By Anita Kelsey © 2016
* CAUTION * upsetting images
It would be difficult to imagine a parent buying a pair of pliers to remove a rotten tooth from their child’s mouth instead of taking them to a professional dentist, or grabbing a kitchen knife to remove a wart from their childs finger, instead of going to their local doctor. The parent would go to a dental or medical specialist who has trained in their chosen field for years, wouldn’t they?
So, why is it that cat owners with cats that have matted coats reach for the scissors or scan the internet for clippers rather than call in a professional cat groomer? It’s a question that occurs to me every time I receive a reply from prospective grooming clients telling me that I am too expensive.
Just recently a cat owner, whose cat’s tummy was badly matted, actually sent me a link to a pair of clippers she had just bought to do the job herself. Rather than the expected reply, in which she had hoped for me to give her advice on the right way to use the clippers. I instantly recoiled with horror. What was this lady thinking?
As a professional cat groomer and accredited professional feline behaviourist, I was trained on hundreds of cats with varying personalities, coat types and coat conditions. My training cost me thousands of pounds and took months. I not only had to study and understand a cat’s anatomy and physiology, but the way that clippers work, the dangers of heated clippers (clippers overheat constantly and will burn the skin if someone does not know how to use them properly), clipper irritation (clipping too closely or going over the same area repeatedly), the correct blades to use and how fragile a cat’s skin really is. Cat groomers are trained how to approach different degrees of matting depending on where the matting is on a cat’s body. So despite having the best intentions in the world, a cat owner telling a professional they are going to casually shave their cat’s tummy is highly irresponsible and is doing a great disservice to their cat.
I and other cat groomers have seen at first hand the wounds from irresponsible cat owners who attempted to remove matting from their cats with scissors or clippers, with some even slicing off their cats’ nipples. Yes, groomers charge for their expertise just like any other skilled profession and we’re worth every penny!
But enough about grooming charges. Lets take a look at what a vet would charge for an infected cut.
I spoke to a working professional vet and asked him to give me an approximation of what it would cost for fixing a wound created by scissors or clippers by an unprofessional DIY groomer:
Consultation – £30-£50
Antibiotics – £10-£15
Pain Relief – £10-£15
Stitch up under sedation £200-£300
If it’s an old cat: Pre-Op bloods – £60-£100
Fluids during sedation – £150-£200
Blood pressure monitoring in old animals – £30
Total £460 – £710
Still think hiring a professional cat groomer is expensive?
When you hire someone such as a cat groomer you aren’t just hiring an hour or so of their time. You’re paying for:
- The dozens of books they have read
- The thousands of hours they have studied
- The hundreds of cats they have worked on and learned from
- The experts they have studied under
- The mistakes they have made, so that you don’t have to
- The thousands of pounds/dollars they have invested in various training, certifications, degrees, conferences, continued education and feline behaviour knowledge
- Expert handling of cats
- Expert handling of grooming equipment
- In-depth study of a cats anatomy and physiology
- First aid
Be considerate before you tell a cat groomer that their service isn’t worth the price because you don’t know the price they have paid to offer it to you! *
THE LASTING EFFECTS OF A BAD GROOMING EXPERIENCE
Psychological trauma from a negative grooming experience can stay with a cat for a long period of time, sometimes forever. This can make any future grooming attempts by a professional cat groomer extremely difficult and fraught with danger. Not only will a cat remember the pain and fear from being hurt on a bad groom, it will also react adversely, putting the professional groomer in danger. Grooming should be a pleasant bonding experience; one which benefits both parties. Future regular grooming on a fearful cat may have to be spread over many short sessions, thereby costing far more than the original quote for the holistic groom in the first place.
Some cats I have personally dealt with are so fearful after experiencing trauma during a groom that they have to be sedated for the rest of their lives, just to keep their coat in good condition. The lasting ill affects of a DIY groom should never be underestimated.
* To DogGuyJosh.com for his wording from a dog training poster.
To the vet who quoted costs.
To the cat groomers who sent me their DIY cat grooming wound photo’s
Anita is the author of two cat books ‘Claws. Confessions Of A Professional Cat Groomer‘, published by John Blake and Let’s Talk About Cats. Conversations On Feline Behaviour