I adopted long-haired Bwai (pronounced "bwai") and her sister Gril in June of 2001 when they were about 7 months old. They had been surrendered to the Toronto Humane Society because, I believe, they were not fierce enough. (Their names had been changed from Anger and Evil to Tangerine and Jeviline--get it?) But they are both very well socialized and enjoy meeting new people.
After about a year I realized that Bwai was not a successful self-groomer. Her long thick coat was getting horribly matted, the skin was very tender, and she would NOT let me groom her (well, I should have gotten into the habit of brushing her every day, which long-haired cats really need, whether she liked it or not. She doesn't).
Long story short, Li, the groomer I booked, refused to deal with Bwai, who freaked and fought when the clippers first touched the back of her neck, until I persuaded Li to let me help her (that took over an hour and I had to go home and change out of my blood/urine/spit-covered clothes--my blood, not Bwai's--before I could go back to work). The following year, the coat had grown back as long, thick, and matted as ever. The groomer told me I'd have to have Bwai sedated before she'd deal with her again. That time, three of us collaborated on holding the poor thing down (even under a heavy dose of animal tranqs) and shaving her to the skin.
This happened twice more before I took pity on my girl (she'll be 9 years old in December) and asked my vet what to do. They know Bwai very well (they wear shoulder-length leather gloves to handle her), and said they could put her under general anesthetic. Success! She was fully recovered by the time I picked her up and, while she was a bit pissed off there, when I got her home she was her happy, chubby self. And the fee was only a few dollars more than the groomer charged.
This time, I let it go far too long as usual, and this past week took Bwai in again. The fee this time was nearly triple what it had been last year (I didn't comment on this to the vet's office--yet). But my girl is back, and her dignity, while dented, is basically intact.