My Groomer recommended medication for my cat?!

Yes! Not all cats can be groomed without some help.  

Some cats will show fear and stress, and we must reduce these stressors in order to reduce the risk of injury and health problems that can arise with grooming. 

Please do not think worse of your groomer, they are thinking of the safety of your cat, and cats are… well… cats! (And sometimes they think they are lions).

Why would a cat need to be medicated? 

  • Aggression where the cat is a risk to itself and/or the Groomer
  • Pain due to arthritis or an old injury
  • Memory of pain of an old injury
  • Fear that causes a high stress response (flight, fight, fright, flail)
  • Sensory decline or cognitive disfunction
  • A previous bad experience

Some cats do not have the option of a full sedation or anaesthetic at a Veterinary Clinic, so to continue to have a groom at a salon, they may need help in removing the fear or memory.

A common recommendation is Gabapentin, but your Vet may recommend another medication due to your cat’s health.

What is Gabapentin?

Gabapentin is an anticonvulsant and analgesic medication. Gabapentin is prescribed by veterinarians for felines suffering from seizures, chronic pain, and anxiety. It works on calcium ion channels in the brain to reduce excitement.  This is a short-acting medication that takes effect in 60-90 minutes and lasts about 8-12 hours.

You should always test any medication at home before presenting for grooming.  If anything goes wrong or your feel your cat is not ‘sedated’ enough, you can then attend your veterinarian again.

Some potential side effects include:

  • Lethargy
  • Sedation
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of motor coordination
  • Agitation

This is not a miracle drug, of course as with any medication, some cats will become worse, or require something extra to make Gabapentin have its full effect. 

Natural alternatives that may be tried are:

  • Zylkene
  • CBD Oil
  • Aromatherapy
  • Bach animal rescue remedy
  • Pheromones such as Feliway

This is for informational purposes only, and you should always consult with your veterinarian and advise your groomer if you are to medicate your cat. Never give medication to your cat that has not been recently prescribed for your cat and under veterinary care.

More reading:

Study: Gabapentin Reduces Stress in Cats Before Veterinary Visits (

Gabapentin For Cats: Usage, Safety, And More – All About Cats

Published by Lexie the Groomer

Owner and Head Groomer at Lexie's Dog and Cat Grooming

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