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She had dreadlocks in her petticoats! (And my semi-feral needs a groomer.)

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
Poor Ginger! Tonight I trimmed four wadded up little mats of fur from the long wavy fur right between her back legs.

I comb her regularly, and her coat looks great, but she still won't stand still (she dances) for a belly brushing, so I have a hard time getting that particular spot brushed out. And obviously, I haven't done my job as a meowmy, letting her get matted up like that. These are the very first I've ever seen on her.

So I trimmed her, and tht got me to thinking: what on earth am I going to do for Ferris? I can't comb or brush him at all - he won't let me and runs when I try to come near him. I can, on very rare occasion, get a comb lightly through one side of his back, and maybe around the cheeks, but that's it. He won't tolerate anything more.

Here's my dilemma: What do I do for him? I know all the groomers will complain that I don't take care of him properly, but he's semi-feral, and will claw me to pieces if I try to hold him for any length of time against his will.

He IS going to get matted up, he's a long hair with Maine Coon and what looks like maybe Turkish Angora genes (it's in his pointy little face and coat) so I am going to have to have him professionally groomed.

How often should I take him and what should I ask for? Can anyone with long-haired semi-ferals share their experiences with grooming issues? Thanks!
post #2 of 18
I know we have some clients who pick up mild sedatives for their cats (and dogs) before grooming (and sometimes before vet appointments). It doesn't knock them out, but makes them more managable. I haven't used it on any of my cats, but I've seen completely crazed cats become mellow enough to, for example, do bloodwork on them.

You could ask your vet if he'd prescribe or dispense something for him, either to groom him at home or before taking him to a groomers.
post #3 of 18
Isabella is a long haired Turkish Angora. The thing that's cool about Angoras is that they do not have a double coat- therefore, they do not matt easily at all and are very easy to groom. You mentioned Ferris seems to have a bit of that gene in him. Does he have one coat or two? From the likes of it, it sounds like two- so side more alongside what you'd do to care for a maine coon or persian. When it comes down to it, whether the cat likes it or not- it must be groomed- especially a long hair that has a tendency to matt- if it is allowed to matt it can lead to a world of problems and it's a nightmare to remove. One time my shelter had 62 persians we rescued from a hoarders house. It was a bloody nightmare! They were all very wild and unsocialized and extremly matted- to the point that the fur on their britches back by their bottoms were matted together...causing feces and urin to collect in that area and cause urin burns (which are exceptionally painfull to animals)....along with a very long list of other issues. It took us forever to groom them all. They all had to be shaved down (lion cut) because the matts were so extensive. So needless to say, a long hair kitty cannot go without grooming. You are such a good meowmy to try and seek advice on this topic- i applaud you for trying to take such good care of your furbabies The best thing to do with a semi-feral kitty who needs to be groomed is give them a light sedative (must come from a vets office) and then proceed with the grooming. Sometimes it's easier if you can have a second person help you. Keep in mind- the more you handle the kitties and get them used to grooming- the more tolerable it will become for them and the easier it will get for you . Be patient...it will get better with time. However, if you see that you cannot remove the current matts,etc...please consider a lion cut for them by a professional groomer. And while they have the lion cut...use an extremly soft bristled brush on them 2x a day just to get them used to the feel of brushing at the frequency. This way, when their fur starts to go back, they will have already gotten used to brushings, but will not matt in the time it takes to get them used to the handling. Remember- when dealing with a semi-feral- the key things to remember are time and patience. I would go ahead and have them clipped down....and get them used to being handled and petted. Since their fur will be gone, you won't have to worry about very detailed grooming or handling them for long periods of time. This will give you time to get them used to a soft brush and being handled....that way, once their coat grows back, grooming won't be a problem
post #4 of 18
Thread Starter 
Nikki,

Thank you for the advice, but I cannot simply "get Ferris used to handling" as he will NOT allow me to handle him at all. He DOES allow my roomie to pet him, so I have requested that he keep some brushes handy and try to use them on Ferris when he asks for petting. Ferris will NOT let my roomie pick him up, either, and the few times that I have, well, I have some nice scars to show for it.

