Frequently Asked Questions
Below are some FAQ about the home grooming process.
What form of payment do you accept?
Does my cat require vaccines to be groomed by you?
Where do you groom my cat?
What will you need to groom my cat?
Will you need me to stay while you groom my cat?
How long will the process take?
Do you give flea baths?
I don't want a "lion cut" - can you do a longer cut?
My kitty can be difficult to handle. Will you still come to groom them and how do you deal with this?
Do you sedate cats for grooming?
Afterwards, will my cat be embarrassed?
For FAQ on grooming maintenance after your appointment, please see the Grooming Maintenance FAQ
I prefer cash, but I can also accept an email transfer or a cheque.
No. Grooming salons require vaccines because your cat will be in contact with other animals. So, for both the protection of your kitty and the kitties of other people, it's important that they are vaccinated. Since I'll be in your home and your kitty won't be in contact with other pets, vaccines aren't required. I would, however, urge you to always take you cat in for a yearly check up, even if you aren't vaccinating. Cats are notoriously stoic creatures and will not generally show symptoms of illness until that illness is quite pronounced. I've seen cats with teeth rotting out of their face still eat hard kibble. Just because your cat is indoors and looks fine doesn't mean that they are and most illnesses are both cheaper to treat and have a better prognosis if caught early. Most vets will work with you if you don't wish to vaccinate and you can even get house call vets if you don't want to transport your cat anywhere. But that annual check up is quite important and I'd recommend you get it done.
For shaving, it's easiest to groom your cat in your bathroom. If you think your cat will be more comfortable in another room (or if you're concerned that your bathroom is quite small), it's best is to pick a room without a lot of raised furniture (as cats will hide under it) and that has a door (as cats will try to escape). Plus it's usually necessary to let them have a break and walk around every so often.
If your cat is having a bath, a bathroom is necessary and I would recommend removing anything you don't want to get wet - magazine racks, extra rolls of toilet paper, etc. Cats will almost always jump out of the tub at some point.
For a bath, you'll need a towel.
For a shave, just have a plastic bag for fur - a grocery sized one is fine.
It depends on your cat and the service you want.
For some nail trims, I can do it myself.
If your cat is getting a hair cut or dematting, you will need to stay. It takes two hands to shave safely (especially for dematting). I do usually try to do as much of the shaving as possible with minimal restraint, but for areas like the tummy and arms, the kitty will need to be held. Bathing is also much faster and easier with two people. I can bathe them alone if you have a fully enclosed tub or shower, but for drying, I'll need an extra set of hands.
If you aren't comfortable holding your kitty, I can bring along extra help for an additional $30. However, as most people opt to hold their own kitties, I do not have a full time assistant. As such, it will take longer to schedule your appointment.
This is dependent on several factors: type of service, behavior of cat and condition of fur. In general, a full groom (nails, bath, brush out, blow dry) for a short hair takes 30-45 minutes and for a long hair 40-55 minutes. A lion cut can take anywhere from 30 minutes to 1 hour. It will depend on how still your cat sits and whether or not you want them to have a bath after. Finally, dematting can take anywhere from 15 minutes to 2 hours, depending again on how still your cat is, how old your cat is (older cats have thinner skin and can take longer to demat), whether or not there's a bath and, most importantly, how severe the matting is. The more mats there are and the tighter the mats are, the longer it takes to safely remove them. Nail trims are usually 5-10 minutes.
No. PLEASE DO NOT USE FLEA SHAMPOO ON YOUR CAT. A small percentage of them can have allergic reactions (I worked at a vet clinic for several years and have seen a cat come in after a flea bath with a severe reaction). Also, a flea bath is now considered an outdated treatment - it has a very low efficacy (ie. it is not likely to clear up your flea infestation), contains much harsher chemicals than newer options and, as stated, can have much more adverse side effects.
You are much better to spend your money going to your veterinarian and getting proper flea medication - the most common are Advantage and Revolution (which are external treatments) and Sentinel (which is a pill). Please do not buy Zodiac from the pet store - this product is for dogs and can be very harmful to cats (I also saw several bad reactions to this medication during my time at a clinic). I realize that going through a vet is going to cost a little more, but I honestly believe it is the safest and most effective option. If you have an outdoor cat, you should be seeing your veterinarian once per year anyway to get feline leukemia, rabies and FVRCP vaccinations, as they are highly likely to come in contact with other, unvaccinated animals and are therefore at a higher risk of contracting these diseases. Most vets have a policy that if they've examined your cat in the past year, they will sell you the medication without an exam.
