Welcome to The Cat Site
your cat community
Interact with our community

Ideas for grooming a very stubborn Persian

Discussion in 'Grooming & General Cat Care' started by silverpersian, Jan 19, 2017.

  1. silverpersian

    silverpersian Thread Starter TCS Member Alpha Cat

    342
    32
    Dec 16, 2013
    Midwest - US
    I have a 3.5 year-old Persian who only allows grooming on his own terms. Combing him is not optional, especially in the winter, because he gets mats all the way down to the roots of his fur, and obviously doesn't let us cut those either.

    I have had him since he was eight weeks old, and started grooming him early on. He puts up a big fight every time, and does not let me comb him anywhere on the stomach, armpits, or chest  - the exact places where he needs the combing. We have tried every type of comb, and many different tricks. He is not having it. We have Feliway diffusers. I tried music. I sweet talk him throughout and offer treats. Nothing works.

    It has reached the point where I consulted our vet. The two options that had occurred to me were a grooming bag and muzzle, or a mild sedative. He advised against the bag and muzzle and said that it may seriously damage the cat's relationship with me. He suggested gabapentin. We tried it last night, at the half-tablet (50 mg) dose. Kitty proceeded to chill out under the bed. I coaxed him out with treats and tried to comb him, but he wasn't having it.

    Our vet said I could go up to a full 100 mg tablet, but I am really reluctant to medicate the cat if there are other options. Any ideas?

    It's worth mentioning that I am very gentle with our cat, he is normally very sweet and gentle, and our vet believes that his aversion to being combed is not indicative of an underlying medical problem. Our cat is very healthy and has a gorgeous coat that rarely mats in the summer, but gets out of hand in the winter. My husband and I put on long-sleeved sweatshirts and pants. He holds our cat, I comb him. Both of us usually end up getting scratched before he manages to wriggle away. He puts up such a fight that I worry about hurting him if we hold him down any harder.

    This is our paradoxical dog-kitty. He is so friendly and sociable that all of our friends say that he acts like a dog. There are three occasions when he goes from sweet puppy to feral alley cat: when we take him to the vet, and when we try to brush or bathe him. We almost never need to bathe him because his coat doesn't get greasy or dirty. He was fine at the vet and known as the "gorgeous sweet kitty" until they neutered him. He seems to have remembered that, and every vet visit is a nightmare now. I asked for a sanitary cut yesterday, and our vet said that he would do it only under sedation. Bear in mind that this is a wonderful practice where our vet and all of his staff are animal lovers to the core. Our little tiger seems to be one of few cats who gives them this much trouble.

    None of the groomers in town accept cats. I am out of ideas and would appreciate advice.
     

  2. sivyaleah

    sivyaleah TCS Member Veteran

    4,258
    1,506
    Dec 16, 2011
    New Jersey
    Speaking as someone with a long hair cat (domestic, Tortie) also I know this can be challenging.  Ours loves being groomed and usually is relaxed about it but there are times when she isn't in the mood. In fact, right now she has a couple of armpit mats which are pretty big. I got out another one a few days ago but I'm waiting until I catch her in a more cooperative mood.  They are close to the skin, making it difficult to get to.  I'd rather wait until a good time for her than force the issue.

    We use a combination of tools for daily grooming but resort to a mat cutter when it gets out of control.  Winter as you mentioned is the worst time of year.  And honestly we slacked off the past few weeks due to both of us having the flu - there was a good 2 weeks where we could barely lift our heads let alone groom a cat LOL.

    Ok I digress.  First I agree with your vet that medicating her is a much more humane way to approach it this time. Having her calm and a bit out of it is going to be necessary because I'm sure by now those mats are painful to her.  Using restraint of any kind would damage your relationship for sure and you'll never probably be able to do it again because she'll learn fast how to avoid you.  

    I would also start working with her to get her used to the tools you use.  Perhaps, start with a soft grooming glove.  She won't associate it with a brush or comb since it doesn't look anything like one.  We use a Zoom Groom by Kong, which is silicone and will pull out more than you'd believe easily.  Both our cats LOVE this, because they just think they are being pet by the best massager on the planet :D

    I'd also offer her treats as you do this, something she can't resist.  

    Once you have her accustomed to the glove, move onto another type of instrument - try one she has no experience with.  Hold it out to her, let her inspect it.  See if she herself starts rubbing on it to claim it.  If so, you can slowly proceed in whatever way is best for both of you but only for a short period of time.  You'd want to build up the experience slowly - maybe start with a minute or less for a couple of days and increase every few days until you are able to use the tool without her balking at it.  And again, treats will be your friend.

