Manhattan house call cat grooming & cat sitting

My cat bites me when I pick him up. Can you trim his claws?

Not okay. Not cute.

Not okay. Not cute.

First off, this is a SERIOUS behavior & family relationship issue.  Nowadays, pets are part of the family. They used to be employees who did a job.  They were in charge of mouse-eradication. They lived in barns, getting on the nerves of birds and rabbits, even killing a few of them every so often.

Now they’re permanent children. You know what happens when children sit around without anything to do? They get themselves into trouble. They set ants on fire and pull the ears of the family dog. We all need something to do, even your cat.

Whether cats are workers or children, biting people isn’t SUPPOSED to be part of the deal. You can say, “Cats are like that,” or “She’s a rescue cat,” or “She’s nervous”, but it doesn’t change a thing. Your cat shouldn’t be biting you. You shouldn’t be thinking that’s normal or okay. Sympathy for an animal can make us accept behavior that isn’t in the cat’s best interests.

The above is my opinion. Below are some suggestions if you agree with my opinion.  The goal is to stimulate your cat. Get your cat stimulated, then tire your cat out with exercise. Another goal is to give your cat something to bite BESIDES you.  

1. Buy your cat some stuff. Toys, toys, toys. Try all different types of toys. Try a little catnip. Try all different types of scratching posts. Try different types of treats, but break the treat into pieces so it’s really a treat, not a meal. If you can’t buy too much, make toys. A shoelace or a bottle cap or a box can be a ton of fun.

2. PLAY with your cat. Those wand toys work great for playing. You have to wiggle it in a certain way, hide the feather behind furniture, then whip it out. Don’t just dangle the wand. That’s not going to be any fun for your cat. Make the wand move like it’s a tiny mouse, darting in and out of sight. 

3. Touch your cat for short periods. Don’t overdo it. If your cat starts to look twitchy, let your cat go. When cats feel like they need to bite in order to be freed from a cuddle, that sets up a destructive pattern of biting as part of cuddling.

4. Keep the house peaceful. I’ve been to homes where the humans yell. They’re not angry. They’re just yellers. Even when they’re happy, they’re loud. If you have a loud home, give the cat a place to get some peace and quiet. A tree house or their own comfy bed can be a refuge. If their nerves are on edge, they’re more likely to relieve the pressure by biting.

5. Touch their paws every so often. Touch their tail. Give them a nice, short massage. Give them a nibble of a treat when you do it. Make the touching a quick, fun experience for them. 

6. Stay calm and positive. Think happy thoughts. If you get all riled up, they’ll get riled up too. 

7. Don’t use your fingers or toes as a toy. If you do, you’re asking to be bitten. 

Aim for a bite-free home. THAT is normal and okay. THAT is how cats become permanent, loved, contented family members.

Your cat’s a biter. Will I trim the claws?

I’m a groomer, not a lion tamer. If your cat bites you, most likely they’ll bite me too. That means I need to wear protective gear and hold your cat like I mean business. Grooming a biting cat isn’t a pretty sight. There’s nothing cute about scruffing an animal while it tries to puncture an arm. If you ask me to cut your cat’s claws, and your cat has a history of biting, know that my priority is making sure I don’t get bitten. Cat bites lead to hospitalization more often than dog bites. I’ve had some people ask me to groom their cat and when the cat attacks me before I’ve even started grooming, they feel sorry for the cat. That’s just crazy. Would you feel sorry for a dog who bit you?

What I wear to trim claws. No, not really.

What I wear to trim claws. No, not really.

 

 

Lion Cut + Old, skinny cat = Blood + Stitches

Bad human!

Yep. You don’t want to be the one who did this.

There’s a heap of denial among cat-loving humans who have skinny, old cats.

Is a cute-looking haircut and less fur on the sofa worth blood and stitches? If you say HECK YEAH! then go to it. Fire up that clipper.

I’m of the opinion that the answer is HECK NO.  I won’t do a lion cut if the cat is likely to be nicked during the shaving process.

I do make an exception for old cats who are so matted that they are uncomfortable. Their comfort is important, so it’s worth the risk.

