When cats lived outdoors, their shedding fur was blown or pulled off by wind, branches, dirt and sand. Rain and snow washed their fur. Sun dried the oil on their skin. They ate less food, so didn’t get “messy bottoms”.
Cats only moved inside recently, after the popularization of cat litter. Cat litter was invented in 1947!!!
Nature used to help cats get rid of shedding fur and dirt. Now we need to help them.
(And yes, some short-haired cats do fine without being groomed, but as they age they need help.)
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.
If a veterinarian or veterinary technician tells you cats don’t need to be groomed, ask “What about fat cats who can’t clean? What about sick cats? What about 20-year old cats? What about Persian cats? What about shedding season? What about claws growing into paw pads?”
Veterinary professionals have so much to offer, but they are not who I go to for questions about quality-of-life care. Grooming improves the quality of life for owners and pets.
Let me help you decide whether or not to hire a house call cat groomer for claw trims.
Everything is a trade-off.
When people choose to buy prepared pre-packaged meals instead of shopping, cooking and cleaning up, they are making an instinctual decision about the best use of their time.
What is the best use of your time?
Not including employee benefits such as insurance, the value of one hour of your time is:
$40,000/year = $19.23/hour
$60,000/year = $28.85/hour
$80,000/year = $38.46/hour
$100,000/year = $48.08/hour
Ah, but it’s not that easy. What is the value of your time AWAY from work? What is the best use of those precious hours when you are not in an office or tied to your laptop answering emails from the Boss? I’d guess the value of non-work hours is double the value of work hours because of scarcity. When a desired item — such as time to relax — is scarce, the value of that item rises.
That means one hour of relaxation time is worth almost $60.00, for those earning $60,000 a year. You are “spending” $60 when you use one hour for a non-relaxing activity during your limited relaxation hours.
What do you want to do with that hour of relaxation time? Do you want to put your cat in a carrier and walk to the salon or clinic for a claw trim, or do you want to hire a cat groomer to trim the claws? My claw trim visits generally take 15 minutes.
I obsessively research tools, including shampoos and dryers. In my free time, I talk to other groomers online to get product reviews and suggestions. Skilled groomers help each other. We LOVE to learn!
When I groom a cat, I might blow shedding fur off using a high-powered cool-air dryer. I might opt for a less powerful warm-air dryer for old or skinny cats.
I might use a degreasing shampoo for cats who tend to be oily. I might use a gentle, hypo-allergenic shampoo for cats who are lucky enough to have a coat that doesn’t get greasy.
These are just two of the decisions I make when I groom a cat. I make a lot of choices for each cat, because cats aren’t clones, at least not yet!
These are a few of the books and DVD’s I own. I treasure my library of grooming and cat behavior books & DVDs. Groomers can always learn more!
Fair warning . . . this is a rant. I’m normally an even-tempered person, but even someone as chilled out as I am can get worked up once in a while.
Grooming is one of the last professions allowing a poor but highly motivated person to create a satisfying career, without needing to go into thousands of dollars of debt. It’s one of the last professions that doesn’t require a college degree. It’s one of the last professions that’s not hog-tied by local and federal government regulations. Once the regulators get involved, corporations gain an advantage because they have enough staff and funding to jump through government hoops. So far that hasn’t happened to grooming, but if you look at what’s happening to nail salons in New York City, you’ll see that owner-operated grooming services may be the next target of the journalism school grads and bureaucrats who destroy the dreams of entrepreneurial women.
Many women have hauled themselves out of of dire financial straits, supported disabled spouses, raised children, and supported elderly parents through grooming. If they had to go to college or a government-approved program to be a groomer, they’d be on welfare.
I went to college, but I can appreciate the fact that for many people, college isn’t a way up and out. It’s a way down into a debt hole.
Grooming is one of the most feminist professions around, though most groomers are too busy taking care of business to care about labeling themselves as a this or a that.
People talk a lot about STEM jobs. Maybe they should be talking about FUR jobs.
Veterinarians and cat groomers are a match made in heaven. Too bad many veterinarians are blind to this perfect pairing. They treat cat groomers as if we were foie gras, a weirdly decadent extravagance of no real benefit to anyone. In fact, we are more like corn on the cob or string beans.
Injuries and conditions I have found while grooming cats include . . .
Collar so tight that fur underneath has worn away
Obesity to the extent that the cat looks like a massive meatloaf of discomfort
Third eyelid swollen
Urinary tract infection
Nicks that have turned into open wounds
An average cat grooming visit lasts 60 minutes. An average veterinary clinic exam lasts 15 minutes.
Yet there are still veterinarians, and those fierce guardians of the veterinary clinic known as receptionists, who openly scoff at cat grooming. They tell owners, “You can do the grooming yourself,” without noting that few owners WANT to do the grooming.
These are the same veterinarians who eagerly scan articles titled, “How to Make Your Clinic Feline Friendly.” They sign up for workshops where they study ways to lure cat owners to their premises, complaining that out of the thousands of cats in the city, only tiny percentage will see a veterinarian.
Here’s a brilliant way for veterinarians to lure cat owners into a veterinary clinic. Support the work of the groomers who act as your eyes and ears.
Stress-free handling is all the rage on veterinary websites. Stress-free handling is old-fashioned in that it requires a return to craftsmanship, specialization and intimacy. I predict that the concept of stress-free handling will become more and more well-known, but that actual stress-free handling will remain as rare as a vegetarian at a barbecue joint.
These techniques take time and patience, both of which are rarities in urban life. Every time I visit a cat, I attempt to provide stress-free handling. Occasionally I succeed. Sometimes the cat’s stress level is so high before I even start that all I can do is work quickly. For a quivering cat, the greatest kindness may be speedy efficiency.
Like the term “holistic”, stress-free handling will become no more than a label developed to appeal to the tender-hearted, progressive city-dweller. All the same, a few advances in our treatment of pets may occur along the way, just as the craze for organic food did bring more fresh fruits and vegetables into the market.