I've neglected grooming this cat and now she's unable to do it herself.

gilmargl

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A black kitten, 3 - 4 weeks old, was found in a rubbish skip, badly injured and had probably been thrown away to die. "He" was taken to the local vet and kept overnight to see if he was likely to survive. He proved to be a fighter and was fostered by the local "Tierschutzverein" here in Germany. I met him 2 weeks later when he let me treat his injuries. I should have been rather suspicious when I was encouraged to take him home - I was even lent a transport-box. It's now 13 years later and I have never again been so close to this cat as I was on that day, attending his injuries. When I took him to be castrated, I still was not sure if he was really a male or female - his injuries were to his hindquarters, which I couldn't touch. He turned out to be female.

Mogi is not unfriendly, she just does not like to be touched, let alone handled. She comes when called, rubs herself against my hand so long as I refrain from moving it. Sometimes, when I am asleep in bed, I wake up to find her lying on me but, as soon as I move, or try to touch her, she leaves - but not always before giving me a nip or a scratch.

She lives at peace with my 3 other younger cats (all fosters, who have not found homes) and spends most of her days on my chair in the middle of the living room, only disappearing under a bed or into a cupboard as soon as the doorbell rings or she suspects that she's going to be grabbed for medication or a visit to the vet.

Recently I found a small clump of matted fur on her back. I was able to separate it out with my fingers and removed it after 2 days of gentle coaxing, and getting bitten more than once. But then, 2 more matts appeared, and eventually I had to give up the struggle. She was due to go to the vets for urine and blood tests, which, with this cat are only possible, under sedation so I let the assistant give her a good brush. Matts were found on her lower back, her back legs and stomach. Now she is lovely and smooth-coated again, but, how long will that last if she's not able to clean herself?

I will not get the laboratory results till next week, so that may be the beginning of another story.
I am now giving her painkillers in the hope that she will be able to clean herself. The vet believes that the injuries she received as a kitten (as far as I know, no x-rays were taken at the time) have led to arthrosis. I am attempting to do what I perhaps should have insisted on doing when she was younger - combing her! She has short, silky hair which is normally completely tangle-free. Some dandruff accumulates at the end of her spine which, for a long time, I have been gently combing out when she jumps on my lap to reach the coldwater tap when I'm in the bathroom! Now that I am more insistent, I often come out of the bathroom with blood on my hands!

For her only slightly matted fur, I definitely find fingers and then combing more effective than brushing. A glove is completely unacceptable! At the moment I am using a baby comb with rounded teeth. I would prefer something even smaller, which I could hide in the palm of my hand. I am not managing more than 3 or 4 strokes from head to tail per day (avoiding her bony spine) without her turning round, ready to bite off my nose. So her legs and stomach will have to go unattended, at least for the time being.

Has anyone come up with this problem? How can I help Mogi without spoiling our good, if rather special relationship. Any ideas for a small grooming tool?
 

verna davies

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What about a dolls hair brush, perhaps remove the handle so it fits on the palm of your hand.
 

sivyaleah

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A black kitten, 3 - 4 weeks old, was found in a rubbish skip, badly injured and had probably been thrown away to die. "He" was taken to the local vet and kept overnight to see if he was likely to survive. He proved to be a fighter and was fostered by the local "Tierschutzverein" here in Germany. I met him 2 weeks later when he let me treat his injuries. I should have been rather suspicious when I was encouraged to take him home - I was even lent a transport-box. It's now 13 years later and I have never again been so close to this cat as I was on that day, attending his injuries. When I took him to be castrated, I still was not sure if he was really a male or female - his injuries were to his hindquarters, which I couldn't touch. He turned out to be female.

Mogi is not unfriendly, she just does not like to be touched, let alone handled. She comes when called, rubs herself against my hand so long as I refrain from moving it. Sometimes, when I am asleep in bed, I wake up to find her lying on me but, as soon as I move, or try to touch her, she leaves - but not always before giving me a nip or a scratch.

She lives at peace with my 3 other younger cats (all fosters, who have not found homes) and spends most of her days on my chair in the middle of the living room, only disappearing under a bed or into a cupboard as soon as the doorbell rings or she suspects that she's going to be grabbed for medication or a visit to the vet.

