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Looking Purrrfect

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Pet pampering is reaching new extremes and even cats are getting into the grooming act with stores offering styling services that range from desensitization treatments and chin exfoliations to hot towel wraps and Brazilian fur blow-outs.

Whether customers want their cat to have a lion cut or they are simply learning how to eliminate dandruff with a Dead Sea Salt treatment, it’s obvious that the market for feline pampering is on the rise.

Spas like the Cat’s Meow in California are offering a wide selection of spa treatments performed in private sound-proofed rooms with cat calming pheromones and lavender hydrosols circulated throughout to foster the ultimate in feline relaxation. But if you’re not quite ready for that upgrade, there are many suggestions you can make to your cat-loving customers.

The first rule of grooming a cat is respecting a feline’s tolerance levels. Cat owners now have access to many tools that make grooming a cat simple. ThunderShirt’s patented design applies a gentle, constant pressure that has a dramatic calming effect for most cats. Holistic remedies, such as Rescue Remedy or Feliway, can help reduce stress during grooming.

“The most helpful trick to make grooming sessions fun and enjoyable for both you and your cat is to start early,” Eika Haas, CVT, NCMG and owner of Purrrfet Paws, LLC in Windsor, Colo., said. “The earlier a kitten learns that being handled and manipulated is OK, the better off you, your cat, your groomer and veterinarian will be.”

Most Difficult

“Nail trimming can be the most difficult task of grooming your cat, yet it is the most important,” Haas said. “The claws of a cat collect bacteria that can result in damage not only to your furniture, but also to you. Nail trimming should be done once a month.”

Products like the 3-in-1 Pedicure Set from the Furbuster line by PetMate are excellent as they contain nail clippers, styptic powder and a nail file in one easy-to-use product.

For customers who are not comfortable with monthly cat nail clippings, Soft Claws Nail Caps may be just the thing they need.  Application is as simple as filling a nail cap with adhesive and slipping it onto the nail.

Cats are quite susceptible to skin problems with the most common conditions resulting from infections, flea bites, mites and yeast. Most of these common skin irritants can be easily resolved with natural solutions.

Given that felines are highly sensitive, “DERMagic Feline Skin Rescue lotion offers cats fast and effective relief from skin irritations, hot spots, scaly skin, flea allergies, dermatitis, and dry skin conditions,” Dr. Adelia Ritchie, founder of DERMagic, said.

These all-natural solutions, as well as items like shampoos and in-between bath wipes, also make a great up sells to customers.

“Our Dead Sea Salt Scrub is an excellent up-sell for grooming salons,” Ritchie said. “For only pennies, you can offer your clients a complete spa exfoliation and dandruff treatment.”

For occasional quick cat cleanups, Earthbath offers specialty grooming wipes and waterless shampoos.

“When searching for a shampoo, consider formulas that are free from parabens, dyes or sulfates that are made in the USA,” Yvonne Roth, director of marketing for Earthbath, said. “Our all-natural, human-grade formulas are ultra mild but highly effective. Our ear and nose wipes are particularly useful for easy cleaning and our shampoo foam is designed for cats that prefer to avoid water.”

Coat and Clipping

When selecting grooming equipment, it’s important to choose the right equipment for the job.

“A cat’s skin is very thin and easily tears, which is why it is important to consult with a groomer or veterinarian prior to shaving or removing mats,” Charlene Hibbs, of A Gentle Touch Pet Care Service, said. “Cats also have less ‘time tolerance’ – it is important to get grooming done quickly before they become stressed.”

Alternatives to brushes, such as the PetMate 3-in-1 Grooming Glove, are particularly useful for cats that don’t enjoy grooming. The glove allows easy grooming of difficult to reach or sensitive areas under the shoulder or along belly. Other products, such as the Tender Tips Pin Brush, gently remove mats and tangles, while allowing sensitive felines to become adjusted to grooming.

Oster Animal Care and ShedMonster  Professional De-Shedding Tools are now available from Jarden Animal Solutions. Oster has shared a passion and enthusiasm for pet grooming for over 85 years and offers an extensive line of products for grooming, including cat cologne spray to give a cat that final fresh scent.

“Treating your cat to frequent brushing with gentle deshedding tools will help prevent matting, decrease the amount of fur around the house, support a shiny and healthy coat, and reduce the challenges of hairballs,” Justin Crout, group marketing manager for Jarden Animal Solutions/Jarden Consumer Solutions, said. “The cat cologne spray extends the fresh scent of a clean cat and helps hide odor.”

There are health benefits as well.

According to FURMinator, “up to two-thirds of the hair a cat sheds is ingested during self grooming, resulting in hairballs that are messy, stressful to the cat and the cause of potentially serious problems.”

Regular grooming is important. But if you’re not sure which brush or comb will work best on a specific cat, FURMinator offers an interactive online demo that will assist customers in selecting the best products for their pets.

Different Cats Have Different Needs

A hairless cat may only need quick rub down with a chamois, while a long-haired cat that is prone to matting might benefit from a lion’s cut or daily brushing. Keeping cats well-groomed also reduces visits to the veterinarian and can reduce the need for expensive food to keep hairballs at bay.

-Stacy Mantle

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