How to Sedate a Cat for Grooming

If you've ever tried to groom mats out of an uncooperative cat, then you understand just a bit of what professional groomers face. Cats can be very particular about how they like to be touched, and some cats don't appreciate the fact that a professional grooming is actually good for their health. In some cases, it may be less stressful for everyone involved if you sedate your cat for grooming, but this isn't a decision to make lightly.

groomer trimming cat
How to Sedate a Cat for Grooming
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Grooming: A health necessity

Cats are known for being excellent self-groomers, but there are times when cats need a little help, too. If a cat becomes infested with fleas, then a bath and a session with a flea comb may be necessary. Senior cats may need grooming help as they age and are less focused on self-grooming. Obese cats also tend to need grooming assistance, since they can't easily reach their entire bodies during grooming sessions.

Green Acres Kennel Shop notes that long-haired cats need regular grooming in order to prevent them from developing matted hair. These mats often occur on a cat's backside and underside. Some cats need to be groomed every four to eight weeks, while other cats may never need to be professionally groomed. The necessity and frequency of grooming will really depend on your cat, her breed, her coat type, and her personal grooming habits.

Training a cat for grooming

Ideally, it is best to avoid having to sedate a cat for grooming. When you train a cat to accept being groomed, sedation may not be necessary at all, especially since it usually isn't necessary to bathe cats as part of the grooming process.

Green Acres Kennel Shop recommends that you start training your cat to be groomed when your cat is a kitten, if possible. Start by brushing your kitten for short periods of time, then offer some playtime or treats to create a positive association with being groomed. Gradually increase the length of the grooming sessions, and be sure to handle your kitten's paws so that he gets used to nail trims, too. Spending just a few minutes per day on this may mean that you never have to sedate a cat to cut nails. Just be sure to always end the session with something positive for your cat, like some treats.

Cat sedative for grooming

In some cases, you may need cat tranquilizers for grooming. Maybe you have an older cat who was never introduced to grooming, or maybe your cat is unusually matted and will be too stressed or anxious to tolerate the grooming session. In these cases, sedating your cat can help to keep her safe, while also making the grooming less stressful.

Mill House Veterinary & Surgical Hospital explains that sedation helps to calm a cat's central nervous system, causing the cat to go to sleep. Many people assume that a cat sedative for grooming is safer than anesthesia, but that isn't always true. It's more difficult to monitor a sedated cat's breathing, so if a cat has known respiratory issues, anesthesia may actually be a safer option. Both drugs stay in a cat's system for a while, so careful monitoring is essential.

According to Best Cat Carriers, sedatives may be administered in a number of different ways. Your vet may choose to administer some common sedatives like Acepromazine and Diazepam via an injection. Oral sedatives such as Alprazolam and Benzodiazepine can be administered orally in a pill form. The exact dosage will depend on the sedative being used and your cat's weight.

Sedating your cat for grooming

If you need to sedate a cat for grooming, then it's best to have your cat groomed at the vet's office. This allows careful monitoring of your cat's condition, and in case your cat does have an adverse reaction to a sedative, your vet will be both prepared and equipped to deal with the situation.

Before your vet administers a sedative to your cat, he will perform a thorough physical examination of your cat. He will review any past medical history and look for issues that could indicate risks with sedating your cat. If your cat is deemed healthy for sedation, your vet will prescribe a sedative that he feels is best for the situation and for your cat's health. Once the sedative is administered, your cat will be groomed and monitored as she recovers.