Recently I found a small clump of matted fur on her back. I was able to separate it out with my fingers and removed it after 2 days of gentle coaxing, and getting bitten more than once. But then, 2 more matts appeared, and eventually I had to give up the struggle. She was due to go to the vets for urine and blood tests, which, with this cat are only possible, under sedation so I let the assistant give her a good brush. Matts were found on her lower back, her back legs and stomach. Now she is lovely and smooth-coated again, but, how long will that last if she's not able to clean herself?

I will not get the laboratory results till next week, so that may be the beginning of another story.
I am now giving her painkillers in the hope that she will be able to clean herself. The vet believes that the injuries she received as a kitten (as far as I know, no x-rays were taken at the time) have led to arthrosis. I am attempting to do what I perhaps should have insisted on doing when she was younger - combing her! She has short, silky hair which is normally completely tangle-free. Some dandruff accumulates at the end of her spine which, for a long time, I have been gently combing out when she jumps on my lap to reach the coldwater tap when I'm in the bathroom! Now that I am more insistent, I often come out of the bathroom with blood on my hands!

For her only slightly matted fur, I definitely find fingers and then combing more effective than brushing. A glove is completely unacceptable! At the moment I am using a baby comb with rounded teeth. I would prefer something even smaller, which I could hide in the palm of my hand. I am not managing more than 3 or 4 strokes from head to tail per day (avoiding her bony spine) without her turning round, ready to bite off my nose. So her legs and stomach will have to go unattended, at least for the time being.

Has anyone come up with this problem? How can I help Mogi without spoiling our good, if rather special relationship. Any ideas for a small grooming tool?
Perhaps, I could help as I went through a rather grueling situation with our Maine Coon kitten, who hated being groomed. The only difference is I'm able to handle her in general, she's well socialized but when it came to being groomed she would turn into a little tiger.

I agree that a comb and finger work is the best way to deal with mats since you aren't pulling hard at the skin that way. It's the method I use as well. I'm not sure if you'll be able to acclimate Mogi or not - being he is already 13 years old and set in his ways and responses. What I can suggest is what we did for our girl at first which is to get a prescription for gabapentin. This medication is very safe and used widely for cats with anxiety and is perfect for sedating a cat for grooming purposes. It has to be given at least 2 hours before you expect it to kick in - in fact, sometimes it's slower and take upwards of 3 hours but once it fully starts working the cat winds up pretty much like a wet noodle. My understanding is it also has the effect of the cat not remembering what happened - an amnesiac. Because of this it's a first choice in many instances and great for grooming since the cat becomes compliant and will not remember the experience either.

It worked amazingly well for me and Luna. I was able to fully remove mats, and comb her out completely before she started to come to. It's not very long acting, leaves the body fairly quickly - she was out for the count for about 2 hours (it took that long for me to get out the mats! It was like performing surgery). I gave it to her around noon, it kicked in just before 3pm, worked on her until about 5pm and by a couple of hours later she was back to herself.

I used this technique 3x total. I also, learned that when she is sleeping/napping she was a lot more tolerant of my grooming her so I made a habit of doing this every afternoon when she tends to take a long nap. It took about 3 months before she fully allowed me to groom her without medication and now I never have to use it. As long as I can comb her out about 3x a week it keeps the mats well under control. The only place she still isn't happy about me doing is around her hindquarters, she will still kick out at me at times but a groomer taught me a trick which is to hold them backwards, with their britches to the front and quickly brush that part out before they even know what happened to them :)

Hopefully you'll find a good way to handle this but speak to your vet about medication - I was quite hesitant about it but am so very glad i gave in to try as it was the only way to deal with the problem - we even tried to have the vet do a shave on her but she totally went insane as soon as they started and I had to come and get her.
 
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gilmargl

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What about a dolls hair brush, perhaps remove the handle so it fits on the palm of your hand.
:) I've still got a dolls pram and a few dolls left by my daughters and not yet thrown out. Not sure about a hair brush! I still think a comb is better than a brush but I'll look in the toy department of the local stores. The baby comb was part of a set (brush and comb) I found at a local drugstore when I was fostering a long-haired cat who hated being groomed. Thank you for the tip!
 
