Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Groom Him!

The other day one of my co-workers carried a cat back to my grooming closet and said, "This is Bubba, he's getting groomed."

Uhhhhhhh...ok. I'm the cat groomer. He's a cat. A very handsome British Blue, with a short coat, no signs of matting, excess shedding, dandruff or grease. Other than being a bit oily, he looked in good shape. This assessment didn't help me deduce what kind of grooming was wanted.

"Okay, how?" I asked. "What does his owner want?" I thought this was a reasonable question to ask, and expected to get a response like, oh, they want a good bath and comb out. Or, a lion clip. Something.

So after a blank look, ("you know, groomed!"), a shrug and a "I'd better go find out!", she came back with the news Bubba was to get a bath and comb out.

I guess to some people that may be obvious. Short hair cat. Gets bath. Duh. But just because a cat has short hair, doesn't mean his owners want "just a bath". (Boy do I hate that phrase! I do so much more than "just a bath"!)

Meet Lexus. She's a wonderful Domestic Short Hair. I love grooming her, she's very sweet and agreeable. And she makes great o.O faces. When Lexus comes to visit me we do one of three things:

Lexus! This is more of a 0.0 face

Between Grooming Nail Trim and De Shed. This is exactly what it sounds like. Between regular grooming appointments (usually about 4-6 weeks) I trim her nails and use my Romani shedding rake. It's great - attached to a Clipper Vac it easily and effiecently removes excess hair. Instead of having to comb and comb and comb, and brush and brush and brush, and then comb and comb and comb again, getting covered in hair in the process, I just run the rake through her coat and it's sucked away! Love it!

The benefit here is that (1) the nails get trimmed, protecting furniture and carpets from being clawed up, (2) any shedding hair is removed. Makes it more worthwhile to load up the cat and drive out. Plus it cuts down on the potential for hairballs, or an unwelcomed layer of cat hair on everything. And (3) it's inexpensive. It's a quick freshen up for kitty that makes the both of you feel good but only costs a little bit.

after a comb through and de shed

Bath, Comb Out and De Shed. During the winter and spring Lexus stays in coat. It's important to keep up with her grooming though. She still sheds like crazy, and she needs to have the body oils removed, so she's not a greasy mess. Short hair cats are also prone to matting! It makes a huge difference - a thorough bath, blow dry and then the Vac de shedding treatment. Her owner reports there is much less vacuuming after this!

soft, silky and sassy!

Lion Clip. Yup! Short Hair cats can get lion clips too! In the summer, Lexus sometimes gets a lion clip to help her stay cool and comfy. This is the ultimate low maintenance 'do and is great for summer time, which can be especially busy with vacations, travel and long evenings on the porch sipping lemonade. (Ok, it's chilly and raining right now. I may be day dreaming a bit!)

So there you have it. One cat, three different grooms. I always prefer to talk to the kitty's owner when they drop off, that way I know what they want, or what problems they have with their cat, so I can offer solutions they may not even know they have! How wonderful to go from thinking your excessively shedding cat HAS to be shaved to knowing you can have a good bath and de shed, keep your cat in coat and not have the problem of shedding hair!

Plus, as a Certified Feline Creative Groomer, sometimes "do whatever you want" might turn into this:

Mr Toes, a Domestic Short Hair gets swallowed by a shark,
a direct result of my brother telling me "you can do whatever you want to him"
Thanks Kevin!!!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Spots or Not

I love Siberians. They're big, sturdy cats with big paws. They're triple coated. They're beautiful, have tons of personality and are lots of fun! JD is a gorgeous Siberian that I had groomed quite awhile ago, somewhere else. I missed him, and hoped he would find me at my new job.

And he did!

And boy, is it a good thing!

one big, greasy, oily cat

JD's owners take good care of him, including trying to have him professionally groomed to keep him in tip top shape. In fact, the first time I met JD was several years ago at a different job. We both get around! It stuck in my mind because I didn't get to groom him - but I was confused by the breed Siberian on the schedule and the lack of Husky dogs in the shop. I didn't even know there were Siberian cats!

curiosity doesn't kill the cat - just the clarity of the picture!

