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Hi. Welcome to Just Answer. I'm sorry to hear about this situation with Princess. Sometimes the reason they start to get knots / mats is that they are grooming themselves less. This can happen with some cats as they age. At her age though, could it be from her getting into something that initially started the knot like some bit of leaf / plant material. If she's indoor / outdoor, then that may be a very likely cause. Could she have initially put her head somewhere and got something sticky there that started all this. As far as getting these knots out, honestly the best brush I've found to get them out is one called the Furminator. It can help cut / break up the mats the best. The other way to get them removed is to have a vet or groomer shave them out. I caution owners trying to cut them out as at my ER, we probably see a cat every other month that accidentally gets cut and needs stitches as an owner tried to cut out mats.