Thursday, July 18, 2013

Feelin' Hot, Hot, Hot? Part 1

Here in Maryland, as in most parts of the country, it's about a billion degrees. Okay, that might be a slight exaggeration, but the Weather Channel tells me that it's 93 degrees and 52% humidity and it feels like 103! Toasty!


A comb clip helps Hank stay cool as a cucumber and Hairball free.
Look at his smug kitty face, he knows it!

It's very important to make sure all living beings, cats, dogs, horses, humans, bunnies, etc, etc, etc, have access to live saving things like Shelter and Fresh Water. These hot days can easily take the lives of our beloved friends and family, no matter how many legs they have. Check out these tips from Pet Finder and the ASPCA.



I'm blanking on this cat's name, but he's the perfect example for today's post. There are a variety of ways professional grooming can help keep your cat cool. Over the next week or so, I'm going to share with you 3 major ways to help keep your cat comfortable and happy during these hot summer days.

Let's start with the Comb Clip. Comb Clips are an all over haircut in which a skilled cat groomer can leave the hair up to about an inch all over. Think of it as a teddy clip, or kitten clip. This is perfect for someone that doesn't want to have their cat in full coat, but also doesn't want the "naked" look of a full Lion Clip. Most Comb Clips I do are about 1/2 to 3/4 of an inch which tends to look the nicest. It's plush and fuzzy with little maintenance required.

Now, the one drawback of the Comb Clip is that it tends to live little lines in the coat, like corduroy. Because cats can not be scissored smooth like dogs, the groomer and owner need to accept that the coat will not immediately look perfectly smooth. Luckily, unlike dogs, with cats those lines soften in a week or so and everything smooths out quickly. As a perfectionist, this is hard for me to accept! I do my best to clip carefully and prevent those lines, but they happen. Depending on the coat type, a shorter or longer length will reduce lines, but it takes a bit of playing around to find the sweet spot. Hank, shown above sports a 3/4" Comb Clip year round.



Back to our mystery cat, whom I think I'll nickname Tom. Tom has a super thick, plush coat. You can see he's got some dandruff plus a lot of loose, shedding hairs sitting on top. He's also toting around dead hair packed in his coat, among the live, healthy hair. Tom is HOT. Cat's need to have all that dead undercoat removed to keep their coat functioning as it should. Hair is an insulator, and helps cool the animal, but only if air can move freely. Not possible with packed or dead hair sitting there.

Tom is an indoor/outdoor cat. His owner is friends and neighbors with one of my regular clients, and finally decided to take the plunge and get him professionally groomed. (See how I can remember his story and talking with his owner, but can not remember his name? Frustrating!) She hoped it would help him stay cool and comfortable this summer.



After his bath and blow dry, he's what we have. That dead coat has been combed out. Man, his coat is plush! This picture was hard to take, because Tom was loving his grooming! Middle aged cat, never groomed before, and he loved every minute of it!


He spent most of the time rubbing against me, purring and blinking happily at me. 
What a wonderful cat! Such a pleasure to work with.




After his 3/4" clip. Doesn't he look just like a stuffed toy? I think this was the perfect length for him. It blended well with the shorter hair on his thighs and shoulders. Tom seemed pretty happy with his new look and his owner loved it. I even got a hug!

Now, besides the aesthetic appeal of the Comb Clip, the benefits are many. First, this is a much easier coat to maintain than a full, natural coat. That means minimal work at home, reducing the need means the owner and cat can enjoy their at home grooming sessions, rather than see them as a necessary struggle.

Secondly, this is the ideal clip for a cat that goes outside. A full coat easily tangles and mats. Plus it tends to catch every dead leaf, burrs, mulch, and other gross outdoor things. If objects do catch in a Comb Clip, they are much easier to remove.

The Comb Clip offers protection from the sun, preventing sunburn. Believe it or not, cats can sunburn! They can also get skin cancer. While there are pet sunscreens, they're not safe for cats, because they'll lick it and ingest it. Never use human sunscreen on kitties!

The Comb Clip allows the coat to function properly as an insulator, keeping kitty cool.

I wish I had gotten a few more pictures of Tom. He's a pretty cool cat and I really enjoyed grooming him. I know I'll see him again, and that makes me happy. I'll see if I can't look in my records and find his real name!


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