JD actually stopped being professionally groomed for a time. Why? Because his owners didn't see the point in paying for professional grooming when their cat didn't look any better afterwards. I totally agree with them. But this is a topic for another day. And believe me, I have a lot to say on the subject! 

Because JD's owner and I have a mutual friend who knew I was into cat grooming, and then completed the NCGIA's school for cat grooming and became both a CFMG and a CFCG, they ended up bringing JD to me. For not being professionally groomed in awhile, or maybe I should say properly groomed in ever, JD was in ok condition. Oily as anything, but without mats or tangles. Same as when he came to see me recently. 

that separation is a clear sign of a greasy cat
he actually looks slick to the touch (and he was!)

As you might expect I was just as able to transform JD this time as I was last year. He went from a oily, lank haired, chunky coated, slightly discolored greaseball into a beautiful cat you couldn't wait to touch and snuggle with. And in the process, something very interesting happened.

what a difference a bath and blow dry make!

Can you guess what it is? Is it that he's relaxed enough to stay in (soft) focus? Is it the the silky smooth flow to his coat? Is it that his whites are white instead of a dingy off white/off yellow?


That's right! I was able to change his indistinct, smudged coat non pattern into clear spots and bars. How cool is that?

mackeral stripes on the side, spots up top

Neat, huh? I had completely forgotten about his spots. I was thrilled to see such a clear pattern show up. It's one of the things that makes grooming cats so dang interesting. I was ecstatic to see JD again and beyond thrilled to be able to change his appearance so drastically. Also, let me point out that the banner for The Finical Feline features a Siberian, Sunny, who I believe is JD's brother or half brother!

It should be noted that it is correct for Siberians to be more coarse coated and oily. They should have a "weather resistant" coat and their standard penalizes a coat too soft, fluffy or silky. American Sibs, I think, tend to not be as concerned about preserving proper texture as we should. The FIFe breed standard addresses this more than I saw in the TICA or CFA standards. Which makes sense, since this is a Russian cat. I would also like to note that JD's hair is appropriately textured. Good bathing simply removes the 'weatherproofing'. He's a house cat. A pet. He should be clean, so that he can be enjoyable to his people and honestly, more suitable to his environment.

which would you rather live with
oily or clean?
chunky or flowing?
spots...or not?

Monday, May 9, 2011

With a Twist

Recently my friend asked me to groom her cat. Harry is a Domestic Medium Hair that was found in a dumpster, with his brother Ron, at about 6 or so weeks old. I don't remember the story, but somehow they ended up living with my friend as "first cats". They've been quite the pair! But she loves 'em.

Anyway, Harry gets hot in the summer and lives in a non air conditioned home. So this year we decided to put him in a lion clip to help him stay cool. My friend knew she wanted to do this, and should do it, for Harry's sake, but she wasn't sure if she would like how it would look. And because she's my friend and we once cut class together, I figured I could do something special.

 staring longingly at the hung up smocks

You know, something fun to distract her, just in case she didn't like his new look. Something she would enjoy, even if she did like the lion clip. Something that would be fun for me to try.


I have always wanted to try doing a ribbon tail. I *love* how it looks! It's harder than I thought, and I had anticipated it being tricky. Very happy I finally got to try it out. Lots of practice and perfecting still needed!  Harry could take it or leave it.

meh. Leave it.

His owner ended up loving his new 'do', but she especially liked his fancy new tail! She was happy, I was happy, and Harry...well, Harry will be more comfortable this summer. Despite being a Very Good Kitty, he didn't much care for being groomed. He thought snuggling into the smocks hanging next to the table would be way better.

one more. Because it is so cool looking!

I just have to add this comment Harry's owner left me: 

so i just had to leave you a note and tell you how much happier Harry is lately! He's been acting like a different cat and I think it has something to do with his new do! (can we shave Ron down too....? lol)

Happy cats. Happy owners. It's what I do!