Because cats are greasy, the bath can make or break a cat groom. Not only is the choice of shampoos an important aspect of this process, the bathing process itself plays a vital role.
Bathing a cat is a art, to be sure. Using ample amounts of shampoo and really scrubbing a cat down to the skin is necessary for achieving quality results. A groomer must pay close attention to the legs and head as well as the torso of the cat. I have seen many a completed cat groom whereby the main body of the cat looks pretty good but the legs and/or head still look clumpy and separated. So, while the cat is lying down, it looks fairly good. But once the cat gets up and walks around, the clumpy legs and underbelly are seen, making the overall groom look less than stellar. A good cat groomer will seek to achieve quality results on every inch of the feline.
When bathing cats, do not overlook these problem areas. Don’t be shy with the shampoo and use a good quality degreasing shampoo (Les Poochs F&T followed by LP Hypo are my two favs. Dilute both only slightly). Lather well, rinse well. Repeat if necessary.
During the drying process, if the coat continues to look “wet” or is clumpy at all, then the coat was not adequately degreased. If the tail area looks or feels waxy, then stud tail is present. The area must be re-bathed. If any kind of stickiness or tackiness is present during the drying process, then the cat is still greasy and must be re-bathed.
The desired results should be a smooth flowing coat, free of separation and clumping. Be careful to check this after the cat is thoroughly combed out as sometimes combing will produce seemingly nice results, but then after the cat moves the coat separates and remains so. If this is the case, the cat was not adequately degreased.
These bathing principals are ones I learned in the CFA showhalls during the years that I ran cats for both Regional and National Wins. In the show ring, the show bath can really make or break the chances of winning. When I started grooming cats for the general public, I applied the same show principals to my clients’ cats regardless of breed. Why wouldn’t top quality be the goal for both the show ring AND for my clients’ felines? This is understood the dog world, but not so much in the cat grooming world. Such a shame.
Make a difference for your clients and their cats. Give them awesome results that can only come from a good bath and blow dry. Whether the cat remains in full coat or receives a comb cut or lion cut doesn’t matter. The finish should always be the best one possible. Get out that grease! Not only does this establish the groomer as one who produces quality grooms, but it also makes a real difference for the cat and its owner, providing a cleaner cat who won’t get matted so quickly and whose skin and coat will be greatly improved.
Here are some before & afters demonstrating the effects of a degreasing bath and blow dry: