TNR cat grooming. Grooming a matted outdoor cat.

Got an email from a TNR (trap neuter return) group. One of their cats is pretty friendly and can be brushed for about ten minutes a sitting, but he’s matted. Here’s my reply.

“Look, cat grooming is simple because it’s 99% about handling and 1% about tools. If you can handle the cat, you’ve almost got it licked.

Throw away the darned Furminator. That thing is a piece of marketing crap. If you overdo it you tear the skin’s surface. If you use it gently, you’re not making progress. Junk. They should be ashamed of themselves. Cat skin is like our eyelids — super thin and tears like paper. Cats won’t react when you tear their skin, so you don’t even know you’re doing it until it rips all the way through which might not happen for a week or two.
This is the stuff to get — cheap, easy to use.
Also get a small ball-tip scissor so you don’t poke the cat when you trim. Should cost about $8.
Don’t brush and comb like a wussy. Most people brush like their hand is made of cotton candy and the cat is made of fairy dust. If you’re just doing the surface, don’t even bother doing it. Need to get to the skin, like when you’re late for work and brush your own hair. You use some energy then, right? Not hard or hurtful, but all the way to the skin.
As far as winter goes, shelters and heating pads are what counts, so not sure what you mean about his coat. Winter or summer, he needs to be free of mats because those mats are pulling on his skin and blocking flow of air to his skin. Usually there’s a bunch of dandruff under the mat, sometimes even an infection if the mat pulls hard enough.
If he’s really matted though, with solid mats up against his skin tight, then shaving needs to be done most likely. We call that  type of mat a “pelt”.
Good luck and good for you for doing TNR. I’m against putting outdoor cats in shelters because I’ve been there, done that.
You want to arrange a training session for your group, let me know.
$80 for a half hour. We could meet at my place on upper east side. I’ll show you tools, how to hold, answer questions.”

Don’t take your cat to a salon where untrained people work. Your cat will feel the heat.

Even if the salon groomer knows what they’re doing, the bather might be clueless. Want to see how hot a cage can get after just a few minutes of drying the wrong way?  How’d you like to sit in a 100 degree metal cage with a wind tunnel of hot air blowing at you and loud noise to complete the picture of hell? Add in the sound of dogs barking and you’ve got a nightmare scenario.

A groomer named Debi Hilley did a test to see how hot cages get when a dryer is directed at them.

Look at her video to see the frightening results.

I hand dry, which means I don’t put the cat in a cage.

To clarify, I’m not saying all or even many salon groomers do what the video shows. Knowledgable groomers would never cage dry that way.

Reasons why you shouldn’t buy your cat from a pet store

I only need one reason.

If I am a breeder who has a few cats who have at most a few litters a year, I get attached to the cats.  They live with me. They’re all my own cats, until they go to a new home.  I see them go from being tiny specks of life who can’t even see, to lively, lovely animals with a personality of their own.

If I am a pet store owner, I don’t raise the cats. They don’t live with me.  They live in cages in the store.  I haven’t seen them go from being newborns to kittens. I’ve invested money in them, but nothing else.

Who is going to be more attached to their cats?  A breeder or a pet store owner? Who’s more motivated to treat the cats like they matter?

Stores are all about appearances.  As an anti-show groomer, I say a healthy appearance can be faked. Diarrhea can be cleaned up. Vomit can be cleaned up. Eyes can be cleaned.  A sick cat can be made to look healthy. Happens all the time.

*Probably don’t need to say this, but when I say “breeder” I’m not talking about kitten-mill breeders.

Vet, Pet Store Owner Arrested for Fraudulent Pet Health Certificates
A veterinarian and his pet store owner wife have been accused for falsifying health certificates for pets.

Cat destroying sofa? Science to the rescue!

New pheromone can modify scratching behavior of cats

News flash from the Winn Health Foundation’s blog.

Who is Winn?

“In 1968, the Cat Fanciers’ Association (CFA) created what would soon become Winn Feline Foundation, establishing a source of funding for medical studies to improve cat health and welfare.”

Story summary, dumbed down to my level of comprehension:

Cats have a natural perfume on their paw pads. When they scratch, the scent rubs off. Like the perfumes worn by humans, the paw’s scent conveys a message. Human perfumes say, “Hey there Big Boy, wanna date?” Cat messages are, one would assume, both more subtle and less subtle.

If they bottle this cat perfume, aka pheromone, you will be able to spray it on places where you would like your cat to scratch, such as scratching posts.

Very cool!

Good reading for animal lovers: “Ethics Into Action” by Peter Singer

I’m enjoying Peter Singer’s book about Henry Spira and the Animal Rights movement. Henry Spira’s activism helped decrease the use of inefficient and inhumane tests such as the LD50. He had a passion for animals and people, treating both with respect.

If you read one book this year about activism or about animal welfare or about animal rights, make it this book.