    Keep doing this, moving over to other types of combs and brushes.  Pay attention to when she starts getting anxious and then stop.  Go at her pace.  

    I'd think since you have a good relationship with her otherwise, that eventually she'll come to realize that you mean no harm and hopefully will learn to enjoy the process.  

    If all else fails, unfortunately you'll have to administer the medication periodically to accomplish the task but I do think it's possible to get her to a point where she isn't fighting you.  It will take time, for sure but slow and steady is the way to regain her trust about this particular type of care.  

    BTW, we have the same problem with there being no groomers who will work with cats anywhere near us.  Although Cocoabean is a good "patient" there have been a few times over the years where I really could have used a professional.  Once, she got a piece of poo stuck on her britches but good, ugh was so gross and tangled.  She wanted me nowhere near her butt!  Took a long time to work it out, with small scissors, the mat cutter and a lot of patience too.  

    One last thing is can your vet shave her down? Starting from scratch might make sense.

    Good luck, I do hope this gets easier for you! 
     
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2017
    silverpersian purraised this.

  3. sivyaleah

    sivyaleah TCS Member Veteran

    4,258
    1,506
    Dec 16, 2011
    New Jersey
    Oops sorry kept referring to your cat as "she".  OOPS! He!
     
    silverpersian purraised this.

  4. posiepurrs

    posiepurrs TCS Member Top Cat

    1,585
    2,658
    Jan 11, 2015
    Western Massachusetts, USA
    The post above has some good advice. I would have the vet shave him down and start while he has no coat. I have one girl that I used to sedate to groom, but now we just do it in segments until I have her shaved down. She looks ridiculous for awhile but at least i don't lose much blood that way. She is the only one of my cats that are shaved regularly because she has never gotten used to grooming and is dangerous to groom. I never placed her in a pet home because I knew no one would put up with her (except me). I started grooming her at 6 weeks so by age 8.5 she should have adjusted. Pretty silver in your icon photo - silver and golden Persians are my passion.
     
    sivyaleah and silverpersian purraised this.

  5. sophie1

    sophie1 TCS Member Alpha Cat

    559
    170
    Aug 16, 2013
    I've got a Siberian who hates grooming too, and it's been quite a long process figuring out how to go about it.  Unfortunately he mats frequently (year-round). 

    I make a habit of running my hands all over him to check for mats frequently, usually every day.  When I find one, I attack it with a comb if it's small, or use clippers if large.  For some reason, he doesn't mind either of these operations as long as I don't tug on his fur.  For small mats, I hold the hair close to the cat and use a greyhound comb as a pick.  Eventually it comes out.  Rubbing in coconut oil and letting it sit for an hour or two before trying the comb helps a lot.  For large mats especially those close to the skin, I put Charlie in my lap, hold the clipper with the blade facing away from his skin, and start teasing at the mat until it lifts away.  Amazingly, he holds still for this.  If I make a mistake and tug even slightly on the mat, that's when he will start squirming, snapping, and eventually running away. 

    I do try to comb him sometimes, but that can be very trying.  The trick is to stick to the areas and tools he likes (Zoom Groom or polishing brush on top of his head and around the ruff) until he's relaxed and purring, then get in a couple of swipes with the comb and stop when his tail starts swishing.  Go back to the Zoom Groom on the head, lather rinse repeat.

    It's all about communication...hope this helps.
     
    silverpersian and sivyaleah purraised this.

  6. silverpersian

    silverpersian Thread Starter TCS Member Alpha Cat

    342
    32
    Dec 16, 2013
    Midwest - US
    Thanks to all for the excellent suggestions! I will try all of them. I hate to resort to medicating the little guy, and I think that your suggestions will eliminate the need for that.

    Thank you again!
     

  7. silverpersian

    silverpersian Thread Starter TCS Member Alpha Cat

    342
    32
    Dec 16, 2013
    Midwest - US
    No worries! I won't tell him, and he can't read (yet) 😊

     

  8. silverpersian

    silverpersian Thread Starter TCS Member Alpha Cat

    342
    32
    Dec 16, 2013
    Midwest - US
    Thank you! Your kitty looks exactly like a gold version of mine. I would have loved to have one of each, but we had a "volunteer" show up at our door instead 😊


     

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies.