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How to Calm a Cat for Grooming: 6 Expert Tips

Rachael Gerkensmeyer

By Rachael Gerkensmeyer

cat grooming in pet beauty salon

Cats are typically good at keeping themselves clean, but there are many good reasons to regularly spend time grooming your cat. First, it helps keep furballs to a minimum. Second, it can help keep your kitty from scratching up your furniture. Third, grooming can help keep flea infestations at bay.

Unfortunately, grooming a cat can be tough when the cat doesn’t want anything to do with the activity. So, what can be done to calm a cat before grooming so the process is more relaxing and less stressful for everyone involved? Here are six options to consider:

The 6 Tips for Grooming Your Cat

1.  Create a Calming Environment

persian cat grooming
Image Credit: slowmotiongli, Shutterstock
Necessary Tools/Materials None
Average Time Requirements 10 to 20 minutes
Difficulty Level Easy to moderate

One great way to calm your kitty before a grooming session is to create a calming, stress-free environment. If you choose the bathroom, turn the lights down low, and place a big fluffy towel on the counter or ground where you’ll do the grooming so your cat will be comfortable. Play relaxing music and get yourself centered. When you’re ready, bring your cat into the bathroom and shut the door, and then spend time cuddling together and getting into a calm state. Then, you should be ready to slowly start the grooming process.

2. Incorporate Pheromones

spraying on cat
Image Credit: Vaillery, Shutterstock
Necessary Tools/Materials Commercial cat pheromones
Average Time Requirements 5–10 minutes
Difficulty Level Easy

Cat pheromones can help naturally calm your cat so they are more accepting of getting groomed. The pheromones mimic the scent that a mother cat emits to their kittens to keep them feeling safe and calm. FELIWAY sells a pheromone diffuser that can cover up to 700 square feet of space. Just fill the diffuser, turn it on, and wait for 5 to 10 minutes for the pheromones to start wafting throughout the house. Start your grooming session after your cat shows signs of being calm and relaxed.

3. Utilize CBD Oil

Human giving CBD Oil to cat
Image Credit: Lightcube, Shutterstock
Necessary Tools/Materials Commercial CBD oil just for cats
Average Time Requirements 1 minute
Difficulty Level Easy

There are CBD oil products on the market made just for cats that are designed to help relieve stress and anxiety. Most come in a liquid form and with a dropper. You just put a drop or two of the oil in your cat’s food or water dish at mealtime and then wait a few minutes for the oil to take effect. You may need to utilize CBD oil daily to achieve the calmness necessary for a stress-free grooming session.

4. Wrap Up Kitty in a Towel

gray cat newly bathe
Image Credit: KDdesignphoto, Shutterstock
Necessary Tools/Materials A full-sized towel
Average Time Requirements 30 seconds
Difficulty Level Easy

Sometimes, all it takes to make your cat feel safe is lightly wrapping them in a fluffy towel right before you start grooming. Swaddling your kitty in a towel will get them to be still and to calm their nerves. You can keep the cat in the towel and groom one body part at a time so they stay snuggly throughout the process. However, the towel may not be necessary once you start grooming your cat. Just go with the flow and see how things unfold.

5. Work on Training Tactics

woman hang giving treat to a cat
Image Credit: StockSnap, Pixabay
Necessary Tools/Materials Training guide, clicker, misc.
Average Time Requirements 10 minutes to 1 hour daily
Difficulty Level Moderate to hard

Training can go a long way when it comes to helping your kitty feel less stressed out about being groomed. Start by teaching your cat to come and stay when you tell them to. Once they have that down, teach them how to behave during each part of the grooming process. When it’s time to brush them, tell them to lie down and show you their belly in exchange for a treat, etc. After a while, your kitty should know exactly what to do and how to behave during grooming sessions.

6. Consider Sedation

cat and vet
Image Credit: Stock-Asso, Shutterstock
Necessary Tools/Materials Prescription medication
Average Time Requirements 30 seconds to 1 minute
Difficulty Level Moderate

If your cat still does not want to cooperate with grooming and tends to get stressed during the process, consider sedating them before the grooming begins. You should always consult with your veterinarian first and utilize only the sedative medications that they prescribe to your kitty. Never use sedatives that are meant for humans. Be prepared for your cat to be extremely relaxed and calm for a while after grooming is complete. Sedation is always a little risky and stressful for pet owners, so it should be considered the last resort.

Choosing the Right Calming Option for Your Cat

What works for your cat depends on many things, such as temperament, personality, activity level, age, and health status. It’s a good idea to pick one option and try it. If it does not work well for you, move on to another option. Keep trying until you find something that works best. You may have to utilize more than one method to get the desired results. If all else fails, talk to your veterinarian about options like sedation.


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Keeping a cat calm during a grooming session isn’t always easy, so it’s nice to have a few options to fall back on that can help make the experience more enjoyable for you and your feline. Hopefully, you will find something that’s helpful the next time that you must hunker down for a grooming session.

Featured Image Credit: Studio Peace, Shutterstock

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