Cat Grooming 101

Although cats and dogs may share people’s homes and hearts, their grooming requirements are as different as, well, cats and dogs. Approximately 40 million households have one or more pet cats in residence, making cat grooming a highly sought-after skill.

Felines have very specific grooming needs. It is highly recommended that people who want to add cat grooming to their skill set seek educational opportunities to enable them to handle cats safely. International Professional Groomers, Inc. offers such information, along with a certification program, as does National Cat Groomers.

Keeping cats calm in the grooming environment is essential. Here are some suggestions to do just that.

  • Ask that the pet owner bring the cat to you in a carrier that is well lined with something absorbent, like a terry cloth towel. Many cats will urinate, defecate, or drool during transport, making absorbent bedding very important. A cat that has traveled in a wet carrier will be miserable (not to mention icky to handle!)
  • Schedule cats so that you can begin working on them as soon as possible after their arrival. The longer the cat sits and waits, the more stressed it will become.
  • If the cat does have to wait, even for a few moments, place it, inside its carrier, up high. Cats feel safer when aloft.
  • Schedule cats at a time when there will not be barking dogs in the area and keep them separate from all other pets.
  • Clean your work area and tools to minimize the odors of other pets.
  •  Wash your hands before handling the cat, and if possible, put on a clean grooming smock that does not smell like the dog you just finished grooming.
  • Have all the tools you need to use on the cat ready at hand. One key aspect of effective cat grooming is to be able to work swiftly and efficiently.
  • Keep your work area as peaceful as you can when dealing with felines. This includes choosing tools that are as quiet as possible. For instance, most 5-in-1 trimmers are quieter than full-sized clippers, making them perfect for feline grooming.
  • Give the cat something grippy to lie on while you are working on it. A soft pad, bathmat, or towel will do. Allow the cat to grab onto the mat or the edge of the table while you groom; it will help it to feel more in control.

Offering feline grooming services can be a lucrative and enjoyable addition to your grooming skill set. Prepare to succeed by becoming educated about feline-specific styling techniques and watch your business grow.


By Daryl Conner, MPS, MCG 

Daryl Conner has been devoted to making dogs and cats more comfortable and beautiful for almost 40 years.  You can find her happily working at FairWinds Grooming Studio with her daughter and infant granddaughter, or typing away at her latest grooming-related article. Daryl was awarded both a Cardinal Crystal Award and Barkleigh Honors Award for journalism.  She shares her meadow-hugged antique Maine farmhouse with her practically perfect husband and too many animals.