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Is it safe to put my cat under to be groomed ?

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
I have a 5 year old long-haired tabby. About twice a year I have to have her shaved because her hair gets matted on her hips. At first she was a willing participant, but the last 4 times I've had her shaved, they've had to put her under. Should I be concerned with putting her under twice a year to be groomed, or not ? Thanks for your help. Okey
post #2 of 12
There's always a risk with anesthesia. The more often it's done, the more often you're exposed to the risk.

Do you brush her regularly?
post #3 of 12
I would not keep putting her under to be groomed. IMO you should be keeping up with regular several times a week grooming, instead of waiting till she's too bad to groom and having to shave her.

If you get a cat that is so badly matted that it has to be shaved, that's one thing, but if its a constant thing, there's a problem in your grooming routine. Longhair cats should be groomed every day or several times a week depending on the type of fur. Sounds like your cat mats easily if you have to keep shaving her - so you should be combing your cat EVERY day!
post #4 of 12
Longhaired cats need to be groomed more often than shorthaired cats. It's as simple as that. Is your cat violently opposed to being handled/brushed? If you could just run a brush over your cat every day while you're watching TV or surfing the web, I doubt you would need to have her shaved twice a year. Unless we're talking a cat that is violently opposed to being handled, I don't think the risk of anesthesia is worth the convenience of getting her shaved.

If you've got a cat that simply doesn't like being brushed, I'd recommend clicker training. It has worked wonders for me.

What's the deal with your cat? Is she very hard to handle in any situation, or does she just hate being brushed?
post #5 of 12
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by JenC511 View Post
Longhaired cats need to be groomed more often than shorthaired cats. It's as simple as that. Is your cat violently opposed to being handled/brushed? If you could just run a brush over your cat every day while you're watching TV or surfing the web, I doubt you would need to have her shaved twice a year. Unless we're talking a cat that is violently opposed to being handled, I don't think the risk of anesthesia is worth the convenience of getting her shaved.

If you've got a cat that simply doesn't like being brushed, I'd recommend clicker training. It has worked wonders for me.

What's the deal with your cat? Is she very hard to handle in any situation, or does she just hate being brushed?

For one thing, Sophie has the strangest white hair I've ever seen on a cat. It's so soft, it's like cotton candy ! Although she isn't a lap cat, she doesn't mind being brushed a little bit, but then she starts biting the brush.

The second problem is that I am dis-abled, and some days I can't brush her. I really hate having her put under though.

What is clicker training ?
post #6 of 12
Whete coated longhair cats tend to be more cottony (like the white persians) and need more maintainance - that's probably why the cat is matting. You should be using a comb - not a brush. Even if disabled, you should try to comb the cat as often during the week as you can.

Is there someone that can help you in keeping the cat combed a lot more often?
post #7 of 12
Clicker training.. I just started a "thread" on this a few weeks back. I've been working with my cats, sporadically, and they're responding fairly well to it. There's a book by Karen Pryor, called Clicker Training for Cats. It's a fairly easy read and it explains how to teach clicker training.

The basics of starting it is.. you need something long and pointy.. a yardstick.. um.. I personally have been using a metal ruler, but I need to get something longer. A backscratcher would work.. a wooden dial rod, pretty much anything that's long and fairly lightweight. And you need a clicker. You can get a clicker from the local petstore (or online) where they have training tools for dogs. If you get it online, order from Karen Pryor's website: www.clickertraining.com ... I find her clickers are vastly easier to use.

Get some treats, individually about the size of a pea, that she really likes. The first few sessions you use the clicker and the treats, and you click and then treat. This is called "charging the clicker" (or getting your cat to associate the click with a food reward). THe next few sessions, you get the cat to "touch" the target stick. As the cat moves to touch it, you click. Very important to click "during" the movement, and not "after" it's completed. Every time you click, give a treat. I also click right as I'm giving them their food for regular feedings too.

Anyway, if you can find more out about it on the above website. It's free to join and she's got a lot of info on there. What you'd want to do with your cat, and this will probably work okay with or without the clicker, but it will most likely be more effective with the clicker since you can mark the appropriate behavior more accurately. You'll want to keep the treats and the clicker handy. When she's getting groomed and is in a *RELAXED* state and receptive to the grooming, you want to "click" and "treat". After you treat, then you can groom a little more, click and treat. It's very important not to click and treat if she's become unhappy about the clicking, tense, tail switching, biting the brush.. etc. Treating for being relaxed will eventually teach her to let you completely brush her without her getting upset as she'll associate the food reward with being relaxed and getting brush and it will create a positive experience/association in her mind. Just make sure you always treat her.

You could do it without clicking, using praise and a food reward. Either way, you can also associate a word with the appropriate behavior, like "brush" or "groom" or whatever, much like teaching a dog to sit only... different.

If you have a little time and really enjoy interacting with your cat, I'd research the clicker training... it's really a lot of fun and it's a great way to communicate with your cat. It teaches them ways to communicate with you, and it allows you to teach them really cool tricks. I've already got my kittens "reaching" up and/or jumping up to touch the target stick. They catch on fast and there's no end to what you can teach them. (Admittedly, though, I've only gotten to reaching up for the target stick or walking across the kitchen floor for the target stick.. but we've only had about four sessions and that's with four cats participating which makes it a little chaotic).

