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Need suggestions on professional groomers....

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
Howdy all. My fiancee and I are in talks to send our 2 l'il ones, Bolo and Boots to the groomers for a nice trim, as their shedding is starting to get out of control (no doubt because of the summer.)

My question is: do we send them to a grooming service that uses anasthesia, or a "hold them down" groomer? Bolo is 10 years old, and Boots is just about 2 years old. Does age factor in this decision, or is either option ok? My take on it is with the cat asleep, the groomer most likely will do a better job than with an awake, fidgety cat.

Any advice on this would be most appreciated, and we thank you in advance.
post #2 of 8
Mine are actually angels while being bathed so I am probably not much help but a few points from when I found mine:

If it is a 'hold them down' groomer - check if they
~use muzzles
~use restraints (one had cats with a collar and leash and the poor thing looked like it was choking trying to get away

If it is an 'asleep' type
~what kind of anasthesia do they use
~how long will the cat be under
~check with your vet (some cats don't react well to anasthesia)
post #3 of 8
I guess I should add that seen as mine behave they go to a 'hold down' groomer who doesn't actually have to hold them down much... Scully had to wear a muzzle once to stop him hissing at Magnum who bit his tail but he didn't seem to mind much
post #4 of 8
I am a Certified Master Groomer who has been grooming cats for 34 years.

No groomer in the USA can administer any anesthesia. The only way this can ever take place is if the cat is anesthetized by a veterinarian then groomed by an on premesis groomer. If you have a groomer that says they do anesthetize then some serious laws are being broken. This should only be done by a licensed veterinarian in a facility where proper monitoring will be done. There are risks using anesthesia that should never be taken where immediate medical help is not on standby.
I would avoid this at all costs- anesthesia is serious business and unless the cat is wild beyond belief is just isn't needed.

One alternative is to have your veterinarian recommend and prescribe a sedative, usually a pill, that is given the morning of the cats grooming appointment. This is usually done only to those cats who have been identified as needing sedation, and those cats are few and far between. Any drug can have possible side effects, from extended "down" time to diarrhea, to added stress because they feel funny.

Why do you think your cat will need drugs? Has a reputable cat groomer attempted it, and then recommended sedation?

If we experience difficulty grooming a reluctant cat we always offer to let the owner stay and help hold while we groom. Most owners want to stay and help although some prefer that we do it all ourselves- either way is ok, but cats (unlike dogs) always seem to do better when Mom or Dad stay with them.

A good cat groomer should be able to manage your cats, and it is by no means just a matter of "holding them down". A well placed hand can control a cat with next to no pressure- it is all in knowing how to properly hold them. Elizabethan collars are used to prevent cat bites, and sometimes muzzles are used as well. Neither cause any sort of discomfort to the cat- stress is always going to be the worst of it.
Leashes are always wrapped in a figure eight pattern- no cat in our shop is ever leashed or noosed around the neck- it is simply not necessary.

Cat groomers employ helpers (usually the bathers/fluffers) that have good cat holding experience, and it can all be done in a matter of 30-45 minutes and it's over. Whether or not the cat needs a bath is optional- we prefer not to bathe unless it is really necessary. The stress in the bathtub is much more likely than stress on the grooming table.

I would suggest that you call area grooming shops and veterinarians and find a cat groomer- someone who understands the proper handling of a cat, and entrust them to groom your kitties. We do this in the most humane way possible, and the results are always pretty good.

With luck you will find a groomer who will let you stay and you can see first hand that it doesn't have to be nearly the ordeal you are imagining.
post #5 of 8
Thread Starter 
This is the information I was hoping to get. Thank you Icklemiss & Cear.

I really wasn't crazy about the possibility of putting them under so they can get groomed (this would be their very first visit)... I just thought it might be less stressful, especially for Bolo, my 10 year old, as I'm not sure how that experience would be on a senior cat if he were awake the whole time. My main concern was to ascertain anasthesia or not, which Cear more than answered that question. Much obliged.

The only other thing that has me a bit wary is the stories I've read on this site about cats returning home from the groomers with a bit of a nasty disposition, especially to the other cats in the household. That and some other story about some cat owner who took their cat to be groomed at their local chain store (not blasting them, now... I think they're great!) and a couple of days later the cat dying... I'm sure that won't be the case here, but I'll admit, it is in the back of my mind.
post #6 of 8
The cats that are nasty to one another after they come home have most likely been bathed. Bathing removes the familiar smell, so they have to re-establish themselves with each other and aggression is part of that.
If the cats do not need to be bathed then we always recommend that it not be done.

Large chain stores are great places to buy supplies but the "groomers" they employ are not very well trained. In my area they are almost a joke. Really good groomers much prefer to work at a dedicated grooming shop because the clientel is much better in terms of how well maintained they keep their pets.
I have had these "groomers" interview for positions as a bather in my shop and not pass scrutiny on how well they handle animals. Not to mention actually cutting hair. Sorry large chain stores (and any workers I might offend) but grooming is a serious profession, not something one dabbles in.

