Frequently Asked Cat Grooming Questions
FEATURE ARTICLE: (Very Highly Recommended)
Cat Behaviourist: Seeing Matting and Pelts from a Cat's Perspective by: Anita Kelsey C 2016
(click above article title to open the article in a new window
Cat Behaviourist: Seeing Matting and Pelts from a Cat's Perspective by: Anita Kelsey C 2016
(click above article title to open the article in a new window
Frequently Asked Questions:
- How did you get certified? What is a Certified Feline Master Groomer?
- Do cats need grooming? Don’t cats clean themselves?
- I have never had my cat groomed before – what is the process? How long does grooming take? Do I stay and help during the groom?
- Can my cat be groomed if: a) my cat has allergies/sensitive skin, b) my cat is very nervous/scared/aggressive, c) my cat is an outdoor cat?
- Besides being clean, smelling nice etc., what are some other benefits to getting my cat groomed?
- Why does my cat have hairballs?
- What do you use as a shampoo for cats?
- Why can’t you just brush/shave my cat without bathing and blow drying? Does my cat really need a bath? What are the benefits of a bath and blow dry?
- How often should I get my cat groomed?
- Can I get my cat groomed at the dog groomers?
- What is a mat? What is a pelt? Do all cats mat? What can I do about it?
- Do long hair cats shed more?
- Are all cats oily?
- If my cat is "bad" during grooming, will you let me know? My cat is always so nice and relaxed, why might he/she be ‘aggressive’ during the grooming?
- My cat is ruining my furniture, should I get him/her declawed?
- What is a lion cut?
- What is a comb cut?
- My cat got into paint/gasoline/tar etc., what do I do?
- How do I get my cat in the kennel?!
1. How did you get certified? What is a Certified Feline Master Groomer?
David, the groomer at DREAMING BIG Cat Grooming, is a certified feline master groomer. What that means is that David is a member of the National Cat Groomers Institute of America and has undergone intensive cat grooming training. In 2014, when he graduated, he was only 1 of 5 certified feline master groomers in Saskatchewan.
This training included:
- Proper techniques in grooming a cat.
- How to accurately handle and groom a cat safely and humanely.
- How to handle different types and temperaments of cats.
- Different types of grooms such as full grooms, comb cuts, lion cuts etc.
- Understanding, recognition, and general treatment of diseases and illnesses in cats.
- What the benefits of grooming a cat are.
- And much more!
In order to get certified one must complete and pass multiple exams, both hands on and written.
In our case, David is also a member of ISAP (International Society of Animal Professionals) and PCGAA (Professional Cat Groomers Association of America) and is continuing to learn by taking more courses in regards to cats.
David has a huge passion and love for cats and it shows in each and every cat he grooms.
A Certified Feline Master Groomer is a certified cat groomer by the National Cat Groomers Institute of America. To be certified by the NCGIA on must have completed written and practical exams showcasing mastering of feline temperament & handling skills, breed & color identification, health & anatomy understanding, CPR & First Aid certification, and the practical exams demonstrating cat grooming services.
2. Do cats need grooming? Don’t cats clean themselves?
It is well known that cats do not like water but they do require grooming. Most pet owners think since cats groom themselves they do not need to be groomed. Cats groom themselves to keep their bodies cool and to remove dirt and debris. Cats develop hair balls in response to all that self-grooming. Regular grooming of cats by their human counterparts can reduce shedding, the ingestion of hair, and matting.
Long-haired cats can get severely matted if they are not brushed regularly. Hair that is dirty is more likely to develop mats. If a cat has a lot of matting, bathing can worsen the knots if not first removed. This is because once wet, knots tighten as they dry, making them pull on the skin and becoming more uncomfortable. Knots and mats should be removed before bathing using a clipper, not scissors.
A cats’ skin is much thinner than human or canine skin. In fact it is so thin that if accidentally cut with the clipper blade it can tear like tissue paper. Using a clipper on a cat is best left to a professional.
Does your cat scratch furniture in your house? Have you seen your cat outdoors scratching on a tree trunk? Maybe you have a scratching post and you are lucky enough to have a cat that uses it. Cats display this behavior to sharpen their claws, and they do get sharp. Better to catch a mouse if your claws are sharp! Claws should be trimmed as often as dog nails to shorten them and reduce sharpness.
