Suggestions on how to acclimate newly adopted cat to being held for things like claw clipping?

cejhome

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Hello, any suggestions on how to acclimate our newly adopted cat to being held from behind/resting in my lap to do things like clipping claws? I would like to gradually work on getting him to allow me to hold him in my lap to be able to clip his claws. He also will not allow towel burrito - he really gets upset (the vet tried this). We have had him for about 3 weeks. He is wonderful - approx 2 years old. I have been able to give him ear drops for a yeast infection in both ears with little issue by putting him in the bottom half of his carrier, and treating him from the front where he can see what is going on. Vet tech showed me this. He is the same at the vet. As long as he is in the bottom half of his carrier and you don't restrain him (other than gently holding him in place), he is good. He allows us to handle his paws and touch his paw pads just fine. I'd hate to have to take him to the vet every time he needs his claws clipped and I would like to avoid sedating him to do things like this. Our previous kitty was great with me doing meds/claws, pills, etc., however she needed to be given gabapentin to visit the vet. I will see if we can try this for vet visits, but I sure don't want to have to resort to drugging him to do simple things like claw clipping. Heck, he is fine with me brushing eye boogers out of the corner of his eyes, since it is done from the front. I realize we are still acclimating him to his new home, but I would like to slowly, gradually work on handling him without him freaking out. He doesn't try to bite or anything, just tries to get away.
 

Furballsmom

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Gradually, you're right, this is key. Since he's letting you touch his paws, you're way ahead of the game.

Go slowly. Let him see the clippers and smell them, but don't actually do anything yet. Then hold the clippers and touch a paw, but that's all. Walk away as if nothing is new or unique.

After a week or so, try extending a claw while you're holding the clippers but don't cut yet. Eventually with this gentle approach, you should be able to clip a claw. If he's okay, then try another. If not, stop. And repeat :)

👍
 

furmonster mom

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You may also want to work on holding him in a variety of positions: just holding.
Pick kitty up and hold a position for a few seconds, then set him down easily (give treat). Extend the time gradually.
Doing this in a variety of positions will get kitty used to the idea that no matter how you hold him, he can trust you to put him back down.
Hubby has done this successfully with several of our cats, and people are always amazed at what they allow him to do.
 

chelsmarie

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My cat initially hated all confinement, including being forcibly held for claw trimming and medicine. She has always loved to cuddle on “her terms”, though. As a compromise, I always wait until she is cuddly and sleepy or busy bird watching. I usually take those times to quickly drop her Revolution meds on her neck and occasionally I can get a few claws in. It takes a few days to trim everything but this method has worked for me.

PS: Yes, gabapentin works wonders for vet visits. Only way I can get mine in the carrier.
 

Nebaug

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I advocate food!!! I’m yet to meet the cat that will not allow handling for a treat. This morning 3 of mine came running when I pulled out trimmers (yes they know the sound of it) . It’s literally fight who is going to be first. For every pow done there is open jar so they can put their head in and stuff their face for approximately 10 sec, lol and then we are on for another pow. In our case treat is tiki cat dry food (that is their only treat and ONLY dry food they ever get) . Cat may not be food motivated but for every cat there is a food that will make their heart sing.
 

danteshuman

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Slow and steady. Also always, always give a special super yummy treat every time you annoy them with nail clippings. baths etc. I can not tell you how much my saying “all done” relaxes the kitties as I reach for their treats. Sometimes they may not eat it but it tells them it is over & done with.
 
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cejhome

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Thanks y'all! I appreciate the suggestions. We will start working on this slowly. We are still working on getting his digestion issues 100% solved. His former home had him for about a year and fed him cheap canned and dry. From what the shelter said, they just kept feeding him the same thing, even though they could see he had issues with it. I don't know whether it was from ignorance or simply that they didn't care. He is improving a great deal - having to give him Miralax to keep him regular, along with simple canned foods with no grain or weird stuff. Foods with lots of broth in them and pumpkin. Fortunately, he loves the pumpkin. Had complete blood work and an x-ray done, he is healthy, just constipated due to the poor diet and untreated food allergies/intolerance. He is such a great kitty, its hard to remember we haven't even had him for a month. Fortunately the other people that had him returned him to the rescue when they decided they didn't want him anymore. They also admitted to putting him outside, claiming he wanted to go out. All this kitty wants it to be with his people. I guess they got annoyed he is so affectionate and loving.
 
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