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.htaccess rewrite rule not working

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Hi Guys, I have a URL that looks like this:


this shows up everything works fine... I have a htaccess file that is this:

RewriteRule ^([0-9a-z-/-A-Z_-]+)?$ category.php?cat_slug=$1 [NC,L]

This doesn't work but yet the product does... 

RewriteRule ^([0-9a-z-/-A-Z_-]+)/([0-9a-zA-Z_-]+)?$ product.php?cat_slug=$1&prod_slug=$2 [NC,L]

Which looks like this www.example.com/whiskey/single-malt/haig-club-clubman-70cl once rewritten. 


The top example doesn't work though which should rewrite to 



Why would the second one work but not the first one?


Please don't get too technical here, I found the code online 2 years ago and have used it ever since. I don't actually understand what it does or why it does what it does, it just works... I know if I put it into a folder like shop/ so RewriteRule ^shop/([0-9a-z-/-A-Z_-]+)?$ category.php?cat_slug=$1 [NC,L] it will work, but for this website I don't want that... 


Please help me :( 

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Do you have both of those RewriteRules running at the same time? Which one is listed first?


And "doesn't work" is meaningless. Means nothing. Unhelpful. How does it not work?

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