Grooming Price & Industrialization

Price goes down as industrialization goes up.

What’s industrialization?

It’s efficiencies created by use of machinery.

The goal is lower cost, higher volume.

I think this is the model that grooming salons are attempting to follow.

Walk into a busy multi-groomer salon. Close your eyes. You may feel you’ve entered a small factory.

Unless they’ve made an effort to separate the drying area from the grooming area, it’s harshly noisy.

Instead of grooming 4 pets a day, they can groom 7 pets.

Are they doing it with love and care? Yes, I’d say most groomers truly care. Yet the atmosphere is rough on pets.

There’s always a trade-off between industrialization and personal experience.

Factory farming is efficient. It brings food to millions of people.  It’s a solution. At the same time, the hierarchy of factory farming places an animal’s experience at a lower level than efficiency & volume.

I don’t use high-velocity dryers. I don’t think NYC cat owners want an industrial experience.

F:DPF\Thursday NewsAlbum Calf & Cats # 831 Oct 20 2011The calves and the cats have a special relationship at the Hytone Farm in Coventry.Al Malpa





Cats urinate from fear at salon?

Reading groomer online sites, I’m struck by the  number of times groomers describe cats urinating during grooming.

Since salons have high-velocity dryers, barking dogs, strange smells and powerful washing hoses, added to the cat’s bewilderment over being left in a  strange place, I’m not surprised. I’d have the pee scared out of me too!

It could just be that cats wait around  too long in salons. They don’t always get litter boxes. Of course they’re going to have to pee somewhere.

Most groomers in a salon or clinic are animal lovers. That’s the other thing I notice in grooming forums. The salon setting works against them, creating anxiety for the cats.

Cats pee during grooming even at home.  I’ve had it happen 3 or 4 times, but not anywhere near as often as I hear it happens in salons.  If I had to get urinated on to do my job, I’d figure out another way to work or find another job.

Just something to think about.



What I don’t do. What I don’t have.

  • No high-velocity dryers.  (Some cats urinate from fear around high-velocity dryers)
  • No sedation.
  • No requirement for rabies vaccine. (As long as your cat doesn’t go outside & hasn’t been around an animal who does go outside)
  • No dogs. (Unless you have a dog in your house)
  • No exposure to other cats. (Unless you have other cats)
  • No hiding. (You can see what I do and how I do it.)
  • No carrier.
  • No taxi ride.

House call grooming does away with 99% of the reasons to avoid scheduling a cat grooming appointment. What’s stopping you from scheduling a Kitty Spa Day?




Dr. Fox Prefers Housecall Cat Grooming

Dr. Fox (veterinarian, author, PhD in medicine and a DSc in ethology/animal behavior from the University of London) was kind enough to reply to my email about house call cat grooming. (Italics & capitalization are mine)

“Many cat owners will appreciate your letter and need for in-home cat grooming services. This may be an incentive for other experienced groomers to offer house-visits rather than having cats come to them which can be very stressful for some cats while others cannot even be put into a carrier without prior habituation. Either way there is no excuse for cats becoming so matted from lack of regular grooming that they must be sedated and carefully clipped at a veterinary hospital, extreme stress and expenses which could be avoided by routine effective grooming by the owners or professionals such as yourself.

Dr. Fox is a long-time advocate for animals and has an extensive education in science.  I am so happy that he sees the value of house call cat grooming.


What if housecall cat grooming costs more than you can afford?


Even if you can’t hire a housecall cat groomer, you can still help your cat.  There are great Youtube videos demonstrating a wide variety of ways to brush, wash and dry fur, along with many videos on how to trim claws. You can also do a general online search for information.  You’ll find so much!  Look at a bunch of different videos and sites so you can choose which method works best for you.

If you’re afraid to do it all yourself, you can start by trying to do whatever seems least scary.

For example, trimming claws intimidates a lot of owners.  It’s less scary if you don’t have to worry about being bitten or scratched. A snap-on or velcro e-collar can be purchased for about 10 dollars. You put it on your kitty, then relax because the teeth can no longer reach you.

Tip: Good lighting helps more than you can imagine. Light up your house before grooming the cat.

Afraid of being scratched? You can wear a winter coat and gloves. No one will see you since you’re at home:) Feel free to wear layers of clothes!

Wiggly cat? Wrap kitty up in the largest towel you have. A beach towel is the right size. You can even use two towels. Then expose the part of the body you’re working on. Your room-mate or partner might be willing to help.

Trimming out mats? Buy a small ball-tip scissor online or at a pet store. Place a metal comb flat against kitty’s skin, under the mat. Trim the mat off with the scissor. This way you won’t have to worry about cutting the skin.

Tip: Having a quiet, calm atmosphere makes all the difference. Many cats freak out if you groom them in the living room with children playing and video games booming. They might be totally different in the bathroom or kitchen.

Tip: Try using the kitchen sink and counter for grooming, instead of using the tub and bathroom floor.  The kitchen counter is the right height for grooming. The sink is less fear-inducing to the cat than a huge tub. Also, you’re going to have more control over a cat in a sink than you do over a cat in a tub.

Most of all, have fun. Experiment. As long as you don’t hurt or scare the cat — and don’t get hurt — it’s all good!

Enjoy getting to be physical with a living creature. In the city, we spend so much time with computers & words & concrete. Grooming a cat is like a brush with nature.  Who knows. You might become addicted to cat grooming, like me:)