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Dr. Gary
Dr. Gary, Cat Veterinarian
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 17385
Experience:  DVM, Emergency Veterinarian, BS (Physiology)
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I need to trim and remove fur balls from my 18 year old cat.

Customer Question

I need to trim and remove fur balls from my 18 year old cat. When I try to comb her she hisses, tries to bite me and urinates on me. She no longer gets shots since she lives and stays in our homes. She is not around any other animals.
Is there any way I can sedate her, without harming her, so I can remove the hair balls?
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Cat Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Gary replied 5 years ago.
Hello,

I know this can be quite the ordeal for both you and the cat. You have a couple options.

1. You could take her to a groomer or vet clinic and have them shave her down and give her a lion cut. Basically clipping the entire body and leaving the head, feet and tail. It actually doesn't look as bad as it sounds.

2. There are really not any safe over the counter sedatives for cats. The one medication you could try is Benadryl as it has sedation as a side effect. You can give it at 1 mg/lb and see if that helps. One thing I'd get rid of is the scissors. You're just asking for a laceration if you use scissors. Use electric clippers and a brush/ comb. It's not going to be pretty, but it'll be functional. You can also try wrapping her in a towel so that she can't rake you with the back feet.

If the Benadryl does not get the sedation needed, then talk to your vet about getting some sedatives to give her. Acepromazine or Valium would be my first choices.

I hope this helps, let me know if you have any other questions.

Dr. Gary, Cat Veterinarian
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 17385
Experience: DVM, Emergency Veterinarian, BS (Physiology)
Dr. Gary and 3 other Cat Veterinary Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
I appreciate your response. I was considering Benadryl but didn't know the amount. Since Pepper has not been to a vet in 5 years, is healthy, and not around other animals most groomers wouldn't accept her. Our vet said not to continue her shots since she is not exposed to the outside world.
She is a picky eater, but not overweight nor too thin. Her teeth are in excellent condition since she primarily eats dry food. I mention this because it may be difficult to administer the Benadryl without forcing her to swallow the portion of a tablet, but I will try once I've weighed her. I am guessing 7 pounds.
I have been giving her Vasoline every night. She discovered this craving while I was using vasoline one evening. She doesn't eat much. Is this a problem? She's no longer coughing up fur balls. Pehaps that is due to the vasoline or maybe she's not grooming herself as she once did.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
I appreciate your response. I was considering Benadryl but didn't know the amount. Since Pepper has not been to a vet in 5 years, is healthy, and not around other animals most groomers wouldn't accept her. Our vet said not to continue her shots since she is not exposed to the outside world.
She is a picky eater, but not overweight nor too thin. Her teeth are in excellent condition since she primarily eats dry food. I mention this because it may be difficult to administer the Benadryl without forcing her to swallow the portion of a tablet, but I will try once I've weighed her. I am guessing 7 pounds.
I have been giving her Vasoline every night. She discovered this craving while I was using vasoline one evening. She doesn't eat much. Is this a problem? She's no longer coughing up fur balls. Pehaps that is due to the vasoline or maybe she's not grooming herself as she once did.
Expert:  Dr. Gary replied 5 years ago.
The vasolene is not good for her, but in very small amounts it shouldn't hurt. You would be better off using Laxatone or one of the other commercial products.

If she is ~ 7 pounds then you could go with 1/2 teaspoon of the childrens liquid benadryl as it's 12.5 mg/teaspoon.

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Thanks for the poundage explaination. I'll get some liquid Benadryl today.
Pepper has taken to 'catter walling' during the night. She particularly likes 2:00am and 4:30am to do indepth yawliing. I tried ignoring it-- she got louder. I now tell her "I hear you and it's time to go to bed." She quiets and shortly she stops.
She didn't do this when our dog was alive. The dog died 3 years ago. Pepper's personality changed and now she is quite demanding and persistent.
I know cat's make some noise at night, being nocturnal. Now she's taken to getting on my chest and slapping me with her tail to wake me up. Then is when I feel those horrendous hair balls.
Are these painful for her?
Expert:  Dr. Gary replied 5 years ago.
Yes they're uncomfortable as they will pull at the skin underneath. It sounds like the vocalizing at night is more of an old age behavioral change than pain response. Once you get her clipped down you'll know for sure.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Thanks. We've set up Tues. for our "cat fur ball remover day."
I appreciate your info on the "catter walling." I think she's complaining. It actually sounds as if she saying to words. "No" and "Mom." My husband thinks she's saying "no" because he calls out "NO!" when she starts out yawling. The next cat call is for "Mom." I tell her it's alright and come to bed. She does.
My daughter-in-law suggested I have a heart to heart talk explaining she could cry out before I went to bed and after I get up. Believe it or not that generally works. Now she's figured out she can wake me and start in again. Amazing. I look over much of her pecularities since she is 18. My other two cats lived to be 21 and 1/2 (calico) and a silver Persian 18 and 1/2 years. So I'm used to long lived cats. She's the most tempermental.
Thank you again so much for your help. We've got most of everything gathered and prepared for tomorrow.
Expert:  Dr. Gary replied 5 years ago.
You're very welcome, good luck with the little fur ball!

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DVM, Emergency Veterinarian, BS (Physiology)