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.
Cat grooming is a specialty. Many groomers are afraid to groom cats. Others think that cat grooming consists only of shaving matted cats, when in fact cat grooming can include claw trims, de-shedding, de-matting, combing and sanitary fur trims. As a cat owner as well as a groomer, I suggest asking prospective groomers why they began to groom cats. Ask groomers about their training and experience. Cats are not the same as dogs. Their skin, anatomy and behavior differ markedly from canines.
Experience and education
Graduated from grooming school.
House call veterinary nurse administering medications and fluids to diabetic cats and others.
Managed progressive animal shelter.
Emergency animal rescue supervisor in Chapel Hill, NC.
Internship with “big cats” and other animals at The Bronx Zoo.
Post-baccalaureate science honors program at CUNY.
Hundreds of hours of volunteer service at animal shelters.
Lived with cats for 18 years. Currently live with a senior cat.
Professional groomers are different. For one thing, we’re even crazier about pets than the average American, and that’s saying something! For another thing, we shop differently.
Like construction contractors, we shop at distributors, not retail stores. I buy my shampoo, trimmers and other supplies from companies catering to groomers. Sure, I might run to Petco if I forget to bring my claw trimmer to a house call, but that’s the exception, not the rule.
One of the many reasons I love this country is that inventors and manufacturers let their imaginations run wild. What fun! Talk about abundance! I can choose between about 100 types of shampoo, 20 types of clippers, 50 types of combs and brushes, and so on.
Some might wonder if all this choice is necessary. No, it’s not. I could use the same tools used in the 1960’s, but why should I? A 1960’s clipper/shaver will work, but the newer ones are quieter and vibrate less, which makes grooming a more relaxing experience for cats.
Today’s professional groomers get to pick from a world of grooming delights. Amazing!
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.
“How did you do that? I can’t hold on to her for more than a minute before she starts to wiggle.”
Mallow, a young white and calico cat, sat on the floor thoughtfully licking her front paw. She looked about as cute as a cat can look, and that’s pretty cute.
“It’s not hard,” I said. “She’s sweet,” I added.
“I couldn’t do it,” the owner replied.
“Sure you could,” I said, but even as I said it, I realized that perhaps he could not do it.
Occasionally I forget that I have been working with pets for over ten years. I have worked in kennels, veterinary clinics, salons, zoos, shelters and private homes. Practice anything long enough and you become better at it than people who do not practice. I have practiced holding on to furry little creatures for so long that I have become better at it than other people. That’s why professions exist, so that people who practice a task more than other people can offer their services.