The science of drying cats

How best to minimize drying time?

First, how does “drying” work?

“What exactly is involved in turning wet” cats “into dry ones? In a word, evaporation: turning the liquid water on your” cat “into a vapor (gas)—and then getting rid of it.

“The simplest way of getting rid of liquid water is to turn it into a vapor (broadly speaking, that means a gas produced from a liquid)—and the easiest way to do that is to heat it up.”

Hence, the use of blow dryers or HV dryers. HV dryers may not have heating elements, but after several minutes of use, the air warms up.

“Heat it enough and all the molecules will eventually evaporate—in theory, at least—leaving you with no liquid at all.”

“If you want them to dry properly, the water they contain doesn’t just need to turn to a vapor; it has to be completely removed from the air around them. If water vapor lingers near your” cats, “it’ll not only hinder more liquid water from escaping, but some of the molecules in the vapor will also reenter your” cat “and turn back into liquid, wetting them again!”

Hence the use of towels to blot the cat and and catch water molecules blown off your cat’s coat.

Required to efficiently dry a cat.

  1. A blow dryer
  2. Towels
  3. A non-humid room

Source:

*Paraphrased and replaced “clothes” with “cats” from Woodford, Chris. (2010/2017) Clothes dryers.

 

No more hairballs

Throwing up hairballs isn’t natural. If cats still lived outdoors, shedded fur would be blown off or pulled off. In the home, fur detaches, gets licked into the throat and is either vomited out, or accumulates enough to create an obstruction if it doesn’t pass through the body.  Everyone has time for 15 seconds of brushing a day. For a short-haired cat, 15 seconds can mean the difference between hairballs and no hairballs. The volume of shedding fur usually increases dramatically in spring and fall.

Love glove mitt briskly stroking fur.
Love Glove mitt briskly stroking fur. Cats enjoy this.
After 3 seconds.
After 3 seconds brushing my cat Emma.
After a few more seconds . . .
After a few more seconds . . .
Done for the day. 15 seconds of brushing.
Done for the day. 15 seconds of brushing.

To buy the grooming mitt – Four Paws Purple Love Glove Cat Grooming Mitt

Combing cats. Secret grooming technique below.

Why are you afraid to brush your cat? Come on now. Put on your big-girl panties. Put on your big-boy boxers.  Do it, because it’s your job. Plain and simple. It’s your job. So do it.

Pretend your hand is a great, big, furry paw. Plunk that paw down across your cat’s shoulders. Comb and brush your cat, starting with the neck, working your way back. Most cats don’t like it when you mess around with their rear, so save that for last. Comb and brush vigorously.  Don’t use that hoity-toity Furminator. Use a comb and a slicker brush, like a patriotic American!

Don’t get angry. Don’t get frustrated. Just “git ‘er done.”

Be a proud, strong momma tiger. Be a proud, strong daddy lion. Rawrrrrr!

(Or call me and I’ll do it.)

 

Do it like you mean it.
Do it like you mean it.

Cat Claw Growing into Pad? Ingrown Cat Nail?

How do you survive in a world of predators and prey? Hide weakness. Look normal. Act healthy. No matter what.

This is your cat’s code of survival. They don’t have to think about it. They do it automatically.

You look at your cat’s claw and see something that looks weird. You look closer. Wait . . . what? Why is the claw so fat? It’s growing into the paw pad! Oh no! Oh wow! You quickly check the other claws, heart beating. You love your cat. Your cat looked normal, nothing unusual about her behavior, and now this?! You wonder, “Is my cat in pain? This is awful.”

What now?

1. If you usually trim your cat’s claws, you can try to cut the part of the claw that is exposed. You need good lighting. If the claw is deeply embedded, there may be blood.  To prevent infection, keep the claw as clean as possible. Ask your veterinarian how to care for the paw.

OR . . .

2. You can take your cat to your veterinarian.

OR . . .

3. I can trim the claw, BUT if the claw was embedded, you MUST take your cat to the veterinarian or talk to your veterinarian ASAP.  I am a groomer, not a doctor. I can only care for the outside of a cat, not the inside. I am not trained to prevent or treat possible infections. Graduating from grooming school is NOT the equivalent of earning a Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine, right?

What next?

1. Trim your cat’s claws at least every 4-6 weeks. If you can’t do it, we will set up a schedule. It only takes 15 minutes for a claw trimming visit, as long as the cat is relaxed. For a nervous/angry/wiggly cat, the claw trimming is the easy part. Picking up and restraining the cat is the hard part. Cats that bite or scratch may be calmer at a veterinary clinic.  Some cats “freeze” in a clinic, while they try to figure out what to do next. Or not. With cats you never know. It’s worth a try if house call claw trims don’t work out.

