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But…They Don’t Like It

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What can be done with an uncooperative cat when you need to give medication, trim nails, or brush out dead hair? Here are a few suggestions:iStock_000008366774Large

  • If you have the opportunity of starting with your cat as a kitten, practice by opening his mouth and massaging his teeth and gums. Ears and paws should also be gently massaged.
  • Introduce new grooming activities one at a time; take baby steps to attain your goal.
  • If the cat’s coat is badly matted, consider giving yourself and the cat a “fresh start” by having the cat shaved by a groomer and then maintaining the coat yourself as it grows back.
  • Use treats, praise, and petting to let your pet know that you approve of his tolerant behavior. Never scold–keep the experience positive.
  • Try to stay business-like throughout any procedure, so that you are not inadvertantly reinforcing the cat’s fear with too much sympathy.
  • Ask your veterinarian to describe to you or to show you techniques for giving your cat a pill, a liquid medication, and ear or eye drops. Be patient, gentle and firm when giving medications.

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While working with the cat to condition it to accept various types of handling, be sensitive to the cat’s reactions and DON’T try to hold (or restraine) a cat that is becoming irritated (tense body, flattened ears, twitching tail). Let an annoyed cat have his way and try again later. A frightened or angry cat can hurt you and a bad experience for the cat can reduce your chance of success next time. The key is to keep this training to short, positive sessions.


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