In response to a recent letter asking guidance about removing clumped and matted fur on a cat, you suggested various methods, as it's a difficult problem and often requires shaving. I had an experience with this problem two years ago that still upsets me. I was caring for my son's Himalayan cat while he was out of the country. When I arrived, the cat had quite a few large mats, and my son said it was OK to take her to the vet to be groomed. The vet's office wanted to bathe her first. She had been groomed before, but I was surprised to see the process myself. The groomer did some preliminary grooming, and it didn't look pleasant. Within an hour and a half, I received a phone call from the vet saying the cat must have had a heart attack. She died! I can hardly believe that such a thing could happen. After reading your response to the other grooming question, I think that the groomer hurt her terribly. Would grooming put her into shock and cause a fatal attack? The cat was 8 years old and in good physical condition. I'm still having trouble understanding this, and I feel so terrible about it. Why would an animal care provider subject a little animal to such treatment? I realize that the cat should be groomed at home regularly, but when you seek help to resolve this matting problem, you don't expect your pet to die.
G.L., Naples, FL May 15, 2012
I am sorry for the shocking experience you had with your son's poor cat. All involved at the clinic must have been devastated. Healthy cats can put up with considerable stress and physical discomfort associated with being groomed and carefully clipped to rid them of irritating and incapacitating clumps of matted fur. But cats with a pre-existing cardiac condition such as a congenital heart defect or enlarged and weak heart (cardiomyopathy) can have complications. This is why normally safe and routine procedures such as spaying and teeth cleaning performed under general anesthesia can prove fatal. Prior to such procedures, a physical examination is normally done to evaluate and reduce the risk of cardiac arrest and other surgical complications. This is not usually done before grooming. Since the cat had been groomed before with no complications, an unexpected tragedy occurred. If she was frightened and struggled to free herself from being physically restrained, she could have gone into shock, which, in more sensitive and experienced hands, can be avoided.
5/14/2012 8:24:03 AM #
I am a cat owner, advocate, rescuer and lover and I live in Naples. I would love to know where this poor cat was taken, for the fact that I too need a groomer on occasion and would not want to have the same experience.
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