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Grooming a cat who hates to be groomed

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
I need to groom Bob, my Maine Coon mix. He sheds and is prone to mats on his backside. He also needs his nails clipped. The problem is that he was a semi-feral stray when I got him last year, and he hates to be brushed or touched with any other implement. He swats and bites and I can only do a little at a time. I've tried wearing plastic gloves (the kind used for cleaning) but he just bites at them (leaving holes), and I've tried distracting him with a rope toy but I need both hands to comb him properly. Does anyone have any other ideas?
post #2 of 12
As a cat groomer- I would get myself an elizabethan collar, and figure eight leash him to something near the table I was working on. The leash leaves both your hands free and the collar inhibits his biting.
If he is really bad add one assistant for holding and you can get most anything done.
post #3 of 12
I don't know if this will help, but I have 2 identical brushes (no sharp bristles )- one to brush with, one for my difficult cat to "eat". They are swapped out frequently during the brushing, and she gets sick of it all kinda quickly still, but I do get a little done each time .
post #4 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by catsallover
I don't know if this will help, but I have 2 identical brushes (no sharp bristles )- one to brush with, one for my difficult cat to "eat". They are swapped out frequently during the brushing, and she gets sick of it all kinda quickly still, but I do get a little done each time .
I have to do the exact same thing with Ginger. She hates to be held or touched much unless it's on HER terms, and brushing falls under holding AND touching, so it is to be avoided at all costs. And she attacks the brush/comb, so two are a necessity.

I give her credit though. Once she realizes that it's going to happen no matter what her protest, she gives that little kitty sigh, and sits motionless in mute protest through the remainder of the ordeal.

When she's finished, I praise her, pet her, let go of her and watch out for the rears claws as she scrabbles for purchase on the fast exit. Then as she sits in front of me, glowering a bit as she attemps to recover from the insult, I praise her some more and give her treats. Then everything is okay again, and as she struts off I tell her how beautiful she is with her freshly groomed fur.

Each session gets just a tiny bit easier for both of us...although for doing her belly and pantaloons, I generally ask for my roomate to help hold her while I get in and get out to keep any mats from forming. He also holds her so I can trim her butt fur - helps keep her nice & clean.

My suggestion: Hang in there, think calm thoughts when with him, try two brushes for sure and praise him throughout and after the grooming, and give him a treat. Ginger, I think, has started making a more pleasant association regarding her grooming - it can't be all that bad if a treat comes with it.
post #5 of 12
Smidge hating being brushed and I really tried many tactics and training - all to no avail.

I read about Zoom Groom at TCS, got one, and within a week she was begging me to brush her! It was love-hate at first but now she comes running when she sees me get it out.

The Zoom Groom feels v. good to them from what I can tell. I also give her a treat when we are done; it started when brushing was new as a reward for letting me brush, even if it was for one minute, then we built up from there.
post #6 of 12
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the advice. I got a Zoom Groom last night. Petco doesn't stock them in-store so I went to an independent pet store down the street. Of course the independent store had it (and the clerk knew what it was!). Bob put up with it far longer than he ever did with a slicker or shedder brush. He did swat a few times, but it was far less than before. It even worked wonders on Freckles, my short haired tabby who can shed worse than Bob.
post #7 of 12
We use a combo of the zoom groom and a brush with metal pins. Abby was also distrustful of a brush for a long time, but loved the zoom Groom. After she become used to that, we were able to start suing a regular brush with no problems.
post #8 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob'sMom
Thanks for the advice. I got a Zoom Groom last night. Petco doesn't stock them in-store so I went to an independent pet store down the street. Of course the independent store had it (and the clerk knew what it was!). Bob put up with it far longer than he ever did with a slicker or shedder brush. He did swat a few times, but it was far less than before. It even worked wonders on Freckles, my short haired tabby who can shed worse than Bob.

Yeah! Progress!

Maybe Bob will be in love with it within time - like the packaging advertises - "Ectasy!"
post #9 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by CDubbie
Yeah! Progress!

Maybe Bob will be in love with it within time - like the packaging advertises - "Ectasy!"
Polly purrs her little heart out when I Zoom Groom her. I use it as a reward after brushing her teeth
post #10 of 12
I thought I would just throw in my experience...Lucky my long hair hates being brushed....but will tolerate it on her back (no tummy or back end.) I've taken to leaving the brush beside me during cuddle time, and once she falls asleep on me i start brushing her. She's very malleable when she's sleepy and i can quickly get the tough spots, when she starts to wake up and get mad i switch to just petting and cuddles till she drifts off again.
post #11 of 12
Mine wakes up too fast! Snore...ATTACK! And then she stares at me (upside down, with my hand in her teeth, my arm wrapped in her claws, like "Thought you could get away with it, didn't you?!?" It is a good idea, though- it works on one of my other cats who wakes up slower .
post #12 of 12
Does he have a favorite treat or toy? Cats relate a lot of things by association. If he is "food driven", it makes it a lot easier.

Start by choosing a relaxing time and location. Start grooming him. Stop before he gets aggitated and reward him with a treat. Slowly increase the time spent and soon he will understand that grooming leads to a treat. This strategy works a lot for teeth brushing too.

I hope this helps!
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