A cat has a good memory and may associate firm grooming with a negative experience.
It will react aggressively again when meeting the groomer or when the owner approaches it with a comb in hand.
The vocal warnings in themselves can send shivers down one’s spine. Some Chinchillas howl even when my hands are just resting on their bodies to reassure them. For difficult cats the lion cut (shaved all over apart from the head, paws and feet) is an option, but this can cause major distress for an aggressive cat and has to be done either under sedation on a regular basis, or at the very least under stress from the groomer.
Both solutions are likely to leave the cat quite traumatised.
A groomer can expect hissing and grumbling from some cats that dislike being handled.
However, there are a minority of cats that are extremely aggressive towards their owner and groomer when approached with a view to combing their fur and these are the ones I’d like to talk about now.
On the one hand, the cat must not get the upper hand and control the situation, especially when it’s coat is matted and the job needs to get done.
On the other hand, having to muzzle a cat and hold it down on a grooming table when it’s in ‘fight or flight’ mode doesn’t bode well for future positive grooming sessions .
She explained that Murphy didn’t like to be groomed and had several large matts on his tummy and around his private parts.
This aggressive reaction can stem from fear, a bad grooming experience in the past, dislike of being handled, fear of pain from a badly matted coat, through to phobias of the grooming process, or even fear of the groomer’s table, some which can resemble a vet’s table as does mine.
The way forward is a very difficult path for the groomer and one I find myself treading very carefully whenever presented with the scenario of an aggressive cat, especially one that needs to be de-matted.
Even with trimmed down nails damage can be done, when caught with a claw, and my hands came away with quite a few deep cuts!
I don’t like to wear leather protective gloves as this stops me from feeling where the mats are.