Housecats are homebodies. It’s in their name, after all. Even if you’re parent to a cat that will venture out of doors, a trip in a motor vehicle can take a team just to get them into their travel carrier. And if they get a whiff that the final destination is the groomer, you might need to call search and rescue just to find them!
In short, taking your cat to the groomer can be mentally and physically stressful for both cat and owner. But here are a few things you can do to ease the stress. Metaphorically (and potentially physically).
- Take your cat for non-grooming-related trips
In most cases, the only times a cat takes rides in the car, it’s for a not-so-great (from his or her standpoint) reason: trips to the Vet, or an evening away from their favorite humans, going to the Cat Groomer. So take the occasional chance to mix it up and go for rides for good reasons. Take a spin round the neighborhood and back home, followed by a treat. Take them to the park (if he or she is into that sort of thing). The point here is to make your little friend not freak out every time you grab your keys or that dreaded carrier.
- Make the travel carrier a preferred hangout spot
This works on the same principle as those “fun” car trips. If you can help your kitty associate the carrier with good things, like toys or treats or just hanging out, it won’t take three people wearing leather gloves to get them into it. This includes getting the right kind of crate. Make sure it’s big enough that the cat can fully stand and stretch. Grab a blanket that smells like kitty’s favorite people and put it in there with them. Make sure the door to the crate is handy; if he or she does put up a struggle, you want a big enough opening that you don’t have to worry about squeezing an angry cat through it. Consider a top-loader for this same reason.
Once your cat is comfortable in their crate, it’ll feel like a safe space on the ride to the appointment. So take some time in advance to create these good feelings. Your cat will appreciate it for more than just road trips.
- Leave the crate closed until safe and sound
It may be tempting to take your buddy out of the crate while in the waiting room, either for comfort snuggles or just to show him or her off to others, but this is definitely not a good idea! You never know how a stressed cat will react to sudden freedom — especially if there are other animals or animals smells around — so make sure to leave the cat in the cozy crate until you’re safely in the exam room where Kitty can’t run off or hurt itself or others.
- Get used to being touched, manipulated, etc.
Even the gentlest Cat Groomer is going to poke and prod your cat in ways that he or she isn’t used to being poked or prodded. By the time the groomer starts the work, we’ve had — at minimum — a stressful journey. Your cat is already on edge, and now here comes a stranger clipping their nails and brushing them out. Not their average day!
You can make it less stressful by being proactive at home with their grooming. Obviously, you can’t ever fully replicate a trip to the groomer. But you can get Kitty used to being “handled” in similar ways. Regularly checking its teeth, paws, weight and skin is something that can ward off problems in the future, as well.
Regular brushing at home not only gets your cat used to being groomed, but significantly cuts down on the amount of brushing (or even shaving) done at the groomer. Making their trips to the groomer less stressful in many ways!
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