Good luck. Ingrown claws can be found on cats owned by even the most loving people. Don’t worry about it. Don’t feel guilty. Just fix it, fast.

The claw trimmer I use is small, but you can use a bigger one or a human nail clipper if that is easier for you.

To buy:  Four Paws Magic Coat Cat Claw Clipper

If your cat doesn’t use a scratching post, the sheath covering the claw might stay on instead of being sloughed off.

The stylish cat scratcher lounge. I own one. So do six of my clients.

PetFusion Ultimate Cat Scratcher Lounge (Walnut Brown)

My cat bites me when I pick him up. Can you trim his claws?

Not okay. Not cute.
Not okay. Not cute.

First off, this is a SERIOUS behavior & family relationship issue.  Nowadays, pets are part of the family. They used to be employees who did a job.  They were in charge of mouse-eradication. They lived in barns, getting on the nerves of birds and rabbits, even killing a few of them every so often.

Now they’re permanent children. You know what happens when children sit around without anything to do? They get themselves into trouble. They set ants on fire and pull the ears of the family dog. We all need something to do, even your cat.

Whether cats are workers or children, biting people isn’t SUPPOSED to be part of the deal. You can say, “Cats are like that,” or “She’s a rescue cat,” or “She’s nervous”, but it doesn’t change a thing. Your cat shouldn’t be biting you. You shouldn’t be thinking that’s normal or okay. Sympathy for an animal can make us accept behavior that isn’t in the cat’s best interests.

The above is my opinion. Below are some suggestions if you agree with my opinion.  The goal is to stimulate your cat. Get your cat stimulated, then tire your cat out with exercise. Another goal is to give your cat something to bite BESIDES you.

1. Buy your cat some stuff. Toys, toys, toys. Try all different types of toys. Try a little catnip. Try all different types of scratching posts. Try different types of treats, but break the treat into pieces so it’s really a treat, not a meal. If you can’t buy too much, make toys. A shoelace or a bottle cap or a box can be a ton of fun.

2. PLAY with your cat. Those wand toys work great for playing. You have to wiggle it in a certain way, hide the feather behind furniture, then whip it out. Don’t just dangle the wand. That’s not going to be any fun for your cat. Make the wand move like it’s a tiny mouse, darting in and out of sight.

Two types of wand toys my cat enjoys:

Cat Dancer 301 Cat Charmer Interactive Cat Toy

Go Cat Cat Catcher Teaser Wand with Mouse Cat Toy
3. Touch your cat for short periods. Don’t overdo it. If your cat starts to look twitchy, let your cat go. When cats feel like they need to bite in order to be freed from a cuddle, that sets up a destructive pattern of biting as part of cuddling.

4. Keep the house peaceful. I’ve been to homes where the humans yell. They’re not angry. They’re just yellers. Even when they’re happy, they’re loud. If you have a loud home, give the cat a place to get some peace and quiet. A tree house or their own comfy bed can be a refuge. If their nerves are on edge, they’re more likely to relieve the pressure by biting.

5. Touch their paws every so often. Touch their tail. Give them a nice, short massage. Give them a nibble of a treat when you do it. Make the touching a quick, fun experience for them.

6. Stay calm and positive. Think happy thoughts. If you get all riled up, they’ll get riled up too.

7. Don’t use your fingers or toes as a toy. If you do, you’re asking to be bitten.

Aim for a bite-free home. THAT is normal and okay. THAT is how cats become permanent, loved, contented family members.

Your cat’s a biter. Will I trim the claws?

I’m a groomer, not a lion tamer. If your cat bites you, most likely they’ll bite me too. That means I need to wear protective gear and hold your cat like I mean business. Grooming a biting cat isn’t a pretty sight. There’s nothing cute about scruffing an animal while it tries to puncture an arm. If you ask me to cut your cat’s claws, and your cat has a history of biting, know that my priority is making sure I don’t get bitten. Cat bites lead to hospitalization more often than dog bites. I’ve had some people ask me to groom their cat and when the cat attacks me before I’ve even started grooming, they feel sorry for the cat. That’s just crazy. Would you feel sorry for a dog who bit you?

What I wear to trim claws. No, not really.
What I wear to trim claws. No, not really.

The type of claw trimmer I use is small, suitable for cats.

