You’d be hard-pressed to find a dog owner, a veterinarian, or just a person in general who would argue that filthy dogs shouldn’t have a bath. So how is it that felines get the "no bath for you" shaft?
Flea infestation like the picture above is a good thing to avoid unless you are totally into living amongst an angry, hungry mob of fleas that are out to devour your pets while they still walk this Earth.
Who is to blame for this level of neglect? We (the people) have skin and hair. We wash it on a regular basis. Dogs have skin and hair. We wash it on a regular basis. Cats have skin and hair, too.
Cat owners are really not to blame here. A fat chunk of pet groomers have no clue what to do with a cat, much less what to recommend for a cat owner seeking some form of remedy to typical life-with-a-cat problems. I know groomers who think cats cannot or should not be bathed. I know some that think spritzing a cat with a bottle of scented spray equals "groom." And others think that some attempt at ripping out mats with a comb constitutes a complete and thorough groom. Shame, shame, shame.
So a cat owner is told, by a grooming professional, that their cat can’t be groomed. Or shouldn’t be groomed. Or doesn’t need to be groomed.
Or, worse yet, the cat owner actually paid a grooming "professional" to take care of the problems but no real solutions were provided. Greasy kitty goes home with fewer mats and a little pee mixed in as a bonus. (I know this from firsthand experience.)
And then, on top of that, the vet is telling the cat owner that Fluffy can’t or shouldn’t or doesn’t need to be groomed. And, after all, the vet is a doctor. With a title. DVM. Doctor of Veterinary Medicine. And a lot of education. All fine and dandy when it comes to surgical procedures and treating a bad infection. But how, please tell me, did the educated DVM who believes cats do not need to be groomed, come to this conclusion? Like I said, it’s not rocket science. They seriously need to add a class to the DVM program about proper skin and coat needs for a cat. Seriously.
I say shame, shame, shame on your veterinarians out there who tell their clients that Fluffy the cat does NOT need a bath or that a bath is actually bad for Fluffy. What a horrible disservice to your clients and all the Fluffys running about with icky, dirty, greasy, dandruffy skin and coats, who are hacking up unnecessary hairballs and dragging around dried nuggets of poop off their back ends. Shame on you! With all that education, you truly ought to know better. With all that education and the fact that your job is built upon providing real help to animals, you’d think that you would want to provide real help to animals. It’s super easy: Get with the program and find out how beneficial regular, professional grooming is for felines.
As if it’s not bad enough that some groomers and veterinarians are telling cat owners that cats shouldn’t or can’t be groomed, you can Google stuff. If it’s on the Internet it’s true, right? So if websites say that a cat hates water and she grooms herself so don’t bother thinking, ever, that your greasy little furball might need a bath, well, then it’s absolutely true.
Here’s a fun photo album of snapshots from another of our members (Sally from Canada, thank you!). I hope this keeps you up at night and gives you nightmares when you finally do fall asleep. And you can be mad at me in the morning. It’s okay. I’ve been mad at you for a really long time.
This is what happens when a cat’s butt is matted and caked in poop. It gets infected and basically the cat begins to rot from the inside out. A great way to die, don’t you think?
These tangles turn into mats, which turn into pelts, which get tighter and tighter until they start to eat into the skin. Removing a pelt like this is a real challenge, a process the groomer hopes the cat lives through. Wouldn’t it be awesome if the whole tangle-mat-pelt thing could be avoided altogether? Oh wait! It can be!
This is what happens when chin acne isn’t treated on a regular basis. It turns into an infection, the hair falls out, the skin gets swollen and irritated and the cat doesn’t feel good. But hey, it’s only a cat right?
So there ya have it. Cats hate water. Cats groom themselves. Cats should not be groomed because they do such a fine and dandy bang-up job of it themselves. What was I thinking? What is a cat owner to think?
I’ll tell you what to think. Bath, blow dry, nail trim by a pro. On a regular basis. So easy.
My fellow groomers, esteemed veterinarians, people of planet Earth -ÔÇô let’s do something about this. Please. Get your facts straight. A skilled, knowledgeable and astute cat groomer can be your new best friend. Let go of your egos, learn something new. Admit that maybe you haven’t been right about this after all. You could save a cat’s life.
Do you groom your cat? Are you going to start? Tell us your thoughts in the comments!
Read more about grooming:
About the author: Danelle German is the founder and president of the National Cat Groomers Institute of America and the inventor of the Catty Shack Vac drying system and Chubbs Bar degreaser shampoo for pets. Danelle writes about grooming issues at her blog. She lives in Greenville, SC, with her Persian cat, Chubbs; her dog, Truman; and her horse, Whit; a fabulous husband; and five children. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.