Dr. Fox Prefers Housecall Cat Grooming

Dr. Fox (veterinarian, author, PhD in medicine and a DSc in ethology/animal behavior from the University of London) was kind enough to reply to my email about house call cat grooming. (Italics & capitalization are mine)

“Many cat owners will appreciate your letter and need for in-home cat grooming services. This may be an incentive for other experienced groomers to offer house-visits rather than having cats come to them which can be very stressful for some cats while others cannot even be put into a carrier without prior habituation. Either way there is no excuse for cats becoming so matted from lack of regular grooming that they must be sedated and carefully clipped at a veterinary hospital, extreme stress and expenses which could be avoided by routine effective grooming by the owners or professionals such as yourself.

Dr. Fox is a long-time advocate for animals and has an extensive education in science.  I am so happy that he sees the value of house call cat grooming.

 

Trouble holding cat for claw trim?

I enjoy the challenge of claw trims.  Keeping the cat still can be a game of skill and imagination!  It’s hard to be more clever than a cat when it comes to keeping them from getting away during a claw trimming session.

Some gentle restraint techniques I’ve used:

No restraint. Just put the cat on a counter and trim the claws. Yay!

Hold the cat in my lap with their belly facing up, just like you’d hold a baby.

Wrap kitty up like a burrito in a big towel, pulling out the paw that I need.

Put cat on the counter, slide cat’s body up against mine so she is snug, and trim claws.

Any of the above, plus a snap-on E collar.

Sit on the floor on my knees, with kitty between my knees. Face a wall so kitty can’t run off.

Lay kitty on side with my forearm resting gently but firmly on their shoulders.  Trim the claws I can reach. Turn kitty onto other side and repeat.

Cats are flexible. As long as you don’t put them in uncomfortable positions, you can try different ways of holding them until you find the one that works.  Remember that trimming claws only takes a minute or so, so even if kitty isn’t thrilled, they are only one minute away from treats, praise and play time.  Not a bad deal!

Claw trimmer and cat's claw
Cat on my lap.

Butt shaves for kitties

I’m going to get special visitors due to this headline, but a butt is a butt.

Some kitties get messy. When long-haired cats drag a poopy rear around your home, you get an unsanitary situation. Kitty isn’t thrilled to be messy.  We want our cats to be happy, happy, happy, so let’s help them out.

Owners can usually manage to clean kitty’s rear with paper towels or pet wet wipes.  I suggest you do that as soon as possible for the sake of your home’s hygiene. If you wait for a groomer, you might wind up waiting too long, because groomers don’t always have appointments. So dive in and give it a shot!

What I can do is shave or trim the fur in the nether region. Shaving takes about 30 seconds, so not a big deal time-wise. Cats generally don’t want anyone messing with the rear, but this is so quick that they get over it fast.  Just have me over every so often to shave. You’ll never have to deal with poopy-bottom syndrome again. Woo hoo!

No more hairballs

Throwing up hairballs isn’t natural. If cats still lived outdoors, shedded fur would be blown off or pulled off. In the home, fur detaches, gets licked into the throat and is either vomited out, or accumulates enough to create an obstruction if it doesn’t pass through the body.  Everyone has time for 15 seconds of brushing a day. For a short-haired cat, 15 seconds can mean the difference between hairballs and no hairballs. The volume of shedding fur usually increases dramatically in spring and fall.

Love glove mitt briskly stroking fur.
Love Glove mitt briskly stroking fur. Cats enjoy this.
After 3 seconds.
After 3 seconds brushing my cat Emma.
After a few more seconds . . .
After a few more seconds . . .
Done for the day. 15 seconds of brushing.
Done for the day. 15 seconds of brushing.

To buy the grooming mitt – Four Paws Purple Love Glove Cat Grooming Mitt

Lush new fur coats now in season for your cat.

Longer days and less sunlight mean it’s time to change fur coats. Your cat does not need to have a winter fur coat delivered from the fur vault. Their coat change is “do-it-yourself.”

Telltale signs that the feline coat change is underway . . .

Tufts of dull-looking fur poking out here and there.

More strands of fur decorating your sofa.

Increased puffiness of coat.

Increased licking and grooming, followed by increased fur balls on the carpet.

If your cat is shedding more, a grooming session will keep that fur under control. In nature, your cat would frolic and scamper through bushes and grass. Excess fur would be snagged on branches. Since cats now live indoors, we have to help them get rid of extra fur.

To buy tools for deshedding:

Four Paws Purple Love Glove Cat Grooming Mitt

Evolution W6110 Grooming Undercoat Rake with Rotating Teeth, Double Row

Andis Pet 7-1/2-Inch Steel Comb (65730)

Cat Claw Growing into Pad? Ingrown Cat Nail?

How do you survive in a world of predators and prey? Hide weakness. Look normal. Act healthy. No matter what.

This is your cat’s code of survival. They don’t have to think about it. They do it automatically.

You look at your cat’s claw and see something that looks weird. You look closer. Wait . . . what? Why is the claw so fat? It’s growing into the paw pad! Oh no! Oh wow! You quickly check the other claws, heart beating. You love your cat. Your cat looked normal, nothing unusual about her behavior, and now this?! You wonder, “Is my cat in pain? This is awful.”

What now?

1. If you usually trim your cat’s claws, you can try to cut the part of the claw that is exposed. You need good lighting. If the claw is deeply embedded, there may be blood.  To prevent infection, keep the claw as clean as possible. Ask your veterinarian how to care for the paw.

OR . . .

2. You can take your cat to your veterinarian.

OR . . .

3. I can trim the claw, BUT if the claw was embedded, you MUST take your cat to the veterinarian or talk to your veterinarian ASAP.  I am a groomer, not a doctor. I can only care for the outside of a cat, not the inside. I am not trained to prevent or treat possible infections. Graduating from grooming school is NOT the equivalent of earning a Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine, right?

What next?

1. Trim your cat’s claws at least every 4-6 weeks. If you can’t do it, we will set up a schedule. It only takes 15 minutes for a claw trimming visit, as long as the cat is relaxed. For a nervous/angry/wiggly cat, the claw trimming is the easy part. Picking up and restraining the cat is the hard part. Cats that bite or scratch may be calmer at a veterinary clinic.  Some cats “freeze” in a clinic, while they try to figure out what to do next. Or not. With cats you never know. It’s worth a try if house call claw trims don’t work out.

Good luck. Ingrown claws can be found on cats owned by even the most loving people. Don’t worry about it. Don’t feel guilty. Just fix it, fast.

The claw trimmer I use is small, but you can use a bigger one or a human nail clipper if that is easier for you.

To buy:  Four Paws Magic Coat Cat Claw Clipper

If your cat doesn’t use a scratching post, the sheath covering the claw might stay on instead of being sloughed off.

The stylish cat scratcher lounge. I own one. So do six of my clients.

PetFusion Ultimate Cat Scratcher Lounge (Walnut Brown)