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  #1  
Old 10-08-2010, 11:52 AM
limegreen limegreen is offline
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What to sedate a cat with?

I agreed to help my college-age daughter out by fostering some cats that needed a home. One is long-haired, and severely matted. I can sweet talk her into letting me near her with a small sharp pair of scissors, but usually can only cut one small chunk off before she starts growling and running. I really don't want to take her to the vet and incur a lot of expense. Would a groomer give me a pill to make her sleepy so I could mow her? I don't want to knock her out, just loopy enough to lay still for about ten minutes. What would you do?
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  #2  
Old 10-08-2010, 12:00 PM
MissTake MissTake is online now
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I would suck it up and pay the $50ish to get her professionally groomed. My departed Bernie developed severe matting problems as she aged - her fur was fine and kinky and she couldn't bathe herself overly well. We could get some of it combed out here, but my one time trying to cut a mat out caused me to cut her. Sharp scissors and felines do NOT go together.
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  #3  
Old 10-08-2010, 12:04 PM
purplehorseshoe purplehorseshoe is offline
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I wouldn't fool around with chemical sedatives. Sometimes animals have bad reactions, and it seems an unnecessary risk to take with an animal you don't know well. (Groomers can and do sedate cats, but the cats stay in their care until the sedative wears off. I don't think they'll just send you home with a pill. Maybe, but I doubt it.)

Scissors will work to cut out the big mats, but what you'll really want to do is use clippers to give the kitteh a buzz cut. Just get rid of all the long fur, and let the cat start over. Also, you do run a very real risk of snipping the cat's skin with scissors, and clippers are a lot safer.

As to the "how" of the process: you'll want a second pair of hands. One person restrains kitteh, one person deals with the fur. Options for restraining kitteh include rolling the cat in a big towel (like a feline burrito) to keep the legs swaddled, or kneeling with your shins on the floor and squatting on the cat (where your body weight is all in your thighs on your heels - you're not squashing the cat, you're using your calves and thighs to physically hem it in).

Keep in mind that the entirety of the mats do not have to be dealt with at once. Break it up into sessions.


- purplehorseshoe, who's had two long-haired Maine Coons
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  #4  
Old 10-08-2010, 03:20 PM
Tom Tildrum Tom Tildrum is offline
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Whenever I seduce a cat, red wine works like a charm.

Oh, wait. Never mind.
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  #5  
Old 10-08-2010, 03:28 PM
yanceylebeef yanceylebeef is online now
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Hammer.

Seriously, our cat Bob is an outdoor cat and gets really severely matted. It's 50 sheckles well spent to take him to the vet and let them sedate and trim him. We do what we can, but he takes it for about five minutes with the scissors and clippers before he loses his mind.

Last edited by yanceylebeef; 10-08-2010 at 03:29 PM..
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  #6  
Old 10-08-2010, 03:34 PM
perfectparanoia perfectparanoia is offline
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I guess I'm spoiled. My longhaired beast lets me do what I need. (She crys about it but doesn't try to hurt you or get away.)

However, if she were truly scared and could become nasty, 50 bucks seems like the right amount.

Though (being a cheap person), I would probably keep a few pairs of scissors around and snip while giving lovies. (Pet, pet, pet, snip.) As long as I was making progress, I would eventually get all of it done.
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  #7  
Old 10-08-2010, 03:50 PM
SeaDragonTattoo SeaDragonTattoo is offline
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PLEASE Do not use scissors, ever!

A cat's skin cuts like butter, you will slice her up without even knowing it until it's far too late. Please, please, don't go anywhere near her with scissors. I can't even count how many wound repairs I've had to assist in because of well meaning people with scissors.

That said - my other question is what is meant by "foster"? Is this a formal foster program through a shelter? If not, you're not really fostering. If this is through a shelter, you should be able to arrange for the cat to be seen by shelter staff - hopefully clinic staff or a staff veterinarian - who can sedate and shave her down and then send her back to her foster home. If it's a tiny shelter with no vet or clinic staff, then they should have arrangements with area veterinarians who will do it for you at a discount. She should be updated on all her vaccines, too, if she's not already. It would be irresponsible of a shelter to send home fosters without rabies and "distemper" vaccines!

