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Through the Eyes of a Professional Cat Groomer

During the grooming process, a professional cat groomer will see almost the entire cat with a different view from what an owner or veterinary professional sees. I see their toes, beans, and feet while trimming nails. During the bathing and drying, I will see and feel all over their skin. And while cleaning their face and ears I find any abnormal discharge of the ears, eyes, or nose. Many groomers weigh the cats at each visit and will catch any weight changes.Our cats on a regular grooming schedule are typically seen by us more frequently than their veterinarian. We believe it is important to point out anything unusual we find to the owner so that they can have the cat seen by their vet. So how do we see these problems?

During the nail trim, we hold the cat’s paw and push back the fur away from the nail bed to properly trim the nails without trimming away their fur. This provides a good look at the nail itself along with the cuticle. Some things we find include broken nails, thick nails, or dirty cuticles. Broken nails can become infected. Thick nails or dirty cuticles may be a sign of pain or a health issue.

During the bath, we lather the entire cat’s body, legs, neck, and top and back of the head. We are careful to ensure the shampoo penetrates down to the skin to remove all dirt and oils. Some cats will tell us it is painful to touch certain areas. We may also find a lump or bump during the scrub.

Many professional cat groomers use a high-velocity dryer to dry cats. This blows the water off the fur, and in the process, the fur will part. We get a good look at the skin. This is another time we might find a lump or bump. In addition, this view of the skin allows us to see anything abnormal such as cuts, flaking, redness, or other signs of irritation.

We take your cat’s health very seriously. Since we see your cat more frequently than your vet in many cases, we want to be sure you are aware of anything we find. Some of the problems we see are signs of conditions and diseases that are common to cats. Those include, but are not limited to, hyperthyroid, arthritis or other degenerative joint disease, injury causing pain, chronic kidney disease, skin infection, and diabetes.

Your cat groomer will make recommendations based on their knowledge. Some of the recommendations we make at Trilling Cat include:
• See your veterinarian right now. Cases where we would recommend this are when we see severe stress, signs of infection, or an open wound.
• Watch something, if it changes call your vet, otherwise have this checked at your next regular visit. Instances when we might say this are when we detect potential pain or a small lump.
• Use one of the available pain scoring tools. These are the OA Checklist and the Feline Grimace Scale. If we think your cat is painful these will help you check at home when your cat is calm and in their normal environment. If your cat is showing signs of pain at home, we recommend bringing the results with you to the vet.

We see and handle multiple cats every day, so we have a working knowledge of what is normal and what is not. Cat groomers are not medical professionals and therefore cannot legally diagnose your cat. But with our unique view of your cat, we may be able to detect problems early while it is easier and less expensive to treat. Our hope is for your cat to be able to live its best life, and if we can help make that happen by pointing out a potential problem, we’ve had a very good day.

~Ellen Vogel, CFMG (Certified Feline Master Groomer™), Elite FFCP