Long-haired old cats stay dirtier and can’t deal with their own fur. Their tongue is worn out, I guess, not to mention the arthritis. They’re like that uncle who drinks too much and can’t remember to comb his hair . . . . you know, the uncle with the shirts covered with stains? You won’t do his laundry because who knows what he’s gotten into?

Cat skin is as thick as your eyelid. Think about that. You want me to come over and shave your eyelid?

The technical, boring discussion is below. You can skip it, unless you’re deeply interested in shaving cat’s privates.

1. Cat clippers work best on a flat plane. They zip along a flat surface and get every last hair off quickly and safely.

2. Cat clippers on an angle aim the blade at tender skin.  The blade isn’t parallel to the skin.  It’s going INTO the skin.  DANGER ZONES: clipping the fur in the underarms or between the rear legs. “I can’t believe what I’m seeing” thin skin combined with peaks and valleys. DANGER.

3. The thinner the cat, the more peaks and valleys, and the harder it is to shave safely. Shaving a fat cat is like shaving a balloon. It’s much easier to  shave a fat cat than a skinny cat.

4. The older the cat, the thinner and looser the skin.

Comb your cat every day, gently work on the mats with a comb, or maybe a round-tip scissor. If you’re a butterfingers be patient.  Spend some money on my services if you can’t do it yourself.

Awwww. Kisses.

Awwww. Kisses.

 

 

 

 

“My cat sheds too much!”

I’m going to lay it out straight, because I get too many calls from really sweet, really smart people who didn’t get the memo that the animal you adopted BECAUSE IT IS SOFT AND FLUFFY is an animal that is covered in fur. You want the kitty but no fur? There are cats for that.

Are you my new mom? I luvs you!

Are you my new mom? I luvs you!

If you didn’t get one, don’t blame the cat, don’t get frustrated, just figure out a way to live without a haze of cat fur. It can be done. Don’t fight reality. Work with reality.

I know a lot of you are much, much smarter than I am, so if I can figure out a way to deal with fur, you should be able to do it while you’re sleeping.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I haz fur and I haz cute. Deal with it.

In short, since this is a LIVE animal, not a stuffed animal, that furs got to come off, so suck it up. Literally. Suck that stuff up with a slicker brush and a fully functional vacuum. Take pride in your tools, ladies and gents. Make common sense furniture/bedding purchases. See below for details.

Cats shed year-round. Shedding increases when days get longer. Shedding relates to light, not temperature. No artificial light, less shedding.

Apart from living like Abe Lincoln in darkness from the moment the sun goes down to the moment the sun goes up, how do you decrease shedding?

You don’t decrease shedding. They just keep on shedding. What you do is get better at scooping up the dead fur.

1. Run a metal comb through your cat’s fur a few times a week. Use a cheap metal comb. (Furminator shmurminator, I hate that thing. Costs too much, does too little.) Takes all of 2 minutes. Give your cat a treat while you’re doing it. Eat some potato chips while you do it. You’ll both be better for the experience. Fatter, but better. If your cat wiggles, hold on to the cat. You can do it. You’re a New Yorker! You ride the 6 train during rush hour! This is nothing compared to that.

2. Use a slicker brush, gently brushing your cat’s surface once a day. Takes all of a minute. Do it while you’re watching cat videos. You know you watch those videos, don’t even try to hide it. I’ll check your laptop history next time I visit, and all will be revealed.

3. Get yourself a quality vacuum, and keep that thing clean and functional. Don’t show me some sad-looking vacuum with fur and dust jamming it up every which way. That’s not a tool. That’s an embarrassment. Take pride in your tools!

4. Buy smart. You know you’re going to be crazy over fur if you buy yourself one of those suede-type couches that are so popular. Fur magnets is what they are. Don’t buy a fuzzy bed cover. Get one with a slick surface that can be shaken to get dead fur off, or else just put a cute sheet over your bed in the morning before you run out the door.

5. Give your cat his own furniture, which your cat will be perfectly happy to hang out on and adorn with shedding fur. Cat shelves, cat tree houses, cat beds on window sills. Lots of possibilities. Order them online. Spend a few dollars. If it doesn’t work out, that’s okay. Try something else. You probably spent that much money on fancy drinks last week without thinking twice.

