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The 3.5 hour cat...

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  • The 3.5 hour cat...

    So I get this Himalayan in.. owner says it has some mats, but hopes I won't have to shave it down. I said I'd see what I can do.

    I get the cat on the table, and immediately feel huge clots of fur.. 2 (larger than a man's hand) on the sides of the cat, then more littler ones underneath.

    I'd had the owner sign the matted pet release form (which states the pet would have to be shaved to the skin etc) even before I saw the cat.. thank goodness!

    So it takes an hour just to remove the mats on the sides. Another hour worth of shaving the underbelly and legs. The cat was fine for all the shaving.. but the bath totally freaked him out.. we had to hold him so tightly we accidently left red marks on his skin (but the owner understood)..

    And he was fine for the blowdrying.. then I was finishing up making the coat even (had to switch between the 10, 15, and 40 to get the mats off) when grandma comes. Took another 15 minutes to get the tail sorted out and even up the cut (lion trim).

    It might not have taken quite so long, except the last groomer had knocked his hip out of joint, and it'd needed surgery, so we had to be ultra careful with all his handling.. that's why when he freaked we couldn't let him loose because if he'd jumped onto the floor he likely would have gotten more injured than the bruises from holding on tightly.

    Sigh.. I'm having a sale on the grooming because of being a new business and all.. so.. much too little pay for too much work!
    Last edited by diemonster; 05-03-07, 05:42 PM.

  • #2

    god bless you for that job and what matted pet release are you talking about its a great idea. congrats on your business too I cant wait to open one of my own some day


    • #3
      Been there, hate it. I had one client think their cat had a tumor under the mat. They thought thats why the mat was so big. I kindof wondered myself because it was 4 inches high on the back and about 3 inches wide. But it was just a hughe mat. THey couldn't figure out how it got there. I wouldn't have offered the "sale" for a cat that took that much work/time. If I quote a price too low I try and make up for it with the matting cost, I would have added a special handling fee too......


      • #4
        What we do at the shop I work at, is if the cat has a huge mat or is actually one big mat, we save the big pelts to show the owner what the cat went through while wearing this huge mess. We also save all scabs or anything that could be questionable by the client with pictures so that they can see we were not causing harm, but trying to help.

        I think its good for the client to see the dry skin and other yuckies that are actually in the pelt--talk about an eye opener!


        • #5
          I created my own matted pet release form. I should have it approved by an attorney (but haven't done that quite yet).

          Here's what it says (and any of y'all are welcome to use it, but you'll want to have it approved by your attorney first).

          It has the name of my business, address, and phone # at the top.

          "My pet____________'s coat has become tangled into mats which are a danger to my pet's health. Shaving the mats off will be necessary. Shaving means that my pet will have NO HAIR remaining in the areas that are matted. I realize the styling options may be limited with what coat (if any) remains after the mats are removed.

          The process of removing the mats is difficult when the mats are close to the skin, and care will be taken, however injury to the skin could occur. Removal of mats may also uncover pre-existing conditions, such as wounds, parasites, or other abnormalities. Matted ears are also prone to developing hematomas when the ears are shaved. I will not hold this salon responsible for accidental injury or any condition related to or caused by the matted condition of my pet.



          • #6
            I HATE doing cats, and that is why they are 3 x's the price of dogs, if they don't like the price, I don't care!
            The only cats I see are SUPER matted...
            I don't like the risk, or stressing a cat. If the cat gets upset I am DONE, if it hisses, bye bye...
            I don't go back over the cat, it looks terrible but I don't care, I am there to shave it, get it out of its matted misery and beg the owner to bring it in to be combed out and furminated.


            • #7
              diemonster, I like your release form. I'm thinking I may make some copies and use it too.

              I don't do cats, but if I did I sure would charge an arm and a leg to do them. Spending 3 1/2 hours on that cat I wouldn't have given them a cheap price, that is a lot of work for little pay.
              "There is no psychiatrist in the world like a puppy licking your face."


              • #8
                Wow, he must have been a great cat to put up with 3.5 hours! Even my best cats will only tolerate about 1.5 hours before they start "warning" me. Glad you were able to help the poor guy though; they sure hate being matted & filthy.


                • #9
                  That is so sad.

                  Can I be honest? If I had a cat that was so afraid of a bath that I had to hold it firmly enough to cause red marks, I would not have bathed it.

                  Cats are pretty good at cleaning themselves when they don't have any hair, lol. Sometimes, ya just gotta let it go.

                  Also, it is situations like this that make me think Sales are a bad idea. I'm glad you were able to make the cat more comfortable, and shame on the last groomer---how did that happen? If you can groom a cat for 3.5 hours and the cat is sweet, how could that have happened (the hip issue)? WOW.

                  Tammy in Utah
                  Groomers Helper Affiliate


                  • #10
                    I don't mind grooming cats as long as they're well behaved. My cats are probably the worst behaved out of all the cats I groom..figures. He was very tolerant to let you work on him for that long. Bless your heart - I'm sure the whole time you were working on him you were thinking about that darn sale...Ugh! Oh well, win some lose some. I would have done what PetsRus metioned and tacked on a couple extra fees, such as handling, extra mats, etc. Also there is waterless shampoo, I can't recall the brand I use, but it's safe for cats. I would maybe have resorted to the waterless if kitty was throwing a hissy fit and then just tell the owner - this is what we had to do under the circumstances. Anyway, it's a thought. Hindsight is always 20/20. Pat yourself on the back for a job well done! Hope the owner gave ya a tip!!!


