A Cat Groomer's Dilemma
Updated: Oct 15, 2019
By Paul Cook
While dog grooming is commonplace, far fewer people realise that there are professional cat groomers out there too. To be fair, it’s a fairly small industry, but it’s large enough to have its own institutions and leaders(1) who over the past few decades have taught thousands of groomers around the world the best practices of this purrfect industry (sorry, I know, I had to).
Were you to spend a few hours studying what it takes to be a cat groomer, you’d discover the cat grooming community have a really clear sense of what best practices among cat groomers look like.
I was happy to find confirmation that at the forefront of all conversations and considerations among cat groomers is the welfare of the cats we groom. There is no better way to highlight the ethical consideration all cat groomers face than to explore the scenario when a groomer is asked to groom a badly matted or pelted cat.
In most circumstances(2) we have the technical skills and capabilities to perform a full coat shave and leave the cat feeling healthier and free of the discomfort and potential skin disease that bad matting and pelting can cause(3). It’s a scenario where the cat is happy, the client is happy and the groomer should feel happy too. The job is specialised, time consuming and difficult, so the cat groomer rightly charges a higher than normal fee for the service and their time.
But the dilemma here is that the groomer would rather have never performed the pelt removal in the first place when they could have intervened earlier and prescribed a sensible grooming schedule that would have prevented the bad matting and pelting in the first place.
Depending on factors such as the cats age, breed, hair length, environment and even the health of a cats teeth, a professional groomer can advise on an appropriate maintenance schedule for any cat. Options such as bathing and blow drying, de-shedding, ear and eye clean, sanitary clipping, shaving or comb clips are all on the table.
It is sometimes difficult for cat groomers to convince clients to schedule cats in for a visit more than the once a year shave down, but clients who have come in with badly matted cats make for the best converts to our plea for them to come back for more frequent and far less stressful treatments.
I have to say that personally, I really notice the difference in the quality and softness of a cat who’s coat is bathed and shampooed on a regular basis when compared to ones that aren’t.
And finally before I go I just need to take this one opportunity to speak for all cat groomers and dispel one prevailing myth: Cat’s DON’T hate having a bath! It’s true, the overwhelming majority of cats that are bathed behave very well and don’t freak out.
1) The National Cat Groomers Institute (NCGI) founded by Danelle German is an excellent resource for Cat Groomers www.nationalcatgroomers.com
2) Sometimes if the cat is very old or has a serious pre-existing condition that risks the life of the cat a groomer may choose to not take any action
3) Dander, dandruff, gland hyperplasia, stud tail, chin acne and allergies can occur in cats
About the Author:
A former cafe owner, Paul is now a full time cat groomer at Groomzy. Paul is currently studying to become a Certified Feline Master Groomer (CFMG) via NCGI.