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Calming a Kitty

or Kitty Coiffure

Cats can be tricky to groom because they often like to squirm, if not outright object. Unless you start when she's a few weeks old, cats will not necessarily understand that a good manicure or brushing is a way of life. Instead she'll see it as an invasion of her personal space. But the right approach will put your cat -- and you -- at ease:

BE INFORMED. Before you begin to groom, make sure you get advice on the right technique and equipment from your vet or a professional groomer (for instance, always use pet-specific nail clippers and cut only the sharp tip of the nail).

BE DISCRETE. Ease into the session: Kneel on the floor, hold your cat lightly with her back to you, and start petting her in the same direction the hair grows. When she purrs, start grooming gently. Sometimes it helps to have one person hold your cat while another grooms, trims nails, or brushes he cat's teeth.

BE GENTLE. Physical force might help -- but you will only have a harder battle next time. Instead, take a tip from feline moms: Use your thumb and forefinger to lightly pinch the loose skin behind your cat's neck -- it often has a mesmerizing, immobilizing effect.

BE PATIENT. If your cat starts acting up, take a break and try again later. Plan to groom over the course of a few sessions -- whether it's brushing just one part of the body at a time, or clipping one claw at a time.

BE GIVING. Reward your cat along the way with praise, petting, and treats. Pretty soon she will realize that you mean no harm and will eventually tolerate it.

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