Did you know that it is there are an estimated 8.4 million cats in Canada and that 53% are Obese? That means they are at least 20% more than their healthy body weight.
Did you know that Domestic Short-haired cats are the most prone to obesity?
What does this mean for grooming?
If you are still in the Dark Ages and believe cats groom themselves, more than 1/2 are having a grooming and hygiene crisis. We are creating a situation where cats can no longer groom themselves. Their body mass is getting in the way. They just can't stretch and reach like they are supposed to. Take a look at these pictures. Sad but true. I see this on a daily basis, and I'm happy to situation better for the cat and owner.
When a cat gets to an obese size there are many other health-related issues to consider. Be sure the vet has checked your cat and given the green light before grooming. Cats hide illness very well. Just for starters, obesity puts your cat at risk for:
A cat that doesn't feel good is a very cranky cat. A cranky cat is a tough customer to groom. They get very upset about the state of their backend which they can't reach. It's probably pretty sore back there too from neglect.
This doesn't mean you should avoid grooming. In fact, they will feel much better after grooming.
Some people opt for shaving their super sized cats to help keep themselves clean. While this is a good short-term solution along with regular bathing, it does not address the overall mental and physical health of your feline friend. Your cat is hardwired to hunt, scratch, and self-groom A blob can't do any of these, which can lead to depression.
An average-sized cat is 10 lbs. Any weight loss must done slowly and under veterinary supervision. A cat's natural body chemistry and metabolism is a finicky balance and sudden changes can lead to internal organ shut downs.
Professional grooming a super-sized kitty requires special handling skills. Any sign of stress can be particularly dangerous to the health of the cat. Handing the equivalent of 20 lbs of mud or more in a 10 lb bag armed with sharp nails and teeth can be awkward and hard to handle.
Which leads to questions of extra service charges for the over-sized cat....
Is it unreasonable to charge extra for an oversized cat?
It uses more product, time, and energy to complete a groom and they usually arrive in "crisis" condition before getting on a regular grooming routine.
How would YOU feel you were charged a "plus-size cat fee"?
What would be a reasonable cut-off point for healthy-size vs. super-sized?
Would a weight scale be required to be objective and fair, or would it be more humiliating?
I'd love to hear your opinions.
I hope you aren't still in the Dark Ages when it comes to the care and maintenance of your cat. If it has skin and hair it DOES need occasional to frequent bathing.
Bathing is good for the mental and physical health of your cat; and no, it won't dry out the coat unless you are bathing twice a week or more. Whether bathing to resolve current issues or bathing for prevention, proper introduction and regular routine will help to make the process enjoyable for everyone.
Here's how to tell when your cat needs a bath.
#1. It is shedding.
Most animals have a bi-annual shed cycle if it lives outdoors. If you have an indoor or indoor/outddor cat, you will experience shedding all year round. This is because the hair growth cycle is triggered by hours of light.
Loose hair is bad news. The cat's tongue barbs are designed so that once hair is collected while self-grooming it it can't be spat out. It can only go one way - down the gullet - and that means hairballs. Brushing definitely helps but a warm exfoliating bath followed by a blow dry makes a huge difference. Short-haired cats actually shed more than long-haired due to the life cycle of their hair.
If no outfit is complete without cat hair, or you think you need to buy hairball laxatives, what you really need is to get your cat bathed.
#2. It has dandruff.
Dandruff/Dander is a subject for a whole other blog post. Either is unsightly, and unhygienic. Dead skin and dried salvia......mmmmmmm yummy. And it's left everywhere your cat has been. Think about it. Pet wipes just smear it around and brushing seems to only break it into ever smaller particles.
Only a thorough bath regularly will help resolve this problem. And please, don't use conditioner or a medicated shampoo. On a cat, this is NOT the answer (trust me) and it will only create a vicious cycle of flakes. More on this subject, another time.
#3. It is greasy.
If you can mohawk it, create parts and peaks, looks clumpy, feels like Brillo cream; it needs a bath. Cats are naturally oily. As a matter of fact, they are oilier than dogs, plus they have finer hair to absorb all that grease.
Ever seen a Sphinx cat a week with out wiping or bathing? It gets yellow, lard-like deposits in the folds of it's skin. We only see it because it is a hair-less cat. Your furry cats produce the same oils, it's just absorbed by the hair.
Greasy hair attracts dirt, dirty hair velcros to other hair stands, creating mats, (even on short-haired cats) resulting in greasy, dirty, smelly, matted, messy, and unhappy kitty.
How bad does it have to get before some humane intervention is considered? A regular routine of bathing will keep your narcissistic feline clean, a pleasure to snuggle and caress, and mats, a thing of the past.
Most people are shocked when I tell them I'm a Certified Feline Master Groomer.
Either they're surprised at the idea that cats actually need grooming, or they are incredulous that someone would be bold and foolish enough to do it. That makes me a certifiable mini lion tamer.
It's true cat grooming ain't for pussies. You must have a lionheart to be a good cat groomer. While being passionate about cats is a good starting point, you must be fearless, agile, inventive, and empathetic. And you can never, EVER trust a cat. The moment your guard is down, they will find a way to remind you that you are the inferior creature.
Don't let this happen to you. Do not attempt to wash your cat in a shower stall.
Other important qualities that make a good mini lion tamer; a strong stomach, speed, and a perverse sense of humour. If you cannot laugh at being punctured and ripped to shreds again and again, (despite your superior training, handling, and equipment) and bested time after time, you might as well lay down your gauntlets now.
Other obvious important qualities for a cat groomer would be perseverance and adrenaline junkie. Yes, I admit I love the front seat on a roller coaster, and drive too fast on my motorcycle.
So why do it? Cat grooming, I mean.
The first most obvious reason is they desperately need it. The sitcom "Friends" hit it dead-on with Phoebe Buffay's one hit wonder "SmellyCat" (what are they feeding you? Smelly Cat, Smelly Cat, it's not your fault).
We managed to drag ourselves out of the Dark Ages and started using soap. We've done the same for our dogs, why do we think cats have absolution from a bath? Please don't tell me they groom themselves. They LICK themselves......all....over. And that is salvia (aka, spit), not soap or a comb. If I licked myself all over and sat on your furniture, would you hug me? Would I be invited back?
BTW, one the most common reasons for giving up cats is allergies. Guess what the primary source of allergens comes from? The salvia. Which they spread all over themselves by "self-grooming." No, it is not the hair and dander that causes allergies, it's just the medium through which the salvia is spread.
Second most common reason? Fear of toxopasmosis. "I'm having a baby" Only transmitted through DRIED feces. You know, the crusty stuff that might be hanging around days or weeks later, and only a potential threat to those who are immune depressed. Solution? A simple sani-trim and a regular bath.
Prevent a cat from going to the shelter. Bathe and groom it regularly.
So why did I became a cat groomer? I wanted to bring cats out of the Dark Ages, educate myself and people about cats, and give cats a better quality of life. Cats are narcissistic creatures and love feeling and looking good. I'm happy to acknowledge cats as the demigods they believe themselves to be.
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Walk-in nail trimming: Monday, Friday and Saturday 8:30-9:00 a.m.
Janet Wormitt, CFMG CFCG
Cat-a-lyst and Ad-vo-CATe