Help Your Cat Become Comfortable With Handling
Photo provided by Friskies Explorer PrincessMelisa.
Your cat may love being petted and held but for many cats, the thought of having their ears, paws, or other body parts touched is something to avoid at all costs. At some point though, your cat may need some ear, eye or oral medication. If you need to trim her nails, then it’s also crucial that she’s comfortable with having her paws held and the nails manipulated.
Let’s not wait until the day the veterinarian announces that kitty needs to have ear medication twice a day and you have nightmares about chasing your cat through the house, wrestling her to the floor and ending up with more medicine on YOU and in your cat’s ear. There’s a much easier way!
When kitty’s in a relaxed mood, start the session by petting her gently. Now, very gently touch her ear. Then go back to petting her in a favorite spot. Go back to touching her ear. Now pet her again in a spot she loves. Gradually work up to being able to hold her ear gently between your fingers. Depending on your cat, it may take several sessions to work up to this. Eventually, you want to be able to hold the ear as if you’re examining it.
You can do the same with the cat’s mouth. Pet her around the head and then gently rub the side of her face. In subsequent sessions you can hopefully work up to being able to raise her lip to examine her teeth. This will be helpful in the future so you’ll be able to brush her teeth and also give oral medication if needed. If you don’t want your fingers near her mouth you can use a baby toothbrush as a substitute.
Paw handling is also done through this method. Start by petting a paw. Work up to being able to hold the paw for a few seconds. If done gently, you’ll be able to eventually hold the paw and gently press on it to unsheathe the nails.
Food or treats can be used to help a reluctant cat be more accepting of the process. Every time you touch the ear, the mouth or the paw, offer a treat. Kitty will learn to make a positive emotional association with the process.
Does your cat mind being handled for medication?