                    • #11
                      I totally agree about stopping the bath as soon as I realized he'd react that way.. however it all happened so fast.. in school we learned to bathe cats by gently lowering them into a bucket of soapy water (their hind paws rest on the bottom, and the front ones on the edge of the bucket.. the head stays out of the water the whole time of course). So he was about halfway into the bucket when he realized what was going on and flailed so hard that the marks were created in trying to simply hold onto a cat who is several feet above the ground, splashing slippery soapy water around. By then he was soapy, and we had to finish rinsing him etc... but the damage was done.

                      Apparently the reason he reacted so badly was because it was during the bath that he was originally injured (the owners didn't tell us this until AFTER the groom.. sigh.. before they just said they didn't know how he'd gotten hurt).

                      The only thing I can think of was that maybe he tried to get away and the previous groomer caught him by one leg.. seems like that would pop a joint pretty quickly.

                      The owners understood, and I hope they'll be rebooking in a couple months just for a brushout.. I won't bathe that cat again! (And actually I'm going to institute a new policy that unless a cat is covered in oil or something, I won't be bathing them. Shave downs ok.. but as Tammy said, cats can generally clean themselves!


                      • #12
                        harness method

                        dosnt anyone else use the harness method when bathing cats?
                        i know my last boss used to put a noose around the cats necks and bathe them that was pretty scary for me when the cats freaking out and im thinking its going to snap its neck! thankfully for me i read on this board about the harness method and used that. basically itjust requires two grooming loops. first goes around one side of the neck/shoulder area and around the opposite arm, the second goes around the other side/arm, therefore creating a harness. this way the kitty dosnt get injured, theres no way to cause an injury to THEM by them jumping out of the tub, you trying to grab the cat etc etc. basically they just swing keeps them restrained, and if they are really freaking out then just forget the bath all together. also what about a cat bag? this is why these tools where HELP us bathe and groom kittys! cats need bathe's too...alibet not as often as dogs do but there ARE cats out there that are either, to fat to reach to groom themselves, have extremly bad dandruff issues, have itchy dry allergy skin, or have just given up caring about grooming themselves all together. personally i wouldnt be putting a powder type of bathe on a cat as they can ingest this powder and who's to say it dosnt make the cat sick in some way? try the harness method...sometimes they can get out but thats where you step in and put them back in it or tighten the noose down...thats about it.


                        • #13
                          I do cats but only 1 sunday a month and that is usually my most relaxed day. I charge just a bit more for cats then I do dogs but the cats I do are great.

                          I use a Cat Bag for bathing and doing the back ends of cats when clipping and I find them to be a HUGE help to us and I can safetly get cats completly bathed without endangering them or me.


                          • #14
                            Thanks so much for the great ideas! I'd not heard of the harness method, or the bag (slapping self on forehead). Guess they don't teach you everything in school! hehe


                            • #15
                              yes the harness method is ALOT safer because then you can put the cat into the tub rather than dipping into a bucket. (ive NEVER heard of this being done...if i was a cat i wouldnt want to be put into a bucket either!) what i do for my OWN cat though is i wash him in the kitchen sink, we have a spray nozzle attachment so i just use that and scruff him with one hand, wet him down, put shampoo on, scrub him up, and then rinse off all with one hand. i would do the harness method except we dont have anywhere to hook him up at and the sink is to shallow to do this anyways. you can get cat bags from they sell them in 3 sizes. i think the largest size only costs about 10 bucks. i wouldnt buy the harness from petedge though...others have said they spend more time trying to readjust the harness to fit diffrent cats. i find it was easier to just use two grooming loops, it works much easier and your not trying to poke kittys arms through harness leg holes LOL! its alot harder to put a harness on a cat than two grooming loops! plus all you have to do then is just slip the clasp up and boom kittys free!
                              good luck!
                              ps....this way also with the harness method they cannot jump over the sides of the tub...or if they manage to they arent going anywhere because they are just kinda hanging there....LOL! sometimes they manage to flip themselves back over too. and it also works out if the cat is really freaking out...just let them freak out and then eventually they will calm down. also for those kittys with claws...i learned once because a cat decided it was going to attach itself to my upperbody head area....i didnt learn about the harness method at that time...but boy was i sure alot more cautious when the cat freaked out i scruffed it (it launched it self at ME!) and it attached itself to my shirt! i tried to remove it and it just climbed up my upperbody until i was standing there with it trying to climb over my head, holding it away from my face with my hand and yelling for my boss to come help get the cat off me because i couldnt. it didnt scratch me or anything...just took me by surprise more than anything! also if the kitty decides to launch themselves off the grooming table they arent going anywhere...and this way you can raise the grooming arm a little higher up and just give the cat enough leeway so they can grab onto the end of the table for security.