Grooming tools for anxious cats

Grooming bags and sedatives can keep your cat’s anxiety under control. Check out this guide to learn more.

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There may be days when you groom your cat yourself, which can be extra challenging if you have an anxious cat. Fortunately, there are some grooming tools that can keep your cat calm and make the task less stressful for both you and your feline. 

Putting together a grooming kit for an anxious cat isn’t as hard as it sounds. You’ll need a good cat grooming bag and vet-approved cat sedatives for grooming. Here are tips and options to consider when choosing a cat grooming bag or cat sedative. 

Cat grooming bags

Even the calmest cat can express their dislike for bathing, having their fur trimmed or shaved, or their paw-knives clipped from time to time. Like most products, cat grooming bath bags come in a huge selection, so find one that fits your cat to keep it comfortable and safe while grooming.

Things to consider when choosing a cat grooming bag

cat bag buckle and zipper

The right grooming bag can keep your cat comfy and unable to escape or use its claws on you or its groomer. Consider the following features when choosing a suitable cat bag for your pet.

1. Bag size

cat with measuring tape

A simple rule is to ensure that the grooming bag is neither too tight nor too loose for your feline. You can go to a pet supply store with your cat and try the bags there.

If ordering online, measure your cat from the base of its neck to the tip of its tail. Also, measure the widest part of your cat’s back. Find a bag with dimensions slightly bigger than these measurements. 

A cat bag that’s a tad larger should cover your cat from the neck down but still allow some wiggle room. 

2. Ease of use

Find a bag with enough openings for easy access. The openings should be large enough so you can work on your cat’s hindquarters while your cat is in the bag (pun intended). The bag should be easy to open and spread out, and the edges shouldn’t close upon themselves as you prepare the bag.

3. Cat bag design and materials

The bag should have openings in both the front and rear. A cat bag would have zippers or drawstrings, but you can find a bag that has a velcro collar at the neck. Velcro can better prevent snagging your cat’s fur while you have them groomed at home

As for the materials, cat bags usually come in polyester or mesh fabric. If you want the option of bathing your cat, get a bag that’s made of mesh to allow water and pet shampoo to pass. You may also want a mesh bag if you live in hot weather and your cat has a thick coat. 

Some bags will have added features like:

  • A mesh hood to protect your cat’s head while bathing

  • Carrying handles

  • Pockets or pouches for storing grooming tools

  • Accessories like combs, massage gloves, and claw clippers

Cat sedatives

Option 1: Sedative medications

owner giving cat sedative to cat

When the anxiety is severe, you can try giving a cat sedative for grooming. Consult your vet on the proper dosage and possible side effects before administering these cat sedatives:

  • Acepromazine - A sedative used on cats and other animals

  • Benzodiazepine - A common cat sedative effective against anxiety. Don’t use this if your cat has liver or kidney issues; Side effects may include sleeplessness and disorientation.

  • Chlorpheniramine - A sedative used for cats and other animals; It’s also an antihistamine that can suppress allergies.

  • Gabapentin - Used to treat feline anxiety and chronic pain 

  • SARI - Serotonin receptor antagonists; These provide fast and effective anxiety relief for cats but can cause dizziness and disorientation. 

Note: You may need a prescription from a veterinarian to obtain some of these cat sedatives.  

Option 2: Natural herbs

fluffy cat sniffing dried catnip

If you prefer not to use sedatives, natural herbs are good alternatives. Natural cat sedatives may also be helpful when you leave your cat with a cat sitter or at a cat boarding facility

You can use valerian, catnip, chamomile, or passionflower. Ask a vet how to administer them.

Option 3: Non-medication sedation methods

woman calming her cat with a towel wrap

There are other non-medication methods to calm your cat before grooming, and these include: 

  • Synthetic pheromones - These mimic the natural secretions cats use to mark their territory. Synthetic pheromones also reduce anxiety-related behaviours like scratching and biting.

  • Food supplements - Anxitane and zylkene are food supplements you can give your cat to remedy any chemical imbalance that can cause stress.

  • Body wraps - These can be a towel wrap or a Thundershirt, which wraps around your cat’s body and apply gentle pressure for a calming effect.

  • Bach’s Rescue Remedy - Cherry plum, clematis, rock rose, impatiens, and Star of Bethlehem essences reduce cat anxiety. Place a few drops in your cat’s water or wet food.

Also read: Cat Care 101 - Tips for grooming your cat at home, long-haired cat grooming, house training, and more.

A comfy kitty is a happy kitty

Sure, you can groom your kitty at home. But if you don’t have the time or adequate skills, don’t worry – you can hire a Tasker to provide the care your cat needs. A cat grooming service is a convenient and safe alternative to doing things yourself. Post a task on Airtasker and hire an expert cat groomer today!

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FAQs on cat grooming tools

You can sedate your cat when they won’t cooperate during a grooming session. Some cats may even hide in inaccessible places, so that can waste a lot of time if you’ve hired a groomer! Using cat sedatives is also helpful in keeping your cat calm and preventing them from hurting anyone who tries to groom them.

Your cat can develop serious health issues without regular grooming. If your cat is long-haired, its coat can become tangled and matted, then develop painful skin irritations that can get infected. If your cat’s claws become too long, these can curl back into their paw pads and cause intense pain. Although your cat can groom itself, you should still give your cat extra grooming help from time to time.

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