re producing the best possible products for the job at hand.
Let’s back up a few years. When Pam and I began homesteading on our off grid southern Cochise County, Arizona, acreage in April of 2009, we had one leopard gecko and three cats. Having no fur, the gecko required no grooming; Missy simply molted every now and then, shedding her skin rather than giving it any fancy treatment. At the time, neither Kitten Precious nor Moe Key Man presented much in the way of fur matting problems, either.
But the elderly Green Eyes, the black female who slept with me and away from the other cats for health reasons–Kitten Precious not being inclined to share Moe Key with any long haired Jezebel regardless of age–yeah, Green Eyes had fur problems. Matting to the max. By late summer, a good half of her body was so matted up that combing it out became a literal impossibility. Fortunately, she stayed calm and didn’t even twitch when I got out the Wahl clippers and shaved her down almost to the skin.
Fast forward to 2015. Green Eyes passed on in June of 2010, Moe Key Man following that October. Gato, the kitten who replaced Moe Key, is now five years old. Kitten Precious is nine. Both of them have developed “summer matting” in recent years.
Until recently, we used a “curry comb type” of metal shedding comb to work out the mats. It does the job…but slowly, ever so slowly. Great loads of downy fur come out, as fluffy as can be. There seems to be no end to it, though when there is an end, our babies got brushed with a hair brush that used to belong to Pam’s mother. The de-matting process could at times require hours of effort per week–which the cats thoroughly enjoyed but which I can do without. (Pam likes grooming them, but she’s allergic to cat hair when it gets up close and personal like that, so there’s a limit. Most of the grooming is mine to do.)
This summer, the issue finally came to a head one day when I couldn’t locate the shedding comb shown above. Pam had used it and returned it to a different nail on the wall than I used–and being a guy, I was blind to its existence from that moment forth. So…what to do? Pam’s ailing body has her sleeping much of the time; I certainly wasn’t about to wake her up…and then it hit me.
I grabbed the five inch pocket comb out of my Dopp kit–an old hard rubber Ace product I’ve carried for twenty years or more–and went to work on Kitten Precious’s most horribly matted fur. The coarse toothed side of the comb worked beautifully. K.P. didn’t complain even when I pulled fairly hard, though of course I “rolled it over” as needed to work out the tangles with minimum struggle.
The results blew my mind. Ten minutes of coarse toothed comb work, followed by maybe two minutes of fine toothed follow up, and Kitten’s fur mats were completely outa there!
Gato’s fur cleaned up the same way, and he seemed to appreciate the “sticky fur” removal as much as Kitten did.
The pocket comb brings out the fur in a much different format than the “official” pet shedding comb. Where the curry comb style eases out veritable clouds of downy fur, the comb brings it up in concentrated, tight, compacted style. I didn’t think about writing this post until after “scooping” our the first comb full of fur from Gato’s back this morning, but here’s a photo showing the second (less concentrated) scoop, gathered with the fine toothed side of the comb.
Note: Kitten Precious’s under-fur is as downy as that of any rabbit, but Gato’s is a bit coarser, though his total fur coat is silky smooth to the touch.
The discovery is one of those that leaves a guy wondering whether to pat himself on the back for figuring out a better way…or smack himself on the forehead for taking so long to see it. Either way, however, the facts are simple. Buying a commercial shedding comb is a ripoff in the sense that (a) it costs more than a cheap pocket comb, mine having cost something less than one dollar all those years ago, (b) it takes an hour of grooming with a shedding comb to accomplish less than the pocket comb can manage in ten minutes, and (c) there is no need to buy a separate comb for the cats; the one you already carry in your Dopp kit will do just fine.