Here is a brief exerpt from an article I wrote on choosing a groomer. It uses the word "dog" a lot, but just substitute "cat" for a moment:

A great first step in choosing a groomer is to ask your vet for a
recommendation. Vets know area groomers and have an opportunity to see and hear many things about grooming shops. It is a good place to start.
Even better, if you see a nice looking dog on the street, ask the owner who
the groomer is. *No one* will mind talking about how gorgeous their pet is,
and owner referrals are the best indication of a groomers competence that
you have.
They know how they like the place,
how their dog likes the place, and how their dog looks when he comes home.
These folks are invaluable.

Groomers are not currently required to have any sort of formal licensing,
so anyone with a pair of clippers can call themselves a groomer. Sounds like
a recipe for disaster? It is.

You will see words in ads like "hand finishing" or "no tranquilizers".
Well, all groomers hand finish and no ethical groomers tranquilize dogs, so
this is no help.
"Member NDGAA" means that they paid their dues this year to belong to
National Dog Groomers Association of America. This is a sign of interest in
staying professionally connected but hardly speaks to their competence.
"Certified", "Certified Master Groomer", "CMG", or "NCMG" is better.
This means that a groomer has voluntarily submitted to actual testing using
live dogs. Once they pass they are "Certified", and once they pass *all*
breeds they are "Certified Master Groomers".
This at least shows you that they are serious about their profession and
make every effort to stay current and competent in all areas of style,
health, and equipment. If you have a
rare breed, a certified groomer will know how to trim it.
*But* this testing is costly and not offered in every city, so a groomer
can be fabulously talented yet not certified.

Generally, grooming shops are a better bet than grooming as a "side
service", like groomers in pet shops or vet clinics. This is of course
variable, but specialty grooming shops pay better and serve a better
clientele (defined as keeping their dogs well maintained) so attract better
groomers.

How long has the person been grooming?
You simply cannot become a good groomer in a short time. An eye for balance
and style is inborn, but nothing beats practice, practice, practice. All
dogs and all coats are different, and the more experience a person has the
more likely they are to make the proper choice in how to deal with any
specific situation or coat. I would judge about 10 years to be a good
requirement for "experience". Grooming schools are good at teaching basics,
but a recent
graduate just doesn't have the skills to produce top notch work.

Call for a visit.
Someone will be available to answer any questions but obviously cannot
spend an hour talking. Look the place over, but be brief. You are just there
to get a feel for the place and the people.
You should expect a clean shop, but there will be dog hair around. There
should be no bad odors, nor should there be dogs unattended on tables with
no one around. Dogs will be in cages... they are safe, happy, and it
keeps them out of trouble...don't
stress over this one. There might be lots of barking, might not be...
depends on the day.

Watching the actual grooming area from the reception zone may or may not be
possible depending only on the layout of the shop. Most shops will have no
problem allowing you a few moments to watch someone else's dog being
groomed, but don't want you to watch your own dog. They are not hiding
anything- they
are only trying to groom your dog safely, without him wiggling in
anticipation of getting back to you! A dog that normally stands quietly for
grooming will often turn into an impossible task when "Mom" comes into view.
Scissors and clippers are sharp, and can cut skin... the last thing we need
is for a
dog to whip his head around looking at Mom while we try to scissor around
the eyes. It simply is not safe."


So in a nutshell- call around and find an experienced groomer who works on cats. Visit, get a feel for the place, ask for referrals from cat owners- in other words investigate. Don't just assume that because they charge money for grooming they are any good.

And a Certified Master Groomer who does cats is your best bet.
post #7 of 8
Cats are usually much better behaved for a professional groomer. They have little tricks to keep the cat much calmer. Always avoid anesthesia when every possible. I don't know what kind of cat you have. I have persians and bathe/groom them myself. But I wouldn't let anyone use anesthesia on them for grooming at all just because they have the flatter faces and don't tend to do well with anesthesia because of the shape of the face/skull and breathing issues.
post #8 of 8
The anasthesia ones around here are all at vet's surgeries, but I still don't like the idea of my cats being put under unnecessarily.

There are a lot of people out there who groom animals who have no experience so check for qualifications, how long they have been in business etc.

The woman we go to now let me sit an watch while she worked before we booked with her and has separate people who bathe and dry the animals as well as separate rooms for cats and dogs so they don't get stressed by the smells.

Her only problem with my cats is removing magnum from the bathing tub as he likes to sit and play, the first time we brought him there she was amused now she is usually annoyed and goes and gets him out herself because the bather lets him play.

She prefers that we don't stay but gives us a call about half an hour before they are done, but that may well be because they are well behaved.

Ask how much experience they have with cats or go to somewhere that specialises in cats because they are not as easy to groom as dogs... Our local pet store has a grooming place and she does a great job with dogs but struggles with cats and yet still does them.
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