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Willowy

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For a shorthair, a rubber curry brush may work, and a lot of cats love them. In the US, Kong makes a good one but I don't know what's available there; you may need to go to a horse supply store.
 
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gilmargl

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Perhaps, I could help as I went through a rather grueling situation with our Maine Coon kitten, who hated being groomed. The only difference is I'm able to handle her in general, she's well socialized but when it came to being groomed she would turn into a little tiger.

I agree that a comb and finger work is the best way to deal with mats since you aren't pulling hard at the skin that way. It's the method I use as well. I'm not sure if you'll be able to acclimate Mogi or not - being he is already 13 years old and set in his ways and responses. What I can suggest is what we did for our girl at first which is to get a prescription for gabapentin. This medication is very safe and used widely for cats with anxiety and is perfect for sedating a cat for grooming purposes. It has to be given at least 2 hours before you expect it to kick in - in fact, sometimes it's slower and take upwards of 3 hours but once it fully starts working the cat winds up pretty much like a wet noodle. My understanding is it also has the effect of the cat not remembering what happened - an amnesiac. Because of this it's a first choice in many instances and great for grooming since the cat becomes compliant and will not remember the experience either.

It worked amazingly well for me and Luna. I was able to fully remove mats, and comb her out completely before she started to come to. It's not very long acting, leaves the body fairly quickly - she was out for the count for about 2 hours (it took that long for me to get out the mats! It was like performing surgery). I gave it to her around noon, it kicked in just before 3pm, worked on her until about 5pm and by a couple of hours later she was back to herself.

I used this technique 3x total. I also, learned that when she is sleeping/napping she was a lot more tolerant of my grooming her so I made a habit of doing this every afternoon when she tends to take a long nap. It took about 3 months before she fully allowed me to groom her without medication and now I never have to use it. As long as I can comb her out about 3x a week it keeps the mats well under control. The only place she still isn't happy about me doing is around her hindquarters, she will still kick out at me at times but a groomer taught me a trick which is to hold them backwards, with their britches to the front and quickly brush that part out before they even know what happened to them :)

Hopefully you'll find a good way to handle this but speak to your vet about medication - I was quite hesitant about it but am so very glad i gave in to try as it was the only way to deal with the problem - we even tried to have the vet do a shave on her but she totally went insane as soon as they started and I had to come and get her.
Thank you for the tip. Fortunately Mogi is short-haired so the mats are small and, if she were a bit more cooperative, very easy to remove without using a brush or comb. At the moment she is mat-free and I'd like to keep it that way! Gabapentin sounds a good idea should she need to be treated extensively again! I've read it shouldn't be given to cats with suspected kidney problems so I'll have to wait for the results of the urine and blood tests. She is taking painkillers at the moment - which are difficult enough to get her to swallow! I'll be speaking to the vet next week and I'll mention gabapentin to her. Thanks for your help.
 
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gilmargl

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For a shorthair, a rubber curry brush may work, and a lot of cats love them. In the US, Kong makes a good one but I don't know what's available there; you may need to go to a horse supply store.
Yes, they are available here, for cats and dogs. They are quite cheap too. I haven't bought one as the personal recommendations seem to imply that it is good for massaging but not for removing tangled hair, and many cats just hate the sight of it! The glove has a similar effect on Mogi. Thank you for answering!
 

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Thank you for the tip. Fortunately Mogi is short-haired so the mats are small and, if she were a bit more cooperative, very easy to remove without using a brush or comb. At the moment she is mat-free and I'd like to keep it that way! Gabapentin sounds a good idea should she need to be treated extensively again! I've read it shouldn't be given to cats with suspected kidney problems so I'll have to wait for the results of the urine and blood tests. She is taking painkillers at the moment - which are difficult enough to get her to swallow! I'll be speaking to the vet next week and I'll mention gabapentin to her. Thanks for your help.
Absolutely, it would depend if the cat can have it. I did forget to mention that it would be dependent on health status!
The gabapentin is a liquid, I personally find that much easier to administer than pills. Of course that would also be dependent on whether you can hold her long enough to get the syringe into her too.
 
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