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If you haven't gone out there to try and find a cat groomer before, you might not be aware of how hard it is to actually find a cat groomer that can do a top tier job with your kitty. Here is a guide to what you need to know when you begin your hunt for a cat groomer wherever you are located. 
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Identify your needs!
First you need to know what kind of groomer you are wanting and/or what you or your cat's situation might need. So let's chat about what those options are. 

Pros        

  • Can cost less than other styles of groomers
  • Specialized equipment that is bulky like a catty shack vac can be used to speed up the process.
  • Low volume salons can be quite peaceful for kitty
  • High volume salons can be very convenient for owners.

Cons

  • Can be more stressful for cats to travel outside of the home to a new location, regardless of traffic volume.
  • Not all groomers are cat specific, this might mean a shared space with dogs. 
  • Low volume salons are limited to 1-3 groomers...therefore rescheduling might pop up with groomers who need to take off work for urgent matters.
  • High volume salons can be quite stressful to kitties if with a bunch of other cats, another cat is aggressive or stress urinating/defecating, it has a strong possibility of riling your cat up too.

Pros        

  • Reduced stress on kitty due to no travel for them.
  • In home an owner might be able to view/watch depending on set up (house call with ample room).
  • Mobile has less mess in your home, without the travel for kitty. 

Cons

  • In home, on their own territory some cats are worse behavior wise and react more aggressively. 
  • House call, will be messy. The groomer should clean up but mess will happen.
  • Time of appointments can be, depending on the practice, a bit of a range. Windows for arrival verses specific set times are more likely. 
  • Cost is significantly higher for either house call or mobile van units that come to your house. This is a luxury service.

Pros        

  • Services can be combined with a veterinary visit for your pet, so sometimes a convenience.
  • In house records are all combined together. 
  • Basics will be covered
  • When aggressive cats NEED care and it's unsafe to do so non-sedated, this is the most humane option.

Cons

  • Vet techs and nurses are amazing at their jobs, we know this. However their training is limited in grooming practices so you can expect services to be limited in options as well. Nails clipped, shave downs when matting is present, or sedated grooms for aggressive kitties are about it. 
  • Sedated grooming