There was nary a cloud in the blue skies, nor a worry in your cat’s mind till he saw you try to catch him with a brush or a nail clipper. Are all cats this scaredy or mean you wonder as your kitty runs away or attacks you every time you try to groom him. But great blessings can come from difficulty. And you can pass this test of patience with a few simple tricks.
There’s always a reason
Your cat might be dogged with anxiety and fear about the prospect of having his hair brushed and paws cleaned. He could have had a rough experience with a bath in the past. His hair might be so matted that it could be painful for him to get it combed. He could also just dislike being cat-handled. Maybe he has a phobia of the vet’s table and by association, the groomer’s table. In such cases, muzzling and holding him down could only cement his anxiety and hate for the process. Instead you must try to give him some good memories and build a positive attitude.
Play before work
Praise the groomer that starts slow. You must leave your cat to interact with the brush. Try to rub your cat’s scent into the brush. Then every time he rubs up against its bristles on his own, give him a little treat. Build towards holding the brush. When he’s ready and this might only be for a minute, use the soft brush. If he starts to indicate any stress, remove the brush from his surrounding immediately. Break off before he emits signs of freaking out. Eventually he will accept the comb, which is necessary for long-haired breeds.
Never pull the matted hair before cutting it off cause this will cause the cat a world of pain. Nor do you cut across because cats’ skin is soft and cuts easily. Instead, keep petting him frequently to feel for knots before it becomes an unmanageable pelt. Slide a comb between the knot and the skin before cutting. And the only way to deal with a tight pelt is to shave it off. Try to use the right tools, if your cat is wincing or hissing too much not from anticipation but actual contact with the tool, consider changing them.
Furry says relax
By the grace and might of your cat you have somehow managed to brush his hair. This is good! Make it better by talking to him in a soothing manner and offer her her favourite treats. Sit your cat on your lap instead of a cold, impersonal table. Kindness, patience and understanding are the sharpest arrows in your quiver.
End of the rope
Some cats just aren’t cool with grooming. They turn impossibly feral and wild at every attempt. But ignoring the problem or giving up is just going to make it worse – like tighter pelts and bigger hairballs. In these situations try alternative tools like grooming mitts and shed control cloths. You might need professional help with clipping nails and in the worst case scenario sedation.
Give it time and both of you will learn to adapt. You will learn to read their nonverbal cues better and your cat will hopefully learn to like grooming more. Taking care is an endless activity but service is the highest virtue. Blessings!