Choosing a cat groomer: Cats have special needs when it comes to grooming. Some groomers do not take cats as clients, so call ahead to find one willing to take on the task. An ideal cat groomer would have a special area for cats that is quiet and away from dogs that may be in the shop. Some cats can be agitated if an area has the scent of dogs. An ideal situation would be a groomer in your area that services only cats, or a mobile groomer where there are no dogs in the area.
Cat shampoo vs. dog shampoo: It is very important to understand that not all shampoos are equal. A shampoo that does not specify use for cats should not be used. Certain ingredients in shampoos not formulated for cats can be toxic, especially those that contain sulfur. Pet owners need to make sure that label states it is for cats or kittens.
In short, a clean cat has a healthier coat, less hairballs, and a happy owner.
Cats do not groom themselves, that is a huge misconception, they lick themselves. Just like when you lick your fingers after eating wings, chips etc. Cats lick themselves to feel clean but they aren't actually getting clean. Licking does nothing to remove mats, kill fleas, eliminate dandruff, deodorize, correct bad breath, kill germs, trim sharp nails, or clean up messes. When cats lick, they ingest hair which causes hair balls and saliva causes oily hair. This oily hair then turns into mats and pelts. But, with proper grooming from a certified feline master groomer, your cat should have beautiful hair, no hair balls and shouldn't get mats or pelts.
If we licked ourselves all over, we wouldn't be clean, we'd be covered in saliva!
3. I have never had my cat groomed before – what is the process? How long does grooming take? Do I stay and help during the groom?
When you first arrive, we will have a short meeting to get to know you, your cat(s), and to learn what your need and wants are and to answer any questions you may have. We will then take your cat to our grooming salon.
Every cat and every groom is different. Generally, a full groom takes about one hour on the average cat. A lion or a comb cut takes about two hours. For the first time clients, we always estimate 2 hours. If your cat is done before the two hours, we will call and let you know. We try not to book cats overlapping as we like to reduce cat smells, interactions etc.
We do the grooming ourselves without any help – both as a preference and for insurance reasons.
4. Can my cat be groomed if: a) my cat has allergies/sensitive skin, b) my cat is very nervous/scared/aggressive, c) my cat is an outdoor cat, d) my cat is really old/really young?
All cats can get groomed.
We use a hypoallergenic shampoo and other produces to help cats with sensitive skin or allergies.
We use a pheromone spray and diffuser to help cats who might be nervous/scared/aggressive. We have many different techniques to help cats and another reasons we estimate 2 hours for a first time groom is to learn what cats do and don’t like. Once we know that, we can help make the groom less scary etc. for the next grooms.
Outdoor cats can be groomed but if you give them a lion cut, you should keep them inside or in shades areas as they can burn their skin. Having nails clipped all the way down can also mean they won’t be able to defend themselves if they get into a fight outdoors with another cat. That is just something to keep in mind.
Really young cats can be hard to groom but also, the younger you start, the more comfortable they can get to the grooming process. If a cat is very old, we keep an eye out for stress signs and if a cat gets too stressed, we will stop the groom. Our oldest cat that we have groomed was 22 years old.
5. Besides being clean, smelling nice etc., what are some other benefits to getting my cat groomed?
- Grooming enhances the quality of life for any cat.
- Grooming means no more mats.
- A certified feline master groomer can spot signs and symptoms of illnesses and health problems that might not be obvious to owners. Ear infections, sores, growths, urine/anal problems, mats/pelts, ingrown nails, cysts, thyroid problems and more.
6. Why does my cat have hairballs?
Hairballs happen when ingested hair builds up in kitty’s digestive system. Hairballs make a big mess and are also harmful to your cat. Regular grooming and deshed treatments eliminate hair balls.
7. What do you use as a shampoo for cats?
At DREAMING BIG Cat Grooming, we use Chubbs Bars. They can be used on cats over 12 weeks of age. They consist of all natural, mostly organic ingredients; contain no animal products or byproducts and come in various scents and unscented.
8. Why can’t you just brush/shave my cat without bathing and blow drying? Does my cat really need a bath? What are the benefits of a bath and blow dry?
Getting your cat shaved is often cheaper but doesn't actually solve the problem. When your cats hair grows back, if it wasn't washed and brushed during the shaving, it can grow with ingrown hairs, matting and be greasy. As a result, you will need to shave your cat again fairly regularly. The cost of this adds up quickly. Shaving a cat leaves all the grease and oil from the hair on the skin - leaving the cat very dirty.
