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So apparently I groom cats now...except I've never done it before.

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  • So apparently I groom cats now...except I've never done it before.

    I just took a job at a vet's office. The last groomer did dogs and cats. I did tell them I would be interested at some point in expanding to cat grooming, but while I was training under the previous groomer she had no cats come in so I couldn't learn from her. I just found out that I have three cats scheduled in the next few weeks, the first one, a calico short hair, on Thursday! It has never been here before and the only note in the schedule is "pet does not handle grooms well." I love cats, but it has been a few years since I have owned one and I do not know how to even begin going about this. I used to think cat bites were no big deal because I got bit a lot by our very cranky kitty as a kid but after reading these boards I don't want either of us to get hurt!

  • #2
    Are you an employee, not an "independent contractor"? I'm asking because if you're an employee, you get worker's comp, so if the cat bites you badly enough that you need to go to the doctor for antibiotics at least you wouldn't be paying for the doctor and the drugs.
    Is there someone there who can help you by holding on to the cat or will you be working alone?
    Do they usually sedate cats who are being groomed?
    You might get lucky and have friendly cats, but this sounds risky to me. I groom cats alone, but I worked for many years with cats in animal shelters and veterinary clinics so I was able to acquire handling skills. In any case, good luck!!

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    • #3
      Just say "no ". If you don't know how to do cats, and they are not sedated, you're putting yourself and the cat at risk. Explain this to the powers that be at your vets office and have them reschedule the cats for another time. I spent a great deal of my time telling people that I'm a trained dog groomer, and not a cat groomer . If the cat does not handle grooming and is matted and needs to be shaved than it needs to be sedated. If the cat handles grooming and can tolerate it, that I refer them to House call Groomers and leave it at that. I will do it is in the best interest of the pet and not the bottom line dollar at the hospital or clinic. also since I have been bitten severely and react severely to the bites I have explained to my office that it is in their best interest to keep me working rather than to have me hospitalized. Good luck to you

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      • #4
        No.

        I taught myself to handle and groom cats with DVDs, books, and no mentor, but I graduated myself into it slowly, working on cats that I know well and trust before jumping into unhandleable cats. I started getting to know cats by just doing nails and brushing. Then I started agreeing to bathing the cats that I never previously from brushing.

        I have a helper around if the cat is known to be difficult. I also still won't shave unless it's necessary.

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        • #5
          If they said the cat doesn't handle grooming, you won't succeed at give him a bath, she's a shorthair so I doubt she only came for matts.
          How do they use to work with cats ?
          The ones that are used to be groomed are usually as sweet as a dog, you just need to be a little more attentive to their moves.

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          • #6
            I was a full time Vet tech from 1981 to 2008 before I started my own business as a cat only grooming and boarding facility. At all the Vet clinics I worked at, I groomed cats in some way and I didn't think any differently about it than "grooming" the dogs I was also expected to do. In fact, I preferred the cats because they don't shake water and drench you every few seconds while bathing. Now, none of the Vet clinics I worked at had actual groomers. If clients wanted something other than shave downs or baths, they had to find a qualified groomer on their own.
            Pretty much all of the Vet clinics I worked at would automatically sedate any cat that so much as hissed at whomever was supposed to groom it. They tend to be "assembly line" groomers and get it done as quickly and efficiently as possible mentality. Even the last Vet (a cat only Vet) I groomed for until Aristocats was financially secure would ask me if I wanted a cat sedated if it was growling. Since Vets get most of the otherwise ungroomable cats, I did take her up on some of the most unmanageable cases, but I still tended to groom about 90% without sedation. Since I quit grooming there, she told me that they just sedate most of the cats now.
            So Capricorn, if there is a problem with the cat in question, I am sure the Vet will not hesitate to sedate.

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            • #7
              Stop the sedation !!............why is it that I've been grooming cats for 8 years and I've NEVER had to sedate a cat to groom ?? I'll tell you why.......because I went to the NCGIA to learn the PROPER ways to handle and groom a cat.......plus you learn the tools that you need to do the job. Grooming at cat is totally different than grooming a dog, and my website speaks a little about that.

              1). On/off table as close to an hour as possible (1 hour 15 minutes max) After that, the cat turns into a ticking time bomb
              2). Three baths......2 with degreasing shampoo, 1 with tearless, hypo shampoo, no conditioner
              3). Leash around body, NOT NECK
              4). Cool air HV dryer, (low speed around head), NOT HOT AIR
              5). Comb mats out while drying
              6). Do all clipping before bath (lion cut) stop 1" down front legs, cut to hock on back legs
              7). Use an Air Muzzle for aggressive cats

              I would tell your employer that you are not qualified to groom cats and to refer them to another groomer. You might want to check out your nearest Persian Rescue group to see who they send their cats to.

