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How to Sedate a Cat for Grooming (3 Methods)

Some cats just do not like being groomed, but if they’re longhaired, grooming is a necessity. If their coat is not free of mats and tangles, it can tug uncomfortably on your cat’s skin, causing discomfort. If you’re struggling to keep your cat calm during grooming sessions, there are a few different methods that you can use to sedate them. This will make grooming much more comfortable for your cat and you!

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3 Different Methods for Sedation While Grooming

1.  Sedative Medication

For some cats, using a sedative medication will be the most humane way to groom them comfortably. Before using any medication of this type, speak to your vet for advice. They may prescribe a particular type of sedative to best match your cat’s circumstances. You may decide to administer the sedative and groom your cat at home or book your cat in for a sedation and grooming session at your vet practice.

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2.  Non-Medicated Options

If you don’t want to sedate your cat for grooming using prescription medication, you may be able to find a non-medicated option to help them instead.

These include things like:
  • Cat calming treats- These contain a blend of different herbs designed to increase relaxation and decrease stress. Popular herbs include valerian, passionflower, chamomile, and catnip. Each brand will use a particular mixture of herbs, so if you know that your cat responds well to a particular ingredient, make sure to use a brand that has it.
  • Calming collar. These collars contain a synthetic version of cat pheromones and can increase feelings of security and calmness. They can often help reduce stress-related behavior, but they are also useful for generally making your cat feel less anxious.
  • Pheromone diffuser. These work in the same way as calming collars, but your cat needs to be within a certain range of the diffuser in order to feel the effects.
  • Bach Rescue Remedy. This homeopathic remedy contains the essence of five flowers thought to help reduce feelings of anxiety and stress. The liquid can be dropped into your cat’s food or water.
  • Calming spray. These sometimes contain pheromones or herbs, both designed to help reduce anxiety and stress.
  • Homeopathic anxiety supplement. These use trace amounts of pure, all-natural ingredients to help reduce anxiety.
  • These place pressure across your cat’s body, which is meant to keep them feeling calm. They may not work if they cover areas of your cat’s body that you need to groom, but you will still be able to groom their legs, belly, and trim their nails if necessary.

Any of these may help relax your cat enough for you to be able to groom them effectively.

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3. General Anesthesia

In extreme cases, a vet may choose to anesthetize a cat in order to groom them effectively. This may be used if a longhaired cat with extremely matted hair has been rescued, and they need a significant amount of hair clipped away. If a cat has torn skin from mats or is suffering from other complications, like flystrike, then using anesthesia will often be less stressful for the cat.

A well-groomed cat will be much more comfortable than one with dirty and matted fur. So, rather than put off those grooming sessions because you know that your cat doesn’t like them, consider sedating your cat to keep them comfortable without any unnecessary stress.

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Featured Image Credit: Pxhere