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Avoiding Sedation

Posted on March 4, 2015 at 9:05 AM

Over the years, veterinary medicine has made vast improvements in both anesthetic medication and sedation techniques to continue to reduce health risks involved with sedating your pet. That said, far too many cats are unnecessarily sedated to be groomed. Health risks are still involved, even as the veterinary industry works to reduce those risks, and it can be stressful for a cat to experience that diminished sense of awareness and then wake up without its full coat.


One such cat who no longer has to face those risks is Tigger. He is an older Domestic Shorthair whose owner likes to have him in a lion cut to reduce shedding and improve his attitude. I can attest that Tigger does, in fact, like to prance and strut as soon as his groom is finished, and he will continue to be noticeably more outgoing until his hair has grown back – about 10 weeks later.




I first met Tigger while grooming at a veterinary clinic here in Birmingham. He was quite upset upon his arrival the morning of his appointment. I was told that being placed in a carrier caused a great deal of stress to him and his owner. Meowing the entire drive over certainly didn’t help to calm his nerves, either. Because he was already so distraught, I knew before beginning that he would become too stressed to complete his groom. I talked to his mother about our options, and she ultimately decided to sedate him so that he could receive a lion cut. It was a difficult decision for her, but she felt that the relief of a lion cut outweighed the stress and risk of sedation.



A few months later, Tigger eventually became one of my very first house call appointments. His mother had very little faith that I could successfully groom him without the use of sedatives and without serious injury to me or to Tigger. Because he was able to stay in a familiar environment, however, I was able to complete his groom with very little stress or fussing from him. The best part was that as soon as he was finished, he was able to immediately return to his normal routine, which now involved showing off his new groom.




In order to keep his skin healthy and his coat maintained, Tigger needs to be groomed at least every 3 months (ideally between 8 and 10 weeks but no longer than 12 weeks). This is often enough to reduce shedding, to keep him feeling fabulous, and to teach him that the grooming process is nothing to fear. Could you imagine the stress of traveling and being sedated that often when it isn’t even medically necessary? It makes me worry about all the other cats that are sedated for grooms every day whose owners don’t realize that other options exist – options that will better meet their cat’s grooming needs without the health risks and stress of sedation.




Tigger’s owner no longer has to weigh the advantages of a lion cut against the disadvantages of sedation. Can you say the same?


P.S. Want a haircut but think the lion cut is too drastic? Get a comb cut instead! 

Categories: Cat Grooming, Lion Cuts

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