Today I had a groom with a cat where the client had forewarned me the cat would be difficult & she was fully prepared to pay my aggressive fee. Now, I don’t like tangling with teeth anymore than you do, so it was in my best interest to apply everything I knew about cats to getting the matts off this cat safely & without traumatizing the cat.
I’m HC, so it makes it easier to assess a cat’s normal behavior. What I observed was a highly strung cat who even jumped when the guardian coughed. Quick movements on my part resulted in hissing & flattened ears. I thought, should I just charge my ring the doorbell fee & call it a day?
Decided to further observe the cat, interact with it with toys & treats, & gradually acclimate the cat to my presence. Didn’t time it, but I probably spent at least 45 min.+ in this stage. Both the owner & I attempted to pick up the cat a few times but were warned off.
I counseled the client to acknowledge the cat’s attempts to convey “stop”. I feel this is CRITICAL, as the cat’s frustration will escalate if it feels it has no power. Hissing and flattened ears meant stop & step back. When ears or other behavior indicate ok, then resume. This way the cat also learns that such behavior doesn’t get grooming to stop. A groomer who just plows on WILL be attacked. Is it fair to the cat to muzzle it because a groomer wants to hurry up & get to the next groom?
This methodology allowed me to successfully shave the matted butt & legs, do a comb through, clean face, & trim some nails. I didn’t do all as they were already short enough. No bath as that would have been just too much for this first visit, IMO. The cat was so relaxed & friendly; eating treats & then catnip, that he wanted to stay up on my table. Most definitely a 180 from how he was when I first approached him.
The whole visit took 1-1/2 hrs., which was less time than what I had blocked and the length of my average HC groom. Oh, and no gloves, muzzles, sleeves, etc. used or needed.