Cat grooming is risky. It can be dangerous for the cat, and it can be dangerous for the groomer. It is a professional's job to understand the potential risks and trying to minimize them.
This week there was a challenging groom. A badly matted elderly Persian with a bad attitude. Although the hair hadn't formed a solid pelt, yet, it was still badly matted throughout, even the legs and head. As usual, the tightest mats were in the trickiest, most dangerous places to access on a cat. I wasn't going to torture the cat by trying to de-mat it. The only option was to shave it all off and start over.
Doing a temperament and physical assessment confirmed my first impressions. This cat needed help desperately but was going to fight every step of the way. Being properly prepared in advance with an action plan, tools and equipment within easy reach, plus speed certainly made all the difference. No one was injured, except maybe a certain kitty's pride. She was certainly feeling much better afterwards, especially after the bath. How could any creature have a positive outlook when every step is painful from hair tugging from the knots. The bruising exposed under the knots tells the tale.
This groom could have gone very badly in the wrong context, fortunately this cat came to the right place. Not to say I will or can do all cats. If I can't handle it alone, I will refer those cats to grooming under vet supervision. That option is unfortunately very expensive. Using multiple people to handle or restrain a cat, in my opinion, makes the cat even more defensive, aggressive, and multiplying the risk of injury.
So why intervene? Why risk hurting the cat, or getting yourself hurt? Compassion actually. Call it tough love, or advocating for cats, but someone has to help them. You can't just ignore the filth, the mats, the sores, or the bruising. They won't go away by themselves. So risk assessment is necessary, a plan of action to correct a situation, and a maintenance schedule put in place to prevent it from happening again. It is the right and humane thing to do.
Most people are shocked when I tell them I'm a Certified Feline Master Groomer.
Either they're surprised at the idea that cats actually need grooming, or they are incredulous that someone would be bold and foolish enough to do it. That makes me a certifiable mini lion tamer.
It's true cat grooming ain't for pussies. You must have a lionheart to be a good cat groomer. While being passionate about cats is a good starting point, you must be fearless, agile, inventive, and empathetic. And you can never, EVER trust a cat. The moment your guard is down, they will find a way to remind you that you are the inferior creature.
Don't let this happen to you. Do not attempt to wash your cat in a shower stall.
Other important qualities that make a good mini lion tamer; a strong stomach, speed, and a perverse sense of humour. If you cannot laugh at being punctured and ripped to shreds again and again, (despite your superior training, handling, and equipment) and bested time after time, you might as well lay down your gauntlets now.
Other obvious important qualities for a cat groomer would be perseverance and adrenaline junkie. Yes, I admit I love the front seat on a roller coaster, and drive too fast on my motorcycle.
So why do it? Cat grooming, I mean.
The first most obvious reason is they desperately need it. The sitcom "Friends" hit it dead-on with Phoebe Buffay's one hit wonder "SmellyCat" (what are they feeding you? Smelly Cat, Smelly Cat, it's not your fault).
We managed to drag ourselves out of the Dark Ages and started using soap. We've done the same for our dogs, why do we think cats have absolution from a bath? Please don't tell me they groom themselves. They LICK themselves......all....over. And that is salvia (aka, spit), not soap or a comb. If I licked myself all over and sat on your furniture, would you hug me? Would I be invited back?
BTW, one the most common reasons for giving up cats is allergies. Guess what the primary source of allergens comes from? The salvia. Which they spread all over themselves by "self-grooming." No, it is not the hair and dander that causes allergies, it's just the medium through which the salvia is spread.
Second most common reason? Fear of toxopasmosis. "I'm having a baby" Only transmitted through DRIED feces. You know, the crusty stuff that might be hanging around days or weeks later, and only a potential threat to those who are immune depressed. Solution? A simple sani-trim and a regular bath.
Prevent a cat from going to the shelter. Bathe and groom it regularly.
So why did I became a cat groomer? I wanted to bring cats out of the Dark Ages, educate myself and people about cats, and give cats a better quality of life. Cats are narcissistic creatures and love feeling and looking good. I'm happy to acknowledge cats as the demigods they believe themselves to be.
Surprisingly easy online booking. Book your full service appointment your way, on the day and time that works for you. No-brainer automated appointment confirmations, reminders, and receipts. No time-wasting email requests or phone tag.
Got questions? Prefer to call or text for an appointment?
Walk-in nail trimming: Monday, Friday and Saturday 8:30-9:00 a.m.
Janet Wormitt, CFMG CFCG
Cat-a-lyst and Ad-vo-CATe