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getting cat used to grooming& nail clipping.

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
This question is about my cat Isabelle. Isabelle was homeless for a long time. She is a medium haired cat. She is a little furball and really needs grooming! She is not used to being groomed because she was homeless however she is getting a bit better about it. Half the time she loves it. She rolls over to let me brush her tummy, she purrs and sticks her chin out to be rubbed, closes her eyes - does all those happy cat things.

The other half of the time she starts out relaxed but then seems to get anxious. She looks all around the room, won't sit still, hides in the corner, etc. I cannot figure out what is different between the times she is happy and the times she is not. Does anyone have any ideas about this?

Also, I have a really hard time cutting her nails. She freaks out and curls up into a ball and totally retracts her nails. I have managed to cut them twice in the last 8 months (she's only been here 8 months). I cannot clip the side nails (inner nails) because it is just too hard. I am wondering if anyone has any tips about this. I tried the wrapping her in a blanket thing but it didn't work (maybe I just didn't do it correctly). I've gotten a few scratches from her because she gets scared. She is a very gentle animal and would never bite or hiss or anything she just gets scared and accidentally scratches me. Her nails are *very* sharp!

If anyone has any advice about how to get her more used to grooming I would appreciate it.


post #2 of 5
Try holding her against your tummy while you are sitting cross-legged which doesn't allow her to back up. While you clip, talk softly and sweetly to her and then give her a treat immediately after (I would go so far as to have the treat all ready and give it to her before you let her go.) Also doing the clipping while they are half-sleeping is another tactic. If Bijou is sleeping on the laz-y-boy chair, I'll just get on my knees beside it and clip his nails while he continues his nap.

Also you don't have to get them all at one sitting. If she is really stressed, do a couple, give her a treat and let her go, then tomorrow do another couple, treat, etc.
post #3 of 5
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the tips
post #4 of 5
That's great advice! It's also a nice idea to get her used to you handling her paws when it's not manicure time. When she's nice and relaxed, hold her hands, expose each nail, all gently and while you're continuing to talk softly and rub her. The treat after each nail is an excellent way of establishing a positive association!

Sierra and Serenity both have weekly manicures. Sierra grudgingly endures the task since it's always been her routine and she knows she gets a treat afterwords. Serenity, on the other hand, is not quite so agreeable to being still for the event even though she's had this same routine for almost a year. She gets her front nails trimmed one day, then back nails the next. Any other time I pick her up, she flops out to relax and cuddle, but as soon as she realizes the deal with the clippers, she's a little squiggly worm.
post #5 of 5
First of all, establish a weekly routine in handling/clipping nails. Check them daily and handly her feet, toes and do which ones need it the most. Even if you only clip one foot a day, she will get used to the handling. You don't have to wait till she needs it - but touch her feet a lot so she will not associate nail clipping ONLY when you handle her feet.

As far as grooming, again establish a combing (not brushing) routine several times a week. Since I showed cats (and owned a long hair) I set up a "table" for them to learn to stand on and be combed. Most times, I make them stand on the back legs while I hold the front and stretch them out a little to groom sides and belly. Then let them stand on 4 feet to do the rest of the body.

If you do it more professionally, they will not give you as much a hard time -they seem to know you are serious and you don't baby them. The more they struggle and you let them go, the quicker they learn that its all it takes to get out of clipping/combing.
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