my kitty is difficult to handle. will you still groom them? how do you handle them?
Yes, I'm always happy to try to groom your kitty, even the ones who are not so thrilled about my visit.
Each cat is different. As a general rule, cats do not want to do what they do not want to do. Most squirm a bit during grooming – this is normal. A lot of cats have a window of time that they can be handled and past that, grooming becomes a challenge. Others are upset right from the start and can react with aggression or fear.
The approach to your cat is going to depend on how they're reacting. I always try to start with minimal restraint and let the cat do what they'd like for as long as it's possible to groom them that way as I find that most cats hate the restraint more than the actual shaving. So, some cats will lay on the ground and let me do their backs without much fuss. Others won't and the owner has the hold them for most of the groom. I find that short breaks of every so often helps as well. If the kitty really won't cooperate in a way that makes things dangerous for either you or me (ie. Biting, scratching etc.), other methods come into play. I find that a “kitty burrito” can be effective – you take a towel and wrap up part of the kitty where I'm not working (we always make sure not to cover the head fully so that the kitty can breathe). There are other options as well – cones (like you get from the vet post surgery) can help with biters.
If you're wondering about sedation, please see below.
Finally, I always tell people that if your kitty is either very stressed out or very aggressive, the cut itself is not going to be perfect. I feel that the kitty's well being is more important than aesthetics, especially in the case of a kitty who is very stressed out.
Do you use sedation when grooming?
No. I'm not legally allowed to use full sedation (ie a general anesthetic) or injected partial sedation – that has to be done with a veterinarian's supervision.
Options you can use for home grooms are:
Calming sprays/diffusers: These are available from veterinary clinics and pet stores. The brand I know is Feliway, but there are others – ask for a pheromone spray or diffuser.
Herbal/Non-Medicinal Options: Health stores sell a product called Rescue Remedy. It's put into water and may help calm your kitty. There are also products – such as BioCalm – available at clinics.
Medicinal Options: there are pill sedatives that are used for travel. They are prescription and must be bought at a veterinary clinic.
The efficacy of all these options will vary with each cat. It's a good idea to use any of them about half an hour before your appointment and while your kitty is still calm. It's also a good idea to do a trial run on a day when nothing is happening so you can get an idea of how the product affects your kitty. Again, I cannot administer any medications to your cat and please consult with your vet prior to giving anything to your cat to make sure it will be ok for you to use.
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