Oh, just as a side note, clickers, target sticks, and Karen Pryor's clicker training book are all available on her website (the book is about $13, the clickers are about $3 or something, and I don't remember how much the stick is).

If you get onboard with the clickertraining... make sure to tell us about how it's going with everything on this thread.. http://thecatsite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=138237
post #8 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by Okeyd57 View Post
The second problem is that I am dis-abled, and some days I can't brush her. I really hate having her put under though.

What is clicker training ?
Not knowing the extent of your disability, my advice might not apply. However, if you can get her used to brushing (through clicker training or some other method), it should be much less physically demanding. You simply have the cat in your lap and run a comb over her.

How much does it cost to have her put under/shaved 2x a year vs. more frequent groomings with a groomer? If transportation is an issue, there are mobile groomers in many areas. If you can't find any mobile groomers, I know there are a lot of underpaid vet techs who would be happy to get some extra cash by coming to your home to groom her. We're not talking about poodle haircuts or anything, so it wouldn't necessarily need to be a professional groomer.

There are many extensive resources on the Internet for clicker training info. You don't have to buy a kit to get started. A clicker and treats your cat loves are the only required equipment (barring deafness or other issues). A lot of cats aren't as food-motivated as dogs, so I usually suggest making them work for their dinner. For me, the biggest plus with clicker training cats is the change in their relationship with their human family. They tend to become much more interactive. I started it when my former cats wanted to scratch up everything in the house. Once I got them hooked on the clicker, they started realizing they got rewarded for scratching their own posts, but nothing ever came of scratching other things. They would scratch posts just to get treats and attention. It got to where they would put on these absurd displays of just how much (and how much better than the other one) they could scratch the posts whenever we came home, entered the room, etc.

My younger cat was a harder sell, so I didn't bother trying to teach him too many "tricks" (mostly just used it for the scratching issue), but his mother was all too receptive. She was like a little one-cat-circus. She'd turn the lights on/off, fetch things, sit/down, "beg", etc. She was also a piggy, so that helped. When she was trying to figure out something new to impress me (and the clicker), she'd run through all of her "tricks", so she'd be turning the lights on, bringing me toys, sitting, begging, scratching her post like a lunatic, etc. over and over. You might think unwanted displays would get annoying, but that's why you teach "down" and "go to bed".

So, long story short, you can use clicker training simply to get your cat to do basic things like let you groom her, trim her nails, scratch a post, etc., or you can add in the "useless cat tricks" if you (and your cat) are so inclined.

Note: I have been completely unsuccessful with clicker training my ferret. I haven't put in as much effort as I should to really complain about it, but he has the attention span of a lampshade. Really.
post #9 of 12
Okey... you say your cat use to be groomed without sedation and now needs to be sedated. Have you asked them why?

I'm a cats-only groomer, and have seen people calling themselves 'professional' cat groomers that I would have loved to do to them what I seen them do to cats!! I remember one particular cat that shop has been grooming since it was a kitten. It was an angel to groom then as it grew older became so mean the owners have to sedate it before they bring it in for grooming. well....I know why!! If I was that cat, I would have became the same from the way they groom cats. I don't want to get into the details of how they groom because we never know 'who' reads the board but let me just say, it is apaulling!

Anyway, back to you.... why they need to have it sedated...I know some Vets where the groomer will not groom any cats unless it is sedated so they could very well have a new groomer. I don't know as I don't work there but if I was you, I would get a second opinion to see if he needs sedation. Sometimes, it's just the groomer; there are cats I groom that others can't groom. Maybe that groomer is just being ruff with your cat also. Cats are smart....hurt them good and they will remember you.

I don't know where you live, send me a PM if you would like and I'll see if I can help you locate a mobile groomer, I know a few wonderful mobile groomers thoughout the states.

Minou
post #10 of 12
My long haired tabby George was not so crazy about being combed but I do it every day (or at least try to) for as long as he'll let me. What has helped is I let him smell the comb before I start and then again after every few "swipes" so he's smelling his own hair and knows that it's not such a bad thing.

I also have him up on the kitchen table (the most cleaned piece of furniture in the house!) so he's not too free to run away. Since he's not a lap cat or one who likes to be petted except on his own terms I keep talking calmly to him and let him know that he's getting treats when we're done. I don't spend a lot of time combing him at one time - I want to make sure that we can continue doing this every day.

Also, when he's sitting still and I am "allowed" to pet him I check for any matts that might have started and snip them out right away while they are small and before they become a problem. George has a mane around his face and that's where they seem to be on him.

Hopefully, if you're able to do just a little bit of combing each day (or every other day) you'll keep ahead of the matting problem and then you won't have to have your baby shaved. I so love George's long coat I can't imagine him without it!
post #11 of 12
I wouldnt use the being put under as a means of grooming...

I would recommend a second and maybe third opinion/... My dog groomer handle s my semi feral with ease for nail trims while it takes two vet techs
post #12 of 12
Most often, a good groomer doesn't need to put a cat under to do their job. It's always best to avoid anesthisia unless the cat is so severely matted that the mats are going right into the skin. I've seen cats like this and when they get shaved, the fur comes off like a big matted shell.
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