Thank you for trying your best to take care of this kitty, I hope she finds a permanent home soon, and if you do find a way to get the mats off, she may become a bit friendlier.
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  #8  
Old 10-08-2010, 06:41 PM
dzero dzero is offline
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Is catnip ever used? I know some cats don't react well to it and if it makes her feel disoriented, which it will, that might frighten her even more. So consider this a sort of off topic "just curious" question.
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  #9  
Old 10-08-2010, 07:40 PM
Turpentine Turpentine is offline
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Benedryl- the kind that comes in a little pink tablet. My dog gets seasonal contact dermatitis right around this time of year and the vet recommends 1 benedryl. It eases his itching immensely, but it also makes him drowsy. My dog is 35 pounds, so half a tablet or less would be sufficient for a cat. I've never noticed any side effects in my dog other than the drowsiness.
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  #10  
Old 10-08-2010, 10:09 PM
wheresmymind wheresmymind is offline
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I second the Benedryl, a friends cat had an allergic reaction and half a pill left her pretty darn "docile" all day. You could mess around with valium, xanax etc., but the cost and chances of you actually killing the cat would probably increase exponentially. You'd also likely be breaking some laws...
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  #11  
Old 10-08-2010, 11:43 PM
BigT BigT is online now
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My vet sedated my dog (with benedryl) to shave him and clip his nails. There was no way he was going to be able to do it otherwise.
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  #12  
Old 10-08-2010, 11:59 PM
moejoe moejoe is offline
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Maybe you can take it slowly. Brush the parts of her that are brushable and give her lots of calm attention while you're doing it until she gets used to the idea that grooming is pleasurable. From there you can move into handling the mats in small doses.

The thing about drugging a pet is that they don't understand that they've been drugged, so a frightened cat becomes a frightened confused cat who can't figure out why her body doesn't work right, and then here comes that lady with the scissors. eek city.
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  #13  
Old 10-09-2010, 03:23 AM
Terraplane Terraplane is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SeaDragonTattoo View Post
A cat's skin cuts like butter, you will slice her up without even knowing it until it's far too late. Please, please, don't go anywhere near her with scissors. I can't even count how many wound repairs I've had to assist in because of well meaning people with scissors.
Seconding this. Cats have really thin skin and you can go from snipping fur to slicing hide in a heartbeat. Especially if the cat is unhappy and squirmy. Please use clippers.
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  #14  
Old 10-09-2010, 07:52 PM
mikews99 mikews99 is offline
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My experience:

Wear a pair of ankle tube socks all day long, preferably inside some sneakers. Get them nice and stinky with your smell. At night, take them off and put them where this cats sleeps. Make sure she is actually sleeping on them so that her smell gets in them and so that she'll also get used to your smell. The next day, take one of the socks and pull it over her head. If she starts freaking out while you're trying to do this, hold her by the skin on the back of the neck while pulling on the sock. Make sure it completely covers her head and that she can't easily pull it off, but don't let it constrict around her neck. You may need to fold it over a bit to avoid this. At this point she'll do either one of two things: either lie perfectly still because now she can't see anything and doesn't know what to do; or she desperately stumbles about trying to get this awful thing off of her head right away.

If her reaction is the first one, go ahead and use some trimmers to get that matted hair off. You may only have a few minutes before she gets squirmy. If she does start squirming, you may be able to get her still again by holding her by the skin on the back of her neck. If not, pull off the sock, let her pretend to regain her dignity, then do this again in another hour, getting a little more matted hair each time.

If her reaction is the second one, you'll have to be a little more patient. Put her some place where she can't hurt herself stumbling about with the sock on. Eventually she'll get tired and lay down. Let here rest for a good bit, then pull the sock off, giving her plenty of head rubs afterward. Several hours later, do this all again. Eventually this will get old for her and she'll just lay there after you put the sock on. It may take several days to get to this point, so you will have to be patient doing this. You may now attempt to trim her.

If she starts freaking out from the noise of the trimmers, you have to take an extra step. Keep her in an enclosed area while she has the sock on, turn on the trimmers, and lay them down near her. Let her stumble about until she wears herself out and lies down. If she ends up too far from the turned on trimmers, move them closer to her until she starts getting tensed up, then lay them down again. and let them run for a while. Then turn them off, pull off the sock, give her head rubs. Like before, repeat this until she no longer reacts to the noise of the trimmers and you're able to lay them down right next to her. At this point you should be able to trim her matted hair without her going crazy.

Last edited by mikews99; 10-09-2010 at 07:54 PM.. Reason: Accidentally hit submit before finishing
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  #15  
Old 10-09-2010, 08:25 PM
CanvasShoes CanvasShoes is offline
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I just moved from AK to WA and the vet gave me sedatives for the plane ride down for both the cat and dog. The cat's worked well and no side effects and they weren't very expensive either.
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  #16  
Old 10-09-2010, 09:36 PM
moejoe moejoe is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mikews99 View Post
My experience:

Wear a pair of ankle tube socks all day long, preferably inside some sneakers. Get them nice and stinky with your smell. At night, take them off and put them where this cats sleeps. Make sure she is actually sleeping on them so that her smell gets in them and so that she'll also get used to your smell. The next day, take one of the socks and pull it over her head. If she starts freaking out while you're trying to do this, hold her by the skin on the back of the neck while pulling on the sock. Make sure it completely covers her head and that she can't easily pull it off, but don't let it constrict around her neck. You may need to fold it over a bit to avoid this. At this point she'll do either one of two things: either lie perfectly still because now she can't see anything and doesn't know what to do; or she desperately stumbles about trying to get this awful thing off of her head right away.

If her reaction is the first one, go ahead and use some trimmers to get that matted hair off. You may only have a few minutes before she gets squirmy. If she does start squirming, you may be able to get her still again by holding her by the skin on the back of her neck. If not, pull off the sock, let her pretend to regain her dignity, then do this again in another hour, getting a little more matted hair each time.

If her reaction is the second one, you'll have to be a little more patient. Put her some place where she can't hurt herself stumbling about with the sock on. Eventually she'll get tired and lay down. Let here rest for a good bit, then pull the sock off, giving her plenty of head rubs afterward. Several hours later, do this all again. Eventually this will get old for her and she'll just lay there after you put the sock on. It may take several days to get to this point, so you will have to be patient doing this. You may now attempt to trim her.

If she starts freaking out from the noise of the trimmers, you have to take an extra step. Keep her in an enclosed area while she has the sock on, turn on the trimmers, and lay them down near her. Let her stumble about until she wears herself out and lies down. If she ends up too far from the turned on trimmers, move them closer to her until she starts getting tensed up, then lay them down again. and let them run for a while. Then turn them off, pull off the sock, give her head rubs. Like before, repeat this until she no longer reacts to the noise of the trimmers and you're able to lay them down right next to her. At this point you should be able to trim her matted hair without her going crazy.
This is a sick joke...right?
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  #17  
Old 10-09-2010, 10:35 PM
phouka phouka is offline
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I have to vote against the Benadryl. I recently helped a friend move her six cats from Dallas to Seattle by car. The first day, we tried to sedate everyone. We got four of the six before giving up, and I lost half a pint of blood in the battle. One of the sedated cats was so sick, he drooled the entire time, until his coat was soaked. Poor guy was miserable.

The second morning, we gave up after one cat. Benadryl, for all that it looks like an innocent pink pill, has a seriously bitter taste, one that you would probably claw the face off of someone in revenge if it were given to you.

The sick cat, we gave Dramamine. The rest of them, we left as they were. They took the next two days in the car much better.

Pay the $50 to the groomer, and be prepared to tip generously. What they do is not the work of mortal men, but a higher calling.

(And those "pet friendly" hotels? Very clever people. In the whole room, there wasn't a single place for the cats to hide. Were they ever PISSED.)
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  #18  
Old 10-10-2010, 04:18 PM
mikews99 mikews99 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by moejoe View Post
This is a sick joke...right?
Cat muzzle: $8
Sock from my laundry: Free

Possible side effects of Benadryl: Diarrhea, vomiting, loss of appetite, lethargy, unconsciousness, serious adverse reactions in cats with liver damage or kidney disease.
Possible side effects of sock over head: Loss of dignity

I consider it extremely cruel to drug a cat just to make it easier for the owner to handle (the exception being an emergency condition where a cat needs to be sedated in order to render immediate aid). With a little bit of patience and care, almost all cats can be trained to be handled.

<judgemental>If you're not willing to make the extra effort to do as little harm to the cat as possible, then maybe you shouldn't have any cats.</judgemental>
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  #19  
Old 10-10-2010, 05:54 PM
limegreen limegreen is offline
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Thanks for all the advice.
This is not in any way an "official" foster. My daughter knew an elderly lady who was badly injured in a car accident. While she was in the hospital, her apartment burned. (I know, who broke the mirror?) The renter's insurance paid for the cats to be boarded at the vet's for two weeks, but that was it, and they refused to eat. So, through a process, I ended up with them until she gets better and back at a new place.
I have used Benadryl for my late pug's allergies, but it never affected her behavior (sleepiness or disorientation), so I never thought of it as a sedative. I have clippers, but this cat doesn't know me well, or trust me yet, so I guess I'll have to talk to a groomer about what it would take. She looks like a reject from a horror film right now, as there are places I've managed to trim, and others that are sticking out all over. Now I know why I've never had a long-haired cat.
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