Tag Archives: cat grooming

closeup photo of gray cat

Latest Feline Research: Repetitive Treatment Syndrome (RTS)

Repetitive treatment syndrome is a term I coined to describe a cat’s extreme reaction to being restrained or handled. I have seen this in cats who have undergone long-term daily treatment for a condition. For students of cat behavior, veterinarians, vet techs, animal handlers and animal shelter staff, RTS is a useful term to know.

This condition they were treated for can be something common, like ringworm, diarrhea, or a cold — or it can be a life-threatening virus such as FIP. The feline treatment might be applying ointment to the ears, eyedrops to the eyes, cleansing the rear area, intramuscular injections and so on.

What does RTS look like in real life?

A cat I visited for years changed his behavior. Each visit is now a struggle. He hisses, hides, and fights to get out of my arms. In the beginning, he used to sit in my lap, seeming to enjoy the claw trim. He acts like a different cat.

What changed? Due to an eye condition, he must now be given eyedrops two times a day. I don’t know if his eyesight has been affected, but I assume that there is some difference in the way that he sees things.

grayscale photo of person holding tabby kitten
Photo by Tima Miroshnichenko on Pexels.com

This is what I mean by repetitive treatment. The treatment is given day after day, relentlessly. A cat who associated handling and gentle restraint with affection or play, now understandably associates it with strange, unpleasant or even painful experiences.

While their owner will be forgiven for such a violation of a cat’s personal space and dignity, or to put it more plainly, forgiven for causing discomfort, the infrequent visitor such as a groomer, is viewed with intense suspicion.

Unfortunately, I have no solution. Once a cat loses trust, the groomer will have more difficult task. Gabapentin can be given as a way to soothe the cat’s nerves.

The reason I bring this up is that reactions are something to consider when a cat is given repetitive treatments. There may be an aftereffect. Where possible, every effort should be made to make the treatment pleasant, even the treatment is merely wiping a cat’s rear. Treats, praise and playtime may help prevent RTS. Going to a Fear Free vet clinic might help too, since they focus on making treatments into pleasurable experiences.

#cat behavior, #cat anxiety, #cat grooming #cat medication #feline #cat aggression

Young Ragdoll

Sweet kitty about to be groomed by me during a housecall.

Grooming needs for this cat: trim claws, brush and comb fur, remove mats. Wiggly and vocal during grooming, but very sweet.

Pro cat groomer tip: Distract with treats while trimming claws.

To learn more about this fun and pretty cat breed, check out https://www.thesprucepets.com/ragdoll-cat-breed-profile-4583144

Kitten deshedding

What happens during my housecall cat grooming visit?

  1. I prepare my work area, often in the kitchen or bathroom, using the big towels you provided.
  2. You bring your cat to me.
  3. For bathing, deshedding or dematting visits, I assess your cat by quickly running a hand over and under his or her body. This tells me about coat condition and their reaction to handling.
  4. For claw trims, I wrap your cat in the towel, place an e-collar (cone) on the head, and begin the claw trim.
  5. If your cat tries to bite, struggles, howls, hisses, pants or kicks, I will either finish the claw trim or decide that it is not *safe to finish. *When cats struggle, it is easy to cut too much of the claw, causing bleeding and pain.
  6. If the cat is too upset for safe grooming, we will discuss options to get your cat the grooming they need.
  7. After the grooming, payment is made with cash, zelle or venmo. If the grooming was stopped due to the cat’s behavior, or if it never began due to cat hiding in inaccessible place, there is a $20 fee to cover subway/bus and time.
  8. After successful visits, we discuss how often your cat should be groomed, and schedule the next visit.
  9. The last step is treats and playtime. Always try to end on a happy note. Thank you!!