6. Put your clothes in a closet. If you have a white cat, think about your all-black wardrobe. You should have thought about that before you bought a white cat, so now you either switch it up and buy some light-colored clothes or keep a pail of sticky brushes by the door. Or you can dye the cat black. No, not really.

Have me come over every so often to do a complete comb-out, bath, drying. You’ll still have fur left over that sheds, because I’m a groomer, not a magician, BUT that fur will be clean, won’t be greasy, and there’ll be less of it.76y76 (Those last letters were typed by my black cat, Emma. She’s a professional writer.)

Go on now. You can do it. If you can’t, make regular grooming appointments and off-load the work to me.

 

“I just adopted a cat. Is it a good idea to groom adopted cats?”

If you just adopted a cat, congratulations!!!!!! You have so much fun, excitement and love ahead of you.

Should you have your newly adopted cat groomed? I think so, and that’s not just because I am a cat groomer:).

If your cat was in a shelter, I can almost guarantee that the shelter staff were too busy to brush the fur, wash the fur, or trim the claws of your cat. I bet they didn’t have time to check your cat’s ears for waxy buildup.  I bet they were too busy saving lives to de-shed or de-mat your cat. They did their job, which was to find a cat a good home. Now your job is to make sure your cat is clean and comfortable.

If you purchased a cat from a store, I doubt your cat was groomed. I know people who have worked at pet stores. There may be a few exceptions, but store employees are not trained in cat grooming. Selling the cat is the priority, not grooming the cat.

If you adopted from a reputable breeder, your cat has probably been groomed before. You just need to continue the grooming sessions.

Did you adopt from out-of-state? I would suggest washing your cat. Most cats get a little messy during travel. They do their  best to clean up, but even that wonderful Brillo pad known as their tongue has its limits.

So yes, please do groom your newly adopted cat. Your cat will be a better house-mate with clean fur, clean ears and trimmed claws.  That is a civilized cat, prepared to enjoy human companionship with elegance and grace:)

Clean cats are better house-mates

Clean cats are better house-mates

Best grooming tool for medium & long-haired cats?

A metal comb. Simple & easy.

Use it often.

Best tool.

What’s with the fear and guilt? Your cat’s living large!

Emma says, "Chillax dude!"

Emma says, “Chillax dude!”

Chillax! Your cat is warm, well-fed — lets get real, overly well-fed like a little pork pot pie of fluffiness — adored to the point of being smothered with “too many kisses mom!”, and safe as a bedbug in the New York City subway.  

When I’m grooming, I hear a lot of what I think of as “the trauma voice.”  

“Oh, Chloe, it’ll be alrightttttt. The bath will be over soonnnnnn.”

This is said in the tone of voice I’d use if I were saying, “Your bones are dissolving. By tomorrow, you will be jello. Do you own a very large bowl?”

The cat is sitting placidly in the sink, amid bubbles of mango-scented cat shampoo, while I massage her neck. Ahhh, feel the tension melt away . . . Meanwhile, the owner is about to have a breakdown. Whimpering. Tense as a coiled spring in a Serta Posture-Pedic bed. 

Seriously folks. Getting wet, then getting dry, can be a bummer for some kitty dudes and dude-ettes, but they’ve thrived through thousands of years in deserts, forests, blizzards and Omaha. They’ve even survived the hysterical ministrations of cat-ladies wearing over-sized t-shirts and Keds sneakers. They’ll get over the bubble bath. They’re tougher than we are! I’d last one day in a desert and less in a blizzard. I’d last ten seconds with a cat-lady, because the sight of that over-sized Humane Society t-shirt would hurt too much. My eyes, my eyes!

Repeat after me.

“Toys, playtime, yes. Trauma-voice, no. NO NO NO NO.”

What do cats and onions have in common?

Answer:  Skin that tears like paper. 

If you use scissors to cut out mats, think “onion” as you snip. Don’t think “orange” or even “pear”, because those fruits have thicker skins than your cat. 

OnionSkinCatSkin

The skin is the largest organ in the body.  Feline skin thickness ranges from 0.02″ to 0.14″.


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