Alternatively, if you get your cat properly washed after the shaving, then the hair will grow back clean and properly, and the skin will be completely clean. Having this done is initially more expensive but you then shouldn't have to shave your cat again. He/she will only need occasional grooming to maintain, which is a lot cheaper.
Bathing removes grease, oil, shedding hair and also eliminates offensive odors. Regular bathing often eliminates the need for between-groom brushing.
9. How often should I get my cat groomed?
If you want a perfectly groomed, clean cat all the time, you would be required to bring your cat in every 6 weeks.
However, how often you should bring your cat in to be groomed depends on many different factors. Are you wanting to get rid of shedding hair, reduce allergies, get rid of mats, prevent mats, keep hair less oily etc.
We can give you an estimated time frame depending on your cat, their needs and your wants/needs. We often say: you know how your cat felt before being groomed and how they feel after the groom. When you start noticing them getting back to how they felt before grooming – it’s time to bring them in for a groom!
10. Can I get my cat groomed at the dog groomers?
Yes, technically you could, but it would not be recommended.
Cats and dogs are VERY different. You wouldn’t feed your cat dog food, or give dog medication to a cat, so why would you get your cat groomed by a dog groomer. They are VERY DIFFERENT species and thus require different things.
Cat grooming is all about managing the cat’s environment during a groom. Unlike dogs, who can be trained for the process, cat’s need to be well managed.
The optimal environment to groom cats is a quiet and calm environment. (Away from dogs and dog scents.)
Cat grooming has its own rules, techniques and methods – many the OPPOSITE of dog grooming. Dogs can be restrained (often calming them) but cats should not be restrained. Minimal restraint on cats allows them to feel more comfortable and in control.
Also, cats’ throats, skin, nails and hair are constructed VERY differently than dogs. You SHOULD NOT use dog tools, equipment, or products to groom a cat. Cats need special tools, equipment and products. Their skin is paper-thin and safety with tools is absolutely vital. Using the wrong equipment, tools or products (especially combs, clippers and shampoos) on a cat can be very harmful, damaging and dangerous.
Dog groomers are trained/certified in grooming DOGS.
Cat groomers are trained/certified in grooming CATS.
You should not go to a cat groomer to groom your dog, and you should not go to a dog groomer to groom your cat.
11. What is a mat? What is a pelt?
Cats mat. It is a fact. Whether long hair or short hair, purebred or domestic, they get matted over time. While regular combing will help to prevent the mats, the best defense is a thorough degreasing bath and blow dry. This is where the professional cat groomer comes in.
As the hair sheds, the greasiness of the coat makes it gummy enough to cause some of the shedding hair to stick to the hair that is not shedding. This, in turn, creates a small tangle.
With time, hair continues to shed under and around the tangle. Instead of falling away, it sticks to the existing tangle, making it bigger. At this point, it becomes a mat. Several mats can form at one time, in various places on a cat’s body. Eventually, if left to themselves, these mats will come together to create one giant mat, or pelt. The pelt also begins to pull closer to the skin at this point. If too much time goes by before it is removed, the pelt will be so close to the skin that sores can develop underneath.
12. Do long hair cats shed more?
Cats naturally shed. This is true regardless of coat length. In fact, short hair cats usually shed more than long hair breeds. As the hair sheds, the greasiness of the coat makes it gummy enough to cause some of the shedding hair to stick to the hair that is not shedding. This, in turn, creates a small tangle.
13. Are all cats oily?
Cats are naturally oily. Their skin produces oil that spreads throughout the coat if given enough time. Some cats are greasier than others and some become greasier with time, especially if they have certain health issues.
14. If my cat is "bad" during grooming, will you let me know? My cat is always so nice and relaxed, why might he/she be ‘aggressive’ during the grooming?
Unlike some other salons, we are completely honest. If your cat is 'bad', good, aggressive etc. during the groom, we will let you know! Some cats hate baths, some love them. Some cats hate being brushed, some like them. There is nothing wrong with that, all cats are different! We have some cats who purr, want their belly rubbed and/or almost fall asleep they love the grooming so much. On the other hand, we have some cats who try and attack and bite us! But, the thing about cat grooming is learning the cat. During the first groom, we learn what the cat likes and what the cat doesn't like. That helps the future grooms. For example, sometimes we might learn a cat feels more calm with the vacuum on. So, next groom we will keep the vacuum on the whole time to help soothe the cat. Another example would be that some cats feel more safe being bathed in a kennel then just in our bathtub. So, next groom we will know that. Often, first grooms are the most stressful and they get better after that.