The difference in how baths vs. vet treatments work: a bath will rinse and kill fleas currently on your cat, but has very little residual efficacy. The vet treatments are absorbed into your cat's epidermis and will provide one month of protection from new fleas. This is important to getting rid of an infestation because there are going to be flea eggs around your place. They will continue to hatch and attack your cats even after the bath. With the vet treatments, these fleas will hatch and die as soon as they land on your kitty since your kitty is still protected. The flea bath does not provide this. Your vet is likely to recommend a two month supply of the treatment as it usually takes a couple of months for all the flea eggs to hatch and die. I'd also recommend a through cleaning of any pet beds or fabric areas where they sleep as well as a good vacuum of your baseboards.
Lion cut refers more to the shape of the cut than the length - a lion cut leaves the hair on the head, paws and end of the tail. This pattern can be modified - the most common thing I get asked is to leave the whole tail furry, which is no problem. In terms of length, there is really only so long that you can leave the fur. The way clipper blades work is that the longer the length, the further apart the teeth are (see photos). A 10 blade is the standard length that is used on cats. I can do the next two sizes up (the 7FC blade, pictured below, and a 5FC) , but I don't like to go longer due to safety. Cats' skin is generally thinner than dogs and much easier to catch in between wide blade teeth. If your cat is older or matted, I may not be able to do a longer length cut.
Additionally, a shorter cut will last longer. If you are trying to minimize matting on your cat or fur in your house, a shorter cut is a better option as you won't have to have it redone as often.
Yes, I'm always happy to try to groom your kitty, even the ones who are not so thrilled about my visit.
Each cat is different. As a general rule, cats do not want to do what they do not want to do. Most squirm a bit during grooming – this is normal. A lot of cats have a window of time that they can be handled and past that, grooming becomes a challenge. Others are upset right from the start and can react with aggression or fear.
The approach to your cat is going to depend on how they're reacting. I always try to start with minimal restraint and let the cat do what they'd like for as long as it's possible to groom them that way as I find that most cats hate the restraint more than the actual shaving. So, some cats will lay on the ground and let me do their backs without much fuss. Others won't and the owner has the hold them for most of the groom. I find that short breaks of every so often helps as well. If the kitty really won't cooperate in a way that makes things dangerous for either you or me (ie. Biting, scratching etc.), other methods come into play. I find that a “kitty burrito” can be effective – you take a towel and wrap up part of the kitty where I'm not working (we always make sure not to cover the head fully so that the kitty can breathe). There are other options as well – cones (like you get from the vet post surgery) can help with biters.
If you're wondering about sedation, please see below.
Finally, I always tell people that if your kitty is either very stressed out or very aggressive, the cut itself is not going to be perfect. I feel that the kitty's well being is more important than aesthetics, especially in the case of a kitty who is very stressed out.
No. I'm not legally allowed to use full sedation (ie a general anesthetic) or injected partial sedation – that has to be done with a veterinarian's supervision.
Options you can use for home grooms are:
Calming sprays/diffusers: These are available from veterinary clinics and pet stores. The brand I know is Feliway, but there are others – ask for a pheromone spray or diffuser.
Herbal/Non-Medicinal Options: Health stores sell a product called Rescue Remedy. It's put into water and may help calm your kitty. There are also products – such as BioCalm – available at clinics.
Medicinal Options: there are pill sedatives that are used for travel. They are prescription and must be bought at a veterinary clinic.
The efficacy of all these options will vary with each cat. It's a good idea to use any of them about half an hour before your appointment and while your kitty is still calm. It's also a good idea to do a trial run on a day when nothing is happening so you can get an idea of how the product affects your kitty. Again, I cannot administer any medications to your cat and please consult with your vet prior to giving anything to your cat to make sure it will be ok for to use.
Probably not. I have quite a few clients who report that their cat is actually much happier with the short hair. Most cats are pretty indifferent to it and once they've done a good groom of their own, go about their day as if nothing has changed. Some cats do behave like they're a bit embarrassed - my advice to anyone worried about this is to make sure not to let anyone make fun of your cat. I realize that sounds like crazy cat lady advice, but while animals don't understand language, they do pick up on tone. Lots of cats don't care what you think of their appearance, but if you have one that does, try to keep your tone and attitude positive.
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