I don't do a lot of cat grooming.
Oh, I love cats.
I have had cats all of my life.
I have baby pictures of myself with cats.
I own several cats now.
But grooming them...that is a whole other story.
The grooming school that I went to did not teach much on cat grooming.
I can only remember bathing two cats.
Both were short hair cats that were in for flea baths and Dips.
There I go, telling my age again.
Grooming School for me was way back before any kind of topical, or internal flea products.
That dip was nasty stuff.
God only knows what it was doing to my liver and kidneys.
Reading the warnings on those Dip bottles was enough to make you quit grooming.
They still make and sell Flea Dip, and I am sure that there are a lot of groomers out there that still use the stuff.
I won't touch it with a 10 foot pole.
Okay, I got off track, back to cat grooming.
As I said before, I learned how to give a cat a flea bath at least.
I learned one other thing about Cat grooming in Grooming School...what to do when a cat has a reaction to Flea Dip.
After I graduated Grooming School I was asked to stay on and groom the dogs that students were not able to get to during school hours.
I came into work one day, only to find out that both the beginning and advanced grooming teachers had quit over night, I was asked to take over the beginning grooming classes.
Looking back at it now, I probably should have never accepted that job.
After all, I had only graduated a couple of months before this.
I was so tickled at the time that the owner of the school had asked me to take over those beginner classes.
I was too naive, or just too dumb to realize that the schools owner was in a bind, with both of her teachers quitting at the same time, that I was the easiest replacement for her. (she took over teaching the advanced class)
Got off track again. :/
Anyway, one day I was showing the new grooming students how to bathe and Flea Dip a cat.
Everything was going great.
The cat was so good.
I poured the Dip all over her and then put her in a kennel.
Then it happened.
That sweet calm cat suddenly went nuts, crazy, berserk.
She was in a wire kennel and she suddenly started climbing the walls of the kennel, screaming.
I did not know what was going on, or what to do.
I grabbed the phone and called over to the schools office across the street.
The owner answered and told me to quickly rinse the Dip off of the cat after I told her what was going on.
She also told me that she would be right over.
I hung up the phone and grabbed the crazed cat out of the kennel.
With horrified grooming students gathered around the tub, I started rinsing the Dip off of the cat.
The cat almost immediately relaxed and became calm.
The whole time I was rinsing the cat, all I could think was; 'where the he** is the owner of the school?'
Once the cat was all rinsed, I wrapped it in a towel and turned away from the tub.
Standing in the bathing room doorway, with her arms folded and her shoulder leaning against the frame of the door, was the owner of the school.
I can still remember that stupid grin that she had on her face.
"I knew you could handle it," she told me.
"The cat just had a reaction to the Dip," she continued.
"All you had to do was rinse the Dip off."
Now, I have to admit that I am very good under stress.
It is after it is all over that I start to shake and feel like I am going to fall apart.
I was so angry.
How could she be so nonchalant about what just happened.
I was never taught what to do in a situation like that!
What if she hadn't been there? (which she wasn't a lot of the time)
What if the cat had not calmed down?
What if the cat had hurt itself while in the kennel?
What if I had not been able to get a hold of the cat again to rinse it off?
She thought that I was making too big of a deal about it.
I quit soon after this.
After that I refused to Dip anymore cats.
I still groomed them.
I still gave flea bathes.
I read books and taught myself how to groom cats.
I taught myself how to clip them also.
I did an okay job.
But, I didn't really have that many requests for cat grooming.
Eventually, I stopped doing clips on cats.
I would comb out and bath, but I left clipping to other groomers.
Then one day the local cat Vet called to ask if they could send their cat customers to us for grooming, because their groomer quit.
We told them that we did not clip cats but that we would take bathes and comb outs.
Good grief, I never expected all the calls that we got.
After while we had to start turning some away.
Then the day came that a black and white domestic medium length hair cat came in for a comb out.
The cat was great.
He just lay on my table and let me comb and brush all of his dead coat out.
He looked really nice when I was finished.
He never got upset.
He never growled.
He never flattened his ears back in anger.
His tail never did that angry twitch that they do when they are getting pissed.
I picked him up to carry him out to his owner, who had been waiting in my lobby.
I was almost to the grooming room door when...chomp!
That calm, sweet cat just nonchalantly bent his head and his nice dirty kitty cat teeth sank into my forearm.
Three times in quick succession.
The problem was that the cat did not just rapidly bite and move away, but after the last bite, he stayed locked on my arm.
What did I do?
I waited for him to release my arm.
I could not pull my arm away, because the bite would have turned into a rip.
After what seemed like forever, but was in actuality only a minute or two, he calmly let go of my arm.
Unbelievably, this cat still did not appear to be mad or upset in any way, other than he just tried to eat me alive.
I took the cat out to his owner and informed her that her cat had bitten me.
She was more upset that I must have done something to make the cat bite me, then the fact that the cat had bitten me.
I went straight to the tub and started to squeeze the bite, like I do whenever a dog bites, to get out as much dirty blood and flush the bite.
Not one of those three deep cat bites bled.
I could not get one drop of blood out of any of them.
Really not good!
I cleaned the bite as best that I could.
When I got up the next day the bites were red.
By that afternoon the red around the bites was moving up my arm.
After I finished my last dog of the day, half of my arm was red.
I went to the ER.
Needless to say, I got a good talking to from the Doctor for waiting so long to come in, and a lot of antibiotics.
I got something else also.
A little fear.
A little nibble of fear that always seems to pop up now when I am working on a cat.
Maybe it is because that cat never showed any signs of getting ready to do what he did.
The fear has not stopped me from grooming cats, although we did call the cat Vet and ask them to stop sending cats to us at the time.
I don't like that nibble of fear being there.
I always work through it, but it is still there.
Friday I had a Ragdoll cat come in to get a few small mats removed from her belly.
Well, that was what the owner said when she called and asked to bring the cat over.
The cats owner also has a Bichon that I groom regularly.
Don't let this picture fool you, she is a very sweet cat, she just does not care to be brushed.
Unfortunately, a few little mats turned out to be one giant, tight mat that ran from between the cats front legs all of the way down to her belly and between her back legs.
Cat skin always seems like tissue paper to me.
It is so easily nicked.
Once nicked, that tiny nick can run like a women's nylon.
Needless to say, I am not crazy about shaving a cat.
The mat was so tight to this cats skin.
She was being so wonderful just laying there on her side, letting me clip.
I clipped and clipped.
Keeping a watchful eye out for those little, ity, bity, teeny, weeny kitty nipples that were hiding under those tight mats.
It wasn't the prettiest shaved kitty belly, but nothing was nicked, she was now mat free, and she was starting to get a little pissed with the whole process.
It took me about 20 minutes to clip that belly.
It seemed way too long, but I was purposely going very slowly.
As I said before, I am self taught when it comes to grooming cats.
I would like to learn more and better.
I would also like to get rid of that nagging nibble of fear.
I would love to take the cat grooming course at the National Cat Groomers Institute.
I feel that it would give me much more confidence when it came to grooming cats.
It is a two week course.
Two weeks away from my shop.
Two weeks of no pay.
Not to mention the cost of tuition and staying at a hotel for two weeks.
I wish that I was young again.
Without the responsibilities of a family and a business.
When you could leave home for two weeks to further your education.
I am not going to give up.
I am going to keep looking into it.
I would love to have CFMG behind my name.
I would love to get rid of that little nibble of fear.☺
Happy Grooming, MFF