Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Shed Happens

Spring is here! It's been unseasonably warm here in Maryland and it feels like we never really had a winter. But most of our furry friends grew in a nice winter coat just in case. And with the exception of today and yesterday, it's been almost hot for several weeks. That means us people are ditching our sweatshirts and coats and our kitties (dogs, ponies, bunnies, etc) are trying to ditch their winter coats as well.

Cookie is SO EXCITED Springtime Shedding is here
So. Excited.

Now. Cats have hair. Generally speaking, hair grows to a genetically determined length and then it falls out. That's why short haired animals seem to shed WAY more than long haired. That short coat grows in very quickly and then it's done. Falls out so the next hair can grow in. Yes, this is a very simplified explanation, but I'm a cat groomer, not a scientist. Sadly, it took about 25 years for me to realize science is awesome, but that's another story. Anyway, cats are always shedding. Shedding hair, shedding skin cells. That's one of the reason regular grooming is so, so important. This constant growth and loss can make a real mess of things if the shedding hair gets trapped with the growing hair, whether it's old hair and new hair getting tangled together  or body oils, saliva or other gunk causing the hair to stick together. These are two examples of why/how mats are formed. 

That got wordy. The point is, it's shedding season! And what happens when cats shed out their winter (or summer!) coats?

Excessive shedding - gross!

Also Gross

Now, regular grooming ( I recommend 6-8 weeks for long coated cats and 8-12 weeks for short coated cats. One average, some cats need to come in much sooner, some can go longer.) prevents most of your usual cat problems. Don't take my word for it, ask my regular customers! But even on a regular schedule, seasonal shedding can get a little out of control. 

Shedding season is happening right now! Put down your vacuum cleaners and Swiffers. It's way easier to have a fabulous cat groomer groom your cat than to do all that extra housework. Plus you get a clean, snuggly soft kitty!

Cookie the Scottish Fold (minus the fold)
After Grooming

After a Professional Groom

Ash. Some mats, some excessive shedding.

This gorgeous cat came in to see me recently. A young cat, I think Ash is just a year or two old. His owner loves his soft, silky coat and told me they thought it was more like rabbit fur than cat hair. He had some tangles, but nothing major and all underneath. I suggested a Full Belly Clip in addition to his Full Coat Groom. This translates to a nose to tail bath (multiple shampoos! Running water! A real bath, no "waterless shampoo" nonsense here!), blow dry, comb out, finishing spray, nail trim, ears wiped, and clipping his armpits, belly, inner thigh/groin area and just under the tail. The Full Belly Clip helps prevent mats and lessens how much brushing his owner needs to do. So that was our plan.

Then she mentioned he was shedding and maybe they should clip him short for the summer. 

Guys. I totally don't mind if you wand your cats shaved. I don't. That is 100% up to you, after all, it's your cat and you live with it and I don't. 

But if you ask me my opinion, I will give it to you.

And she asked what I thought. So I told her. Ash is gorgeous. He has a lovely coat. It's pretty, it's soft and it's shiny. Or would be, once he was groomed. Clearly, his owner loved his coat as well. And I'm sure that's one of the reasons why they got him. So I told her that if it was my cat, I would do the Full Coat Groom and Full Belly Clip. Keep his lovely coat. That shedding can be minimized with regular grooming. And if they really didn't like it or thought he was shedding too much, we could always do a Lion Clip later. But if were up to me, I'd keep his coat.

oh la. The things I put up with!

So that's what we did. I truly hope his owner is happy with staying in full coat. I think he's simply fabulous. I wish you could feel him! I promise you that those last two pictures are of the same cat. Isn't the difference amazing? Look at his stripes! 

Mackeral Tabby Stripes
now visible thanks to a good grooming

Of course, had his owner decided on the Lion Clip, I would have done it. Like I said, it's not my cat that I have to live with. I want the owner to get the haircut they want for their cat. But if you ask me what I would do...or leave the decision up to me, I'm gonna do what makes me happy. And keeping Ash in coat definitely made me happy!

1 comment:

  1. The truth about cat's shedding is that every cat lover must accept it, because this is a normal natural event in the cat’s life. Even humans have periods of hair growth and shedding of hair. Shedding is how animals replenish their fur and keep it in good condition.

    cats that don't shed