Another reason we are completely honest is for the safety of the cat and the groomer. If you have an aggressive cat, and we tell you your cat is great, then in the future you take your cat somewhere else to get groomed, you might tell that groomer that your cat is great at being groomed. By doing this, the groomer is then expecting a great cat and might not be prepared for an aggressive cat which could result in injuries to them or to the cat.
Just because your cat might be 'bad' or aggressive getting groomed doesn't necessary mean they can't be groomed, or that your cat is bad. It just means different precautions need to be made and the grooming might have to be done in a different way. Not every cat is going to love grooming and that is 100% okay!
Sometimes when you take a cat out of their natural setting, they can get aggressive. This is just there way of dealing with something they don’t understand. You can’t tell a cat, like you can a human, what is happening, so they are going to respond in the best way they know how. Sometimes that is to hide, sometimes it is to panic, sometimes it is to bite/scratch etc. This is all just natural behaviour.
15. My cat is ruining my furniture, should I get him/her declawed?
Declawing is becoming deemed inhumane in many countries and will probably be that way here soon. Most vet clinics don’t even provide this service anymore. Obviously, as a groomer, no nails makes grooming a lot easier, but as a cat lover, we know the pros and cons and cannot recommend it.
Nail trims prevent ingrown claws as well as damage to furniture. Vinyl nail caps can also provide a humane alternative to declawing.
16. What is a lion cut?
The term ‘lion cut’ us used by cat groomers to describe the haircut done on cats when they are completely shaved down. Professional cat groomers use a set of clippers to shave the cat’s hair very short on the body, belly and chest, leaving long hair on the legs, around the cat’s head and leaving a ‘pom’ on the tail. Professional groomers can tailor this look to the client’s preference, as long as high-risk areas are not trimmed. These high risk areas include, further down the legs and paws where skin, ligaments, and tendons are sensitive to nicking, any whiskers on the cat (including the muzzle, above eyes and backside of front paws), and too high around the face and tail.
Cats can get lion cuts whether they are long or short-haired. The most common reason for a lion cut is matting. If a cat is already matted, the best and most humane option is to shave the cat into a lion cut, then get the cat on a regular grooming schedule to prevent matting. Regular lion cuts can also be a good way to prevent a cat from becoming matted. Matting is not the only time a cat gets a lion cut; shedding and allergies can be reasons as well.
Not all cats are candidates for getting shaved. Cats that are highly aggressive, elderly, or in poor health can be at a higher risk for becoming stressed or nicked during shaving.
17. What is a comb cut?
A comb cut has the same stopping points as a lion cut – leaving boots, a natural ruff and a full or pom tail. While the lion cut is very closely shaved to the skin, professional cat groomers use additional tools to leave anywhere from 3/8” to 1” worth of hair on the cat’s body.
This trim is a great option for cats who are older, as shaving elderly cat skin can be treacherous. Comb cuts can also be performed with less manipulating of a senior cat’s legs and body which can exacerbate arthritic limbs. Some feistier cats may be able to get this trim if they are not lion cut candidates.
Comb cuts can only be done on cats that have no mats or tangles. It is a trim that is recommended for cats who would not prefer a lion cut. For the best trim, the coat must be bathed, dried, and the groomer must have the appropriate equipment. Scissors are NOT used to create this time and we do not recommend using scissors or shears to trim hair on the cat’s body, lefts, tail or head.
18. My cat got into paint/gasoline/tar etc., what do I do?
If your cat gets into paint, gasoline or tar, we consider this an emergency. Ingesting any of that by your cat can be toxic. Call us immediately and we will get you in as soon as possible. If you think your cat might have ingested any, please call your vet. Also, with tar, there can be burns and possible infection under the hair that might need to be looked at by a vet.
If you cat got into paint, gasoline or tar, please call us at 306-559-0317 or if there is no answer, our emergency only number is 306-515-3179.
19. How do I get my cat in the kennel?!
There are many different ways to get a cat in a kennel. Below are a few videos to show some ways to get your cat in the kennel, if you are having difficulty. We often use the last technique that they show in the second video. It is the fastest and simplest way, we have never had trouble getting a cat in the kennel using this technique. If you still have trouble getting your cat in the kennel, give us a call or we can show you when you are here for an appointment.