How To Sedate A Cat For Grooming

How To Sedate A Cat For Grooming

If grooming time for your cat is much like a scene from a horror movie with no happy ending in sight, you may have to consider sedating your cat. This will help to reduce stress and keep your cat relaxed and calm during the entire grooming process.

How to sedate a cat for grooming

There are various ways to sedate a cat for grooming but extreme care and consultation with your vet is necessary if you opt for a method that requires medication. 

Here are some common ways to sedate a cat for grooming:

1. Use of sedative medications.

You can effectively sedate your cat before the grooming session with the use of over the counter sedatives.  However, you should seek the advice of your veterinarian before administering this type of sedatives. Make sure to ask your vet how far ahead of time should you give the medication before the actual grooming session. Discuss your options and choice of sedatives with your vet or better yet ask your vet for the best recommendations that he can give. 

Just some of the popular over the counter sedatives are the following:

  • Gabapentin – an anti-convulsant to treat chronic pain as well as anxiety in cats.
  • Chlorpheniramine – an antihistamine used for allergies and sedative for cats and other animals 
  • Benzodiazepine – a common sedative to treat anxiety, however, it has side effects like disorientation and sleeplessness. It’s also not highly advisable for pets with liver or kidney issues. 
  • Acepromazine – a tranquilizer used as a sedative for cats and other animals.
  • SARI’s or serotonin receptor antagonist and reuptake inhibitors – it can relieve anxiety quickly but may cause dizziness and disorientation. 

2. Use non-medication sedation methods

Aside from over the counter sedatives, there are also natural alternatives you may use to sedate your cat:

Trough the use of CBD oil. Try CBD oil (or favorite is Chill Paws), which helps many cats with anxiety, agression and other behavioral problems.

Through the use of synthetic pheromones. These synthetic pheromones mimic a cat’s pheromones and widely used to reduce stress-induced behavior in cats such as scratching, hiding, and being aggressive. It’s available in the form of collars, wipes, sprays, and plug-in diffusers like Feliway

Through the use of body wraps and towel wraps. Body wraps like Thundershirt are placed around a cat’s torso which applies gentle pressure and similar to swaddling an infant. It’s an effective way to reduce stress and anxiety in cats. A similar variation to a body wrap is a towel wrap.

Through the use of food supplements that combat anxiety. These food supplements such as Anxitane and  Zylkene help support a cat’s natural chemical balance to prevent it from being anxious or stressed.

Through the use of  Bach Rescue Remedy. The Bach Rescue Remedy is a homeopathic solution that contains five flower essences:  clematis, cherry plum, rock rose, impatiens, and Star of Bethlehem. It’s used to treat anxiety in cats and you can administer it to your pet cat by placing a few drops in her water bowl or in her wet food. 

Through the use of natural herbs. There are natural herbs that can effectively sedate your cat so that she’ll stay calm and relaxed during the grooming session. These herbs are chamomile, catnip, valerian, and passionflower. 

3. General anesthesia may be used but only in extreme cases. 

The use of general anesthesia is sometimes the best option to sedate a cat for grooming but only in extreme cases such as when a cat has extremely matted fur and when a cat has parasites or infected lacerations or injuries. General anesthesia may be done through gas inhalation, injection, or a combination of these two processes and performed by a licensed veterinarian. 

Reasons why your cat needs to be groomed

Regular pet grooming means you’re not only being a responsible pet parent but it’s also an essential way to show your love and care for your furry friend. Here are the common reasons why your cat needs to be groomed:

To eliminate your pet’s discomfort

Having matted fur, fleas, and long nails are discomforting for cats.  Brushing the fur and coat will give a refreshing feeling to your pet and will also pamper her because it’s like giving her a massage while removing dead hair and stimulating the growth of new hair.  This also goes for trimming the nails and bathing which eliminates discomfort and allows your cat to feel refreshed and comfortable. 

To prevent an invasion of ticks and fleas.

Giving your pet cat regular bath time helps prevent ticks and fleas and should there be a presence of these parasites it can be easily controlled with the help of regular baths as well as flea removers and sprays. 

To protect the paws and feet of your pet cat.

Regular nail trimming every 10 days or at least every two weeks is vital for cats because having overgrown nails causes discomfort and even health issues for the cat. Curved and overgrown can grow into the footpads and cause intense pain for your kitty and can also result in damage to household items and furniture.

To prevent ear infections.

Grooming time doesn’t only mean hair brushing, removal of matted fur, and nail trimming but it also includes regular ear cleaning. This ensures that your pet cat’s ears are free of ear mites, wax buildup, fluid, dirt, or debris to avoid infections and ailments. 

To check for abnormalities in your pet’s skin and body.

Regular grooming time which includes bathing and brushing will also allow you to check for abnormal lumps and skin lesions on your pet cat. Should you discover any suspicious bumps on your pet cat’s body don’t hesitate to call your vet right away and have your pet checked at once. 

When is there a need to sedate your cat for grooming?

As much as we don’t like to sedate our cats, it may become necessary especially if they become aggressive or hyper and too hard to handle. Here are some reasons why there’s a need to sedate your cat for grooming:

  • if your cat doesn’t like to be bathed 
  • if your cat has severely matted fur 
  • if your cat is afraid of the sound and sight of nail clippers 
  • to make it easy to groom hard to reach areas like armpits and under the tail 
  • for in-depth medical grooming such as to treat your cat for eczema or allergies 


A well-groomed cat is a happy cat and as a pet parent, it’s always a joy to know that your cat is comfortable. While grooming time can be a real struggle there are safe and effective ways to sedate your cat so that the process is done without unnecessary aggression, stress and anxiety.