Ferris will climb all over him for loves - until I step foot in the room, then Ferris is off and running. He won't come NEAR me, unless I have food, then he always keeps his face to me. He has told me straight out that he doesn't trust me - it is in all his actions. I'm hoping/expecting that will change over time, but I'm not kidding myself, either.

Sedation might work, if I can get him all sleepy so he won't run. I'm not scared to get clawed, but fighting the cat to groom him is not my idea of furthering our relationship, and I DO understand the necessity of grooming him - that's why I posted this to begin with.

Ginger has been with me for 16 months, and she is JUST starting to let me brush her without trying to run away. Ferris is still a very wild little kitten at just under 7 months old, and again, he will not allow me to come anywhere near him. I don't expect that this will change in the near future.

I will contact my vets to see what they have to say about sedation. They are a holistic practice, so I hope that doesn't get in the way of my request. I would like to be able to take care of him myself rather than pay for grooming, but I am thinking that a manditory, once a year lion cut, perhaps in late spring, is going to become routine for Ferris.
post #5 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by GingersMom View Post
Nikki,

Thank you for the advice, but I cannot simply "get Ferris used to handling" as he will NOT allow me to handle him at all. He DOES allow my roomie to pet him, so I have requested that he keep some brushes handy and try to use them on Ferris when he asks for petting. Ferris will NOT let my roomie pick him up, either, and the few times that I have, well, I have some nice scars to show for it.

Ferris will climb all over him for loves - until I step foot in the room, then Ferris is off and running. He won't come NEAR me, unless I have food, then he always keeps his face to me. He has told me straight out that he doesn't trust me - it is in all his actions. I'm hoping/expecting that will change over time, but I'm not kidding myself, either.

Sedation might work, if I can get him all sleepy so he won't run. I'm not scared to get clawed, but fighting the cat to groom him is not my idea of furthering our relationship, and I DO understand the necessity of grooming him - that's why I posted this to begin with.

Ginger has been with me for 16 months, and she is JUST starting to let me brush her without trying to run away. Ferris is still a very wild little kitten at just under 7 months old, and again, he will not allow me to come anywhere near him. I don't expect that this will change in the near future.

I will contact my vets to see what they have to say about sedation. They are a holistic practice, so I hope that doesn't get in the way of my request. I would like to be able to take care of him myself rather than pay for grooming, but I am thinking that a manditory, once a year lion cut, perhaps in late spring, is going to become routine for Ferris.
There are holistic calming aids...

personal experience ... Zoey is an angel to get nails done and exams though she is a semi feral
post #6 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by sharky View Post
There are holistic calming aids...

personal experience ... Zoey is an angel to get nails done and exams though she is a semi feral
I have spoken to the clerk at my vet's office and she has stated she'll speak to the vet and get back to me about it.

In my experience thus far, in taking Ferris to the vet:

A.) It is close to impossible to catch him and get him in the carrier, although I have managed it by tricking him (which has made him trust me even less.) and he hates me for it,

and

B.) He is terrified at the vet's office, and this is the ONLY time he allows me to hold him, as in that environment, I actually represent safety.

So I don't know whether or not taking him to a professional groomer would be the way to go, as it might turn out to be more traumatizing to both of us than if I could care for him at home.

I wouldn't want a "calming" aid, we have Feliway running 24/7 at home, that is supposed to be calming enough. Rather, I would be interested in a short-lived sedative that would make him sleepy so I could handle him without collateral damage.

I know every feral and semi-feral is different, as are all domestics. I guess I should clarify my question to ask it of those who have rescued house ferals that are not handleable. I know that there must be some out there.

