Contrary to popular belief, cats don't actually groom themselves. Cats lick themselves, which really only covers them in slobber and can be a health risk for your cat. The best way to prevent cat hair balls is to have your cat professionally groomed.
A full groom consists of a bath, blow-dry, and comb-out, plus claw clipping and ear cleaning. Regular grooming will help to prevent fur-balls and will completely prevent matting if done on a regular schedule.
One of the many misconceptions about cat grooming is that cats hate water. Just like dogs and people, some love baths and some don't. I often find that a cranky cat settles down in the bath tub!
If you think about it, it's really the healthy thing to do for your cat. They walk in their litter boxes and spread saliva all over their fur. Wouldn't you prefer a clean cat?
A clean cat is a healthy cat and a healthy cat is a happy cat!