Friday, July 29, 2011

Chessie Cats

When I was younger, we had a pretty little tortoiseshell cat named Chessie, after the sleepy train mascot. Since then, I always think of torties as being called Chessie.

I can't remember her name
she's  Chessie to me

This pretty little cat, whose name honestly escapes me because I called her nothing but Chessie while I groomed her, is an older lady in her late teens. 

very matted! 
in fact, it's starting to peel away 

Because of her age and condition in general, I was concerned when she came in panting slightly and drooling. Panting is a Very Bad Thing for cats. It usually means they're overly stressed, and in cats, that can actually be fatal. 

Once I saw how matted this lovely little cat was I had a hunch that not only was she stressed from being caught, captured and carried to the vet, but by her own coat! Ever wear a heavy sweater that's a little bit too tight? It gets hot, it's itchy and suddenly you can't get it off! It's unbearably hot and itchy and your arms are stuck and it's twisting around your torso. You start to panic as it rolls around your neck and head and all you can think is GET IT OFF! 

I don't really like sweaters. Or turtlenecks. And I'm sure I'm not the only one that's ever gotten trapped in a shirt!

Imagine living in a tight sweater that you can't take off. Does it make you feel hot and itchy and sweaty just thinking about it? 

I began to groom Chessie, keeping a very close eye on her breathing and heart rate. She grumbled and growled a bit. Some of the matting was tight to her skin, and tricky to remove. The skin underneath was red and angry looking from the constant pulling and irritation caused by the matting. Ouch!

ugh - imagine that covering your body!

Once the large matted area was removed from her back, everything else clipped off rather easily. Chessie stopped grumbling at me. She stopped drooling. And best of all, she stopped panting! She enjoyed a soothing bubbly Medacetic bath and by the time she was bathed and dried the angry red patches of skin had returned to normal, happy skin. Best of all, Chessie was a happy kitty. She purred, she flicked her tail around in a sassy-cat manner and flopped happily on the grooming table. 

pretty and happy
and just a little bit sassy!

I told her owners about the health risk a poorly maintained coat had caused their elderly kitty and that regular grooming (with me, of course!) would prevent the build of matting and discomfort. They were unaware that their cat was so stressed by her condition. Like most people, they avoided professional grooming because it represented a lot of stress to their cat. The catching, the crate, the car trip, and then the grooming itself. They wanted to avoid that stress for their cat. But they never considered the every day stress she had because of her poor coat condition. It's a common mis-thought, and one that can be corrected easily. 

quiet contemplation

No matter how hard we strive to making the grooming experience a pleasant one, it's no secret that grooming can be stressful for your cat. Since cats are not able to groom themselves effectively, they do need human help! The best way to reduce the stress of grooming for your kitty is to maintain regular grooming appointments with a skilled cat groomer. Of course, I think Certified Feline Master Groomers are the best. 

Keeping your cat in good shape makes grooming easier for them. The process goes much faster and avoids aggravating and stress inducing things like dematting and pelt removal - no fun for kitties or groomers. If your cat is already matted, don't be embarrassed to bring them in! Let a skilled groomer give you and your cat the chance to start over. I always tell people, "I never judge by the first time. The third or fourth though..!"

A good groom can reduce the amount of home care you'll need to do to maintain that perfect, healthy coat. Your groomer will be able to tell you how often a professional groom should be done, and what kind of at home care is needed. Most of my customers don't need to do any home brushing or combing at all! They can just enjoy their cat. Isn't that what it's all about?

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