Grooming Sensitive Areas

Nick D sent this question in through our Facebook page.  Nick writes:

My cat has two golf ball sized areas of matted hair on her rump area. She gets very nasty if I get anywhere near them with a comb. Her stress level goes thru the roof if I take her to the vet so I don’t want to put her through that. Do you have any suggestions as to how I can remove them without causing her a lot of stress? She’s close to 11 yrs old.

Nick, most cats can be sensitive about being touched in certain areas.  Each cat is different, of course, but many take issue with having their hind quarters handled.  Since you clearly need to groom her there, it's better to take the long term approach and desensitize her to that kind of touch.

It's a fairly simple process of association.  You want your cat to associate good things with being handled there.  And what's the best thing of all?  Treats!  Over a period of a couple of weeks, you should touch her hindquarters as you feed her a couple of her favorite treats.  Don't push it.  Start slowly with just a casual touch and see if you can work up to the amount of handling you'll need to do in order to groom her there.  Toward the end of the process, also have the grooming tools on hand so she associates her happy treat time with those as well.  You should be able to groom her eventually, though the amount of time needed will vary from cat to cat.  Be patient.

If plan A doesn't work, plan B would be to wrap her in a towel like a kitty burrito, with her hind quarter exposed for grooming.  While this will produce some stress, it certainly won't be as much as a vet visit or fighting with her.