To buy the claw trimmer: Four Paws Magic Coat Cat Claw Clipper

 

Secrets of a cat groomer. Blow drying without blowing up.

You know the saying, “It’s not the heat. It’s the humidity.”  With cats, “It’s not the bath. It’s the blow-drying.”

I wish cats looked like this during drying.

Womenblowdryer

 

Instead, they usually look like this.

Shockedkitten

How do professional cat groomers blow dry cats without scaring the cat or creating an explosion of claws and fangs?

I choose my tools after doing much research. Dogs tend to react more calmly than cats to loud or harsh noises. I tailor my tools to cats only, since I am a specialist.  I talk to other groomers, spend time online reviewing spec sheets, go to trade shows and generally immerse myself in the topic.

My latest discovery is the Dog Shammy Dog Dryer. The dryer has only been available for a year.  As far as I know, I am the first and only professional cat groomer in Manhattan to use it.

Despite the name, the dryer is perfect for cats. In fact, I think it even better for cats than it is for dogs.

Dogshammy

Why would a professional cat groomer choose this dryer?

  • Due to increased insulation, the sound is soft, instead of tinny and harsh. Soft noises are more soothing to cats.
  • The air flow is adjustable, so high air flow can be used for the body, while low air flow is used for the head and tail.
  • The motor is powerful, so cats dry quickly. Less time spent grooming, more time spent playing with their human.

Dryer controls

 

Here’s to clean, un-matted cats with beautiful dry fur!

 

Supplies for a cat grooming house call in New York

My supplies fit in a backpack.  Some of the most effective tools are also the simplest tools. I love my clipper. It is quiet and lightweight, perfect for cats with their sensitive skin and dislike of harsh sounds.  I usually groom on the kitchen counter and use the sink, though sometimes the bathroom is better if I am grooming a particularly big cat.

supplies2 Supplies1

Supply list for home grooming long-haired cats

Basic tool kit for home-grooming long-haired cats. Believe me, you could buy a lot more, but this is enough to get you started.

7 1/2″ steel grooming comb. (http://www.amazon.com/Andis-2-Inch-Steel-Grooming-65730/dp/B004UTDHP2/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1393011612&sr=8-4&keywords=cat+combs)

Face & Finishing comb. (http://www.amazon.com/Master-Grooming-Tools-2-Inch-Finishing/dp/B000Y8YQ2G/ref=sr_1_2?s=pet-supplies&ie=UTF8&qid=1393012318&sr=1-2&keywords=4+1%2F2+comb+cat)

Slicker brush. (http://www.amazon.com/Coastal-Pet-Puppy-Slicker-Grooming/dp/B000O39TE6/ref=sr_1_2?s=pet-supplies&ie=UTF8&qid=1393012178&sr=1-2&keywords=small+slicker+brush)

Claw trimmer. (http://www.amazon.com/Petco-Cat-Claw-Nail-Scissors/dp/B007VOCPEW/ref=sr_1_32?s=pet-supplies&ie=UTF8&qid=1393012530&sr=1-32&keywords=claw+trimmer)

Cat wipes. (http://www.amazon.com/Earthbath-Natural-Hypo-Allergenic-Fragrance-Free-Wipes/dp/B001ANBV7W/ref=sr_1_6?s=pet-supplies&ie=UTF8&qid=1393012637&sr=1-6&keywords=cat+grooming)

Hypo-allergenic shampoo. (http://www.amazon.com/Earthbath-Hypo-Allergenic-Pet-Shampoo/dp/B000FUMGHU/ref=sr_1_11?s=pet-supplies&ie=UTF8&qid=1393012774&sr=1-11&keywords=hypo+pet+shampoo)

Clear plastic Elizabethan snap-on collar in a small-enough size for your cat. (Ask your local feline veterinarian if they can sell you one. Costs about $10. Make sure it is a SNAP-ON collar, not a collar with velcro. The sound of the velcro scares some cats.)

Is your Persian cat flammable? OMB!!!

Oh My Bastet. (Bastet is the Egyptian cat-headed goddess, of course.) You totally should have known that. You call yourself a cat lady? Sheesh. Go adopt a Dachshund.

Anyhoo, if the fire alarm goes off when you touch your cat’s fur, see below for a magical liquid called Coat Handler Anti-Static Spray. Spritz a little on your cat or dog. The scent is nutmeg-ish or cinnamon-ish or some-other-spice-ish. Smells good!

No more light show when you pet your cat
No more light show when you pet your cat