              Dolly's Barking Bubbles, LLC
              CFMG 2-69-89

              www.dollysbarkingbubbles.com

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              • #8
                Ha! Love it!
                I worked at vet clinics and at shelters giving meds. I remember that we definitely had a "git 'er done" attitude. Sometimes I feel like cat grooming gets "overthunk" nowadays. The things I used to do without a care in the world would have me shaking in my boots today.

                Originally posted by Aristocats View Post
                I was a full time Vet tech from 1981 to 2008 before I started my own business as a cat only grooming and boarding facility. At all the Vet clinics I worked at, I groomed cats in some way and I didn't think any differently about it than "grooming" the dogs I was also expected to do. In fact, I preferred the cats because they don't shake water and drench you every few seconds while bathing. Now, none of the Vet clinics I worked at had actual groomers. If clients wanted something other than shave downs or baths, they had to find a qualified groomer on their own.
                Pretty much all of the Vet clinics I worked at would automatically sedate any cat that so much as hissed at whomever was supposed to groom it. They tend to be "assembly line" groomers and get it done as quickly and efficiently as possible mentality. Even the last Vet (a cat only Vet) I groomed for until Aristocats was financially secure would ask me if I wanted a cat sedated if it was growling. Since Vets get most of the otherwise ungroomable cats, I did take her up on some of the most unmanageable cases, but I still tended to groom about 90% without sedation. Since I quit grooming there, she told me that they just sedate most of the cats now.
                So Capricorn, if there is a problem with the cat in question, I am sure the Vet will not hesitate to sedate.

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                • #9
                  Update: I sought out the kennel manager because I saw her bathing a cat last week and asked her advice as well. I was not comfortable working on the cat alone and since she will be working tomorrow she offered to help me bathe the kitty. I have been booked a shave later in the weekend and I think I will be rescheduling them to the other groomer (who does not come back until later in January) since she has marginally more experience with cats. Perhaps together we can figure this out! I do not know another place that grooms cats and in my last salon I would refer them to the vet since we did not do them...which I guess is now me! So I think it is likely I will need to learn them at some point but I will stick to learning to bathe and brush first!

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                  • #10
                    I think you'll do fine. I have a few suggestions, if you'd like. They're basic, and you'd probably figure these out on your own.
                    Wear long sleeves, just in case kitty gets grumpy. Even though cat scratches are usually not a big deal, it's more comfortable to not be scratched
                    Try to make the atmosphere calm, so no vacuuming or other loud noises during or before the grooming.
                    Don't wear dangly jewelry, since paws might get caught in them.
                    Big towels can be used to swaddle -- gently immobilize -- a wiggly kitty. I use them occasionally if I am doing a claw trim on a wiggly cat. You wrap them up like a burrito and pull out the paw you need.
                    If the cats start to pant, give them a break. They don't pant unless they are stressed or sick or way too hot. Dogs pant often. Cats almost never pant.
                    Cat body temperature is a couple degrees higher than dog temperature, so try to keep the water warm and don't put them on cold surfaces if you can avoid it. Cats love to be warm.
                    Rinse, rinse, rinse. Since cats lick themselves, they will taste any residue of shampoo. You don't want the owner to call saying their cat is foaming at the mouth.
                    Cat skin is thinner than dog skin. The belly, underarm and groin are especially thin. Just keep that in mind if you shave. Try to pull the skin taut so your blade doesn't nick the skin.
                    Good luck. You'll do great.

                    Originally posted by Capricorn View Post
                    Update: I sought out the kennel manager because I saw her bathing a cat last week and asked her advice as well. I was not comfortable working on the cat alone and since she will be working tomorrow she offered to help me bathe the kitty. I have been booked a shave later in the weekend and I think I will be rescheduling them to the other groomer (who does not come back until later in January) since she has marginally more experience with cats. Perhaps together we can figure this out! I do not know another place that grooms cats and in my last salon I would refer them to the vet since we did not do them...which I guess is now me! So I think it is likely I will need to learn them at some point but I will stick to learning to bathe and brush first!

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                    • #11
                      Thank you everyone! Kitty ended up getting sedated because the owners felt it would be best too since she was very high strung. I clipped her claws, trimmed the fur on her rear at the owners request, gave her a good bath with warm water, and dried her with a low-powered cool air HV drier. Kitty started waking up just as I was finishing brushing and then she went back into her cat carrier so she felt safe again. All in all I think it went pretty well. I have another kitty this weekend that is supposed to be a sweet boy and potentially a shave. I think I will give him a (careful!) try. It's so nice to be interacting with kitties again!

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