Getting a Cat Groomed


I had an inquiry about  cat grooming from a woman who had been a  client of the animal hospital (where  I’ve been working).  The last time she  had her cat shaved  was over six months  ago ( according to my records), but  that  time, the cat was with us for over 6 hours, and when the cat  went home, the cat did not eat or drink for 36 hours. She slept.  The owner felt that this was too much stress, and attributed  the stress to how long the cat was with us.

I didn’t tell her this, but to a dog or cat, any  amount of time over  five minutes is an eternity.  That’s how animals are.  The woman  wanted to know why  we had to have the cat  for such a long period of time.

Here’s how it is:  the way we are ‘set up’ to do business,  we have to get all the  animals  in  by  about  10:a.m. or so, or  owners ‘forget’  to bring them in—after making an appointment, and we lose money.  Most people bring their pet in on the way to work, and we may  have the pet ready by  lunch time, or they  pick up the  pet on the way home.  Were it up to me, I’d take in pets every few hours, but  as it is, we  have a  ‘no-show’ rate  of about 5%, which is really very high.  As we start taking -pets in for service at 7:a.m., if they are not in by 10, we call  to find out if they are still showing up.  In the past, nobody  noted ‘no-shows’, but I do, as some people make a habit of forgetting.  I  tend to charge more for your grooming when you can’t  remember  appointments three times in a row.   Were this my business, I would ask for a deposit, but the animal hospital won’t do this. However,  this doesn’t matter to this cat owner.  I am just explaining.

Also, the way we are set up, in the past, the  groomers showed up  around  9:a.m., or  in the case of my co-worker, as late as 10:a.m.  This means many pets were just sitting around in a cage or kennel run for  several hours.  I  start at 8:a.m.  My choice, but I also don’t think it’s right for the old dogs to have to just sit in a cage.  Fact is, they all know they are in an animal hospital.  That’s a lot of stress.

What is relevant to the cat owner is that we have to start the dogs first, because the dogs are  one person jobs.  For me, a cat is often a 2 person job:  one person to hold the cat—or stretch the cat out,  and the other person—me—to shave.  Then, we bathe the cat, and then, it might take us several hours to get the cat dry.

The cat owner wanted to know why it would take so long to dry a shaved cat.  Cats  scrunch up in little balls when they are stressed…and believe me, getting shaved  once or twice a year & not being touched by a human otherwise is pretty stressful for a cat.  But the other problem is physics.  We are not allowed to use  a warm air blower on pets because management is afraid we will cook a pet.  It seems there are so many stupid, stupid groomers—and the stories about them— of them not monitoring pets being dried, and leaving them for over  five minutes and not checking them—and those animals dying of heat stroke, that all managers who are not  groomers think all groomers are irresponsible imbeciles.

So, if you  have your dog—or cat— groomed at a chain (PETCO, Petsmart, Pet Supplies Plus), or in a shop not owned by a groomer, your pet is  sitting there wet, with cold air blowing on him.  Most dogs  are groomed every  two or three months, so they are used to the stress.  If  it is a dry day with low relative humidity, they may dry quickly.  If it is a humid day, and the dog curls up in a ball, and the groomer never checks the dog, or brushed it up (this is a matter of surface area, and  air getting between the hairs), it could take hours. That’s the way it is.

I told the  client that some grooming shops have a day a week just for cats.  No dogs in the shop (that  will alleviate a lot of stress for cats afraid of dogs)  & since the groomers respect the cats and  know what they are doing, will probably hand dry the cats.  But we are not set up to do that.

Now, if you are not a cat owner, or your cat is short haired, you are probably wondering why people would get their cats shaved.  There are  two reasons:  with the short haired cats, the owners won’t brush the cat, and  the cat sheds too much for their liking. These people really don’t care if their pet is stressed. For the long haired cats—people just don’t brush them and they get matted.  Why do these people even own cats?  Because it’s a free country… because veterinarians don’t stress how important regular brushing is, and because  we still have  morons allowing unspayed cats to roam, kill birds, spread parasites…and breed…and all the do-gooders who  won’t work to make it illegal to  give away free kittens, but instead ‘rescue’ them  and beg for homes. To these people, a bad home is better than no home and euthanizing surplus pets.

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