Should I perhaps repost this question in the caring for strays and ferals area?
post #7 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by StarryEyedTiGeR View Post
Isabella is a long haired Turkish Angora. The thing that's cool about Angoras is that they do not have a double coat- therefore, they do not matt easily at all and are very easy to groom. You mentioned Ferris seems to have a bit of that gene in him. Does he have one coat or two? From the likes of it, it sounds like two- so side more alongside what you'd do to care for a maine coon or persian.
Maine Coons don't have an undercoat either.

Good luck with Ferris, Gingersmom. My Duke HATES being groomed. He doesn't really like to be touched much at all, but he'll tolerate it. Fortunately, hes a siamese and doesn't really need much grooming at all.

Just wanted to say, though, Ferris doesn't 'hate' you. Its not you. {{{hugs}}}
post #8 of 18
I would post it in the feral section.... The only reason I can handle Zoey is that area... She was wild till the accupucturist turned on a fountain ( you know the rock s with some water coming down .. that made her sleepy..

maybe you could get a housecall??? i know with my hard to handle dog that worked best... I would say from my experience cats and groomers dont mix..
post #9 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by tiffanyjbt View Post
Maine Coons don't have an undercoat either.

Good luck with Ferris, Gingersmom. My Duke HATES being groomed. He doesn't really like to be touched much at all, but he'll tolerate it. Fortunately, hes a siamese and doesn't really need much grooming at all.

Just wanted to say, though, Ferris doesn't 'hate' you. Its not you. {{{hugs}}}
Thank you for the hugs. It does make me sad to have him choose my roomie as his favorite human, since I'm the care giver, food buyer, medical health cost payer, treat giver, etc., but I hope in time he'll allow me to get closer to him and consider me a part of his family. Right now I'm just a slave.

I just got off the phone with the vet's office, and they are going to give me 5 mg tablets of Acepromazine to try, they said it is a mild sedative that won't knock him out, but might be just the thing to make him sleepy and docile (dopey?) enough to allow me to quickly groom him. I'm going to look it up on the net now.

BTW, Maine Coons do have a very soft undercoat - Ginger definitely has one that grows in thicker in the winter. Both of my furkids have very, very soft coats, silky soft, and they don't appear to mat easily, but as Ginger proved to me yesterday, they WILL mat.

I haven't been able to get close enough to Ferris to really examine his coat, but from a small distance he appears to not have the same undercoat that Ginger does, which is one of the reasons I suspect Angora blood, along with his facial structure.

As soon as my vet first saw Ferris, they pronounced that he definitely has Maine Coon in him, but as I'm watching him grow, his coat stays silky but hasn't gotten anywhere near as thick as Ginger's has.
post #10 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by GingersMom View Post
Thank you for the hugs. It does make me sad to have him choose my roomie as his favorite human, since I'm the care giver, food buyer, medical health cost payer, treat giver, etc., but I hope in time he'll allow me to get closer to him and consider me a part of his family. Right now I'm just a slave.
Just think of as you being the custodial parent and the roomie is like the one that gets weekend visitation. The custodial one always gets the work and the bills (and does the discipline), the other gets the fun stuff. But as they get older, the custodial one gets recognize for all they do, and the relationship changes.
post #11 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by neetanddave View Post
Just think of as you being the custodial parent and the roomie is like the one that gets weekend visitation. The custodial one always gets the work and the bills (and does the discipline), the other gets the fun stuff. But as they get older, the custodial one gets recognize for all they do, and the relationship changes.
So I have to wait until my cat is 20 years old before he'll appreciate me?

I do maintain hope. After all, my babies are still babies, and I look forward to a long happy life for each of them, universe willing.

Now, if I could just get the idea of adding another furbaby out of my head... (limited to 2 in my lease, probably a good thing!)
post #12 of 18
A breeder I spoke with at a cat show said MCs don't have an undercoat (I was asking her about grooming). Upon doing a search for this, it seems that some do have a definite undercoat, and some lack one completely. Most sites say they have a soft, light undercoat in the mane, underbelly and hind quarters.

Sorry if I misinformed anyone...

Quote:
Now, if I could just get the idea of adding another furbaby out of my head... (limited to 2 in my lease, probably a good thing!)
Sounds like its time to move
post #13 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by tiffanyjbt View Post
Sounds like its time to move
Well, my landlord has the house I live in up for sale, so that's always a possibility whether I like it or not!

OK, I'm picking up the Acepromazine after work, 5 mg tabs, and I'm to start with giving him one pill.

Next hurdle: How to get a pill into a cat I can't pick up. Oh, this gets more and more fun!

I'm going to try crushing it and mixing it with Gerber meat babyfood. I know that's one treat he can't resist! Wish me luck!
post #14 of 18
Ace as my vet calls it works great ... Make sure it can be crushed ... I would say give Ferris a hug but I know that aint happening...lol...
post #15 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by sharky View Post
Ace as my vet calls it works great ... Make sure it can be crushed ... I would say give Ferris a hug but I know that aint happening...lol...
They did say I could crush it. My only concern is that it can actually have a reverse affect and cause aggressiveness, so I'm going to ask them if that's what they used on him before he went under for his neuter.

I'm really hoping this does the trick, then I won't have to do it TOO often, but will be able to thoroughly groom him once every two months or so.

I'll keep you guys posted!
post #16 of 18
I've given Acepromazine to several ferals before with a lot of success. It works very well (keep in mind though, each kitty is different....but for the ones i used it on it did work successfully) I was able to get them to and from the vet, transported and have several procedures preformed on them. I crushed it up to medicate several of my fosters before and put it in their food. So that does work well- just make sure they eat the whole thing. Also, if you can't get him to eat it, let me know - I will walk you through how to pill a feral cat (it is not fun, and it is tricky, but it can be done successfully.) Good luck! Let us know how it goes ok. (also, some groomers in an extreme situation will make house calls....that may be something to look into.
post #17 of 18
Thread Starter 
Thanks, Nikki - I do know how to pill a cat (I've read lots and lots and lots of info on caring for cats, and have seen pilling demonstrated, plus I've had to give Ferris his second dose of dewormer,) but I would need another person to help me catch him and wrap a blanket or towel around him so I could pill him without me winding up needing stitches. Problem is, my roomie's hours and mine don't generally match up, so I'm almost always alone in caring for the kitties.

When Ferris struggles, he suddenly grows an extra dozen legs that are all armed with razors, and the next hing you know, my blood is everywhere. He is the wiggliest cat I've ever met, LOL. Scruffing him only leads to me getting wounded, so I think I've learned not to do that anymore.

I'm going to crush the Ace up and give it to him with chicken baby food, since that's his most favorite special treat from me - he licks it off my fingertip, it's part of my socializing him to accept me as someone who isn't always the bad guy. I think that ought to work ok - just need to prep it beforehand so he doesn't suspect that it's tainted.

I'm going to try it this weekend during the day, when he would be most sleepy anyway. I really think this'll do the trick! The vet's office was really good about it - they gave me one pill for free just so we can try it, and see how he reacts. I'm glad I've found these guys - they are the 3rd vet I've seen in less than two years, and I think they are the winners - great service and animal care, they don't overcharge, and so far, they seem to be on the same page with me about how I care for my furkids.

I got the opportunity to finish grooming Ginger's underbelly last night - she is SO good for me, bless her little soul - and used a new comb from Bamboo that has rotating tines like rakes do - she seemed to like having it used on her, which is always a plus, and now she has no more knots at all.

With Ginger, I've gone through at least a dozen types of combs and brushes, so I have plenty of styles to choose from to find the one(s) that will work best for Ferris, too.

Now I'm wondering - do you think that a shelter would accept used cat combs and brushes? I have no need to keep all the ones I can't use on the kits because they don't like them.
post #18 of 18
I wouldnt see why not ... I would ask them if they wanted them sterilized prior to drop off ...

on an off note ... I just got ACE for Zoey and her first accupucture appt... My worry was her not staying still...
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