Welcome to yet another edition of Groomer Showcase. Due to the popularity of our Cat Grooming Groomer’s Showcase, we thought we’d take the time to showcase a cat groomer who is making a difference in her community, educating cat owners on the importance of grooming their furry friends. Introducing Beth Rex of Maryland. You can visit Beth’s blog, The Finical Feline, by clicking here.
We asked Beth to tell us a bit about why she became a cat groomer, her experiences and how she grooms cats. She was also kind enough to provide us with some before and after pictures of some of her cat customers.
We hope you enjoy hearing about Beth’s experiences! As always, if you are a groomer who wants to share your experiences with us, please send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or post your photos/stories on our Facebook page.
Beth writes: “After achieving my CFMG I decided to sell my mostly canine-based grooming salon so that I could groom cats exclusively. I've always been a cat person. I love grooming though, so I became a dog groomer...that is, until I realized the potential of cat grooming! It's been a struggle to find a place where I could do cats only. Grooming salons want dog groomers; other facilities are afraid to change their business in these times of economic uncertainty.
“Currently I groom at a veterinary hospital. It's not perfect, there's lots of bustle and lots of barking dogs. But inside my little room, it's as cat friendly as I can make it! I use Feliway Plug-ins and play relaxing music from www.innerpeacemusic.com. Even if it doesn't help the kitties relax, it definitely helps me! I'm pretty sure I could survive with just a pair of Wahl Bravuras, a Chris Christensen Kool dryer and a Christensen face comb. Luckily, I also get to use my Catty Shack Vac, range of Chris Christensen combs, a Hanvy Taxi Vac and my little pink Andis Excels. I depend on my clippers being quiet, small and lightweight. I don't use scissors other than my tiny face trimming scissors.
“Since starting at the vet three months ago, cat grooming has nearly doubled. We've gone from one day a week to two, and from one or two cats a day to three or four. Baby steps! I'm working on teaching our customers that their cats can and should be groomed on a regular basis. I love seeing the light bulb go off - "my cat can look and feel good all year round! I don't have to have a matted, shedding, smelly cat with poop stuck to his rear!" I'm beginning to have some once or twice a year cats come back in for their second appointments. Exciting!
“I do groom alone. Sometimes I can get someone to hold for a minute or two, but mostly it's just me. I do a fair number of sedated cats. While I always give them a try unsedated, I firmly believe in doing what's right for the cat. Since I do a lot of very aggressive cats in poor coat condition, often sleeping through it is better. Either way, I always encourage the owner to reevaluate their grooming regime. Often once a cat is kept in good condition they have a lot less to be aggressive about! I always wonder what they think. Taking an unexpected nap and then waking up in a strange place with a whole new hairstyle!
“Speaking of, I don't offer creative grooming, but sometimes I get to do something fun, like a funky tail style, or a small design. I won the 2010 Feline Fantasy competition at InterGroom, clipping and coloring my brother's cat, Mr. Toes, to look like he was being swallowed by a shark. For the 2011 Feline Fantasy, I managed to goof up on my Pac Man design in the first five minutes (has to be a record!) but got the experience of how to fix a groom on the fly. Hopefully, FF will exist next year; I'm working on new design...
“Cat owners are so used to negativity about cat grooming. They're too used to people not wanting to do cats, being afraid of doing them or even thinking that cats don't need to be groomed at all. Once they realize that I love cats and want to provide the best for them, they get so excited! My cat customers are fantastic; I love them! The majority of them tend to believe what I tell them about grooming and follow my advice and recommendations. I get to do what I love, what I'm good at AND people appreciate me for it! It's been a struggle though. I'm trying to find a second location to offer grooming. The more doors that closed, the better I've learned to present my services and myself. It's been hard to learn how to do that, and I've had to do some intense research into the non-grooming business world. I wish that I had learned that when I was first starting out! I just like doing things the hard way; I am a cat groomer, after all!”
Introducing... the cats!
Amos is a big ol' Himalayan, badly in need of some grooming. Luckily all that clumpy nasty hair smoothes out with a good bath and blow dry. Less than 45 minutes later, a handsome kitty is ready to hop off the table (his crate was on the floor!) find his mom and head home.
Hank is a regular. After a lifetime of hairball problems and surgeries to remove hairballs from his system, his vet said: "maybe try professional grooming?" and recommended me. This domestic longhair enjoys his spa day every 8 weeks, a 1/2" comb clip that we alternate that with a bath and de-shed. It's been over a year since starting this regime and Hank hasn't had one hairball! His owners are thrilled.
Harry is another domestic longhair. Maryland summers are hot and humid, especially if your house doesn't have A/C! Harry's owner doesn't mind so much for herself, but worries about Harry, who is absolutely miserable. This year he's beating the heat in his Lion Clip With A Twist. Even though she knew he would benefit from a clip, his owner worried about whether or not she would like the look. Harry was so good for his groom that I thought I'd take a few extra minutes to add a Twist. She was thrilled! It redirected her worry about 'naked kitty' right into 'how cool does MY cat look?!'
This itty-bitty Himalayan had been to another groomer a month before. Her owner asked to have a mane and legs left long, but what she got wasn't really what she wanted. The groomer did a nice job clipping, but was a little too literal. (We groomers can't win, can we?) Her owner didn't like the close lion clip either, but liked the length she was in currently. Now we do a Comb Clip with a tight head.
MISS PUNKY BEFORE
Miss Punky mostly comes to me for Soft Paws, which makes her fire-y Calico temper easier for her older owners to live with. She always gets a comb out and mini de-shed. Today she got a much-needed bath as well. Her owner, her father AND her vet are always amazed that Punky can be groomed without sedation. Or biting. The truth is, Punk rarely puts a paw wrong with me and she actually enjoys being hand dried.
Lastly, this Persian used to come to me on a regular schedule with lots of home care in between. Home care stopped...and then visits to me slowed. It had been over 5 months since his last grooming, and he was a wreck! We were able to do a full belly clip and large sanitary trim to get out the mats, and a comb clip to make it easier to maintain. I have since changed jobs and no longer groom this cat. I think about him sometimes and hope that his owner has gotten back on track with his grooming.
Are you a professional pet groomer? Why not submit some of your best (or worst) grooming stories and pictures to us? We’d love to feature you and your work on our next Groomer’s Showcase. Send us an email at email@example.com.
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