Scenarios for cat grooming escalating to cat bites.
1. Cat groomer enters home –> cat runs away, hides, hisses and swats at owner when owner reaches for cat. Tries to bite groomer before groomer starts grooming. Hiding, hissing, swatting, biting not caused by grooming, because that behavior started before grooming. Among possible causes are illness, lack of social experience, rough treatment in the past, disturbance in the home, or presence of other pet who is threatening to the cat.
2. Cat groomer enters home, starts to groom cat –> cat remains quiet for 15 – 30 minutes. Meows, hisses, then swats or attempts to bite after 15-30 minutes. Cause of behavior may be unrelated to groomer or related to groomer. Possible non-groomer causes of behavior: another pet walked into room, children or strangers walked into room, vacuuming or other loud noises, illness, soreness, feeding time. Possible groomer causes of behavior: groomer pulling on skin, groomer pressing on arthritic area, pinching the scruff with overly tight grip, making sudden movements or loud noises. * Cats often won’t express pain when nicked or when the clipper blade is hot, so these are not likely causes for bite.
Methods for avoiding escalation to bites: Don’t rush. Rushing –> tugging, pulling, pinching –> discomfort –> bites. If cat is agitated before grooming begins, can wear gloves, apply snap-on e-collar, wrap cat in towel.