Trimming Gus

I think I might have scared some of Gus’ fans the other day when  I posted a picture of him with a lion cut.  Actually that picture was from the summer of 2010, which was his last cut.  The problem is that he is so cranky that the vets require him to be drugged to do it, which isn’t something I take lightly.  The last time he was under for another operation they didn’t have the time to do it, and he is getting pretty long.

The problem is that he gets mats and can’t groom them out himself. And he is very impatient at having them cut out by hand, or presumably with clippers.  I recently bought my own clippers to find out how bad he is.  And today I tried it out in earnest.

The result?  Mixed.  He wasn’t that much more annoyed or scared of the clippers than scissors, and it is a lot easier to use the clippers because I can use one hand to hold him in place.  I have to use both hands with scissors to avoid poking him when he moves.  I did get one big mat on his hip off, which is something.

It is a lot like giving him a bath.  The problem isn’t the water – he will sit under the faucet with it pouring over his back to do a rinse with no problem.  The being confined and turned over and prodded gets him pretty mad pretty fast.

I’m still working on how to actually cut well with the clippers – I did a little practice on my arm to get the angle. The tool has attachments to supposedly cut to a length, but for mats it looks like you have to give up with those and gnaw it out.  Maybe when I get the mats out I can shorten the overall coat length with those.

After getting my lump of fur, I decided to sweeten the pot with some catnip in the little cat mat. Maybe with enough bribery I can get him to ask for a clipping.

Maybe not. At any rate, he seemed to de-grumpify in an acceptable amount of time and get back to normal.

About Oldcat

Engineer with Cats
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18 Responses to Trimming Gus

  1. Too bad he doesn’t like to be combed on a regular basis. Mom Paula is slowly getting me used to being combed.

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    • Oldcat says:

      I have been trying to do more there, but with the mats the combing sticks and catches and gets him upset as well. I have cleared some hair over the last few weeks that way, which helps with hairballs. If I can get the mats, then maybe combing won’t be such a chore and I can get ahead of the game. Or, I will give up and get a lion cut, which seems to be good for almost a year.

      Calla is ok with combing or brushing if you can get hold of her first. She will stand on my lap and let herself be brushed for a good while, The belly and underarms are harder, as she doesn’t like being on her back.

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  2. kimkiminy says:

    You’re smart to not take the sedation lightly. My Kabuki, who had epilepsy, was on phenobarbital. When I took him in for a teeth cleaning, I fully informed them of this fact: what dosage, how often, etc. When I called to find out if he was ready to go home, they said no, because he’d not come out of it yet. Had to get him the next morning, making me late for work. Poor little dude was like a drunken sailor, weaving about… NEVER AGAIN.

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    • Oldcat says:

      Luckily for me, Gus isn’t on anything day to day to get a synergetic reaction like that, but in any time you are sedated into unconsciousness there are risks that I don’t think are justified for just a haircut.

      So far my vets have been very good, but the Feliway problems last year tells me that even simple things can have unexpected effects.

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  3. littlemiao says:

    I totally understand your frustration with grooming. We have a couple kitties who mat so easily and get so upset when we try to groom them regularly. When mats develop, it is just a nightmare. It is usually in the belly area by their legs that they get mats so I am sure they can’t be comfortable. Poor kitties – the price they pay for a beautiful coat!

    Catnip generally improves every situation.

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  4. I wasn’t scared by Gus’ photo – just a little embarrassed for him. None of us look as good naked as we do with our fur coats!

    Your cats have REALLY thick coats, and it’s hard to keep mats out of those even if they love to be brushed. I commend you for attempting the clippers on your own. My advice is to take baby steps – a tiny bit of clipping, then a treat (for both of you!) and rest, and then a tiny bit more of the clipping, repeat as needed… Hopefully you get get the mats out without any bloodshed!

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    • P.S. Thank you for answering my question on whether or not my skin has spots. A picture is worth a thousand words. 🙂

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    • Oldcat says:

      It doesn’t take long to go from bare, to shar-pei, to velvet and so on. So there’s that, if you ever get shaved yourself for, say, medical reasons. And even a naked cat is still a cat and unashamed of pretty much anything.

      Your plan pretty much matches what I was thinking, except with more treats.

      Now unless I become an artist with the clippers, I will have Calla done professionally. You can see her after her latest cut in the main title picture right under “ThreeCatYard” – trimmed to an inch and a half long all over rather than shaved. She isn’t nearly as hard a case as Gus.

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  5. Lurkertype says:

    I too was embarrassed for Gus. He just didn’t look quite as majestic.

    I hope Grumpy Gus will trade catnip for clipping.

    We had an old cat with fur like Gus’, but luckily he liked being brushed and didn’t mind on the rare occasions we had to cut a mat out. He also didn’t care for anesthesia — he’d refuse to lie down and sleep after he came home, and insisted on trying to keep up his usual routines. Inevitably, he’d sit down, in upright cat position, and then slooooooooooowly, his head would sink forward and down till his nose was in the carpet, feet and butt in the same place as before.

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    • Oldcat says:

      That was a day or so after dental surgery, and he still had a painkiller pack on. So he’s in about that same situation as your droopy fellow.

      I have some shots from his cut before that show him a little better even right after a cut. I also have some bad hair shots of Julius, and I’ve posted some of Calpurnia after her big shave. Seems haircuts are a popular topic!

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  6. nadbugs says:

    Bugs: I bow to all of you. This is a problem I didn’t know about. And if I didn’t know about it, you just know my Bean didn’t know about it, for there are whole worlds of stuff she doesn’t know she doesn’t know (I believe she’s happy in her ignorance). I take my cat off to all of you. For I am sleek and short-haired. I am The Bugs. And for the record? I need to bite Kabuki’s vet.

    Bean: I didn’t know about this problem in cats! I mean, Katnip Lounge wrote about it a while back, but with her usual flair and humor; didn’t see it as serious there. But I myself have hair down to my waist, and heaven help me if I don’t braid it before going to bed. I totally empathize with Gus (as usual). And so am extremely relieved to see you’re making progress with the clippers; he looks great in these pics and at least moderately OK-happy. Let’s hear it for the nip. And I have heard about sedating cats to clean their teeth. I realize that’s a serious health issue — but I vigorously object to anesthetizing for it (let alone for clipping)! Hoping that dental treats and a seriously high-tech homemade diet will obviate the issue? We’re going to the vet tomorrow, so we’ll see how we’re doing . . . .

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  7. deddlebugs says:

    My dad’s cat KC short for Krazy Cat, has the same fur problem and does not like being brushed. One time when I was visiting, he jumped on to my lap wanting to be petted. We had just finished dinner and I was chewing on a toothpick. I felt a knot of matted hair and went to work on it using the toothpick. Holding the mat firmly between my thumb and forefinger of my left hand, I started picking at the out edge of the mat with the toothpick in my right hand. He laid there and let me pick at it and others for a good hour before he had, had enough! I got a lot of mats out of him. My dad and his wife were amazed. I think he allowed this because I was not pulling on his skin and it was a relaxing experience for both of us. During the rest of my visit, it became an evening thing for him and me. Now my dad’s wife does it and he is pretty much mat free

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    • Oldcat says:

      I’ll have to try that.

      I’ve used a small nail scissors to cut mats out, but trying to work my fingers down below it for safety might tug on the skin enough to irritate him.

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  8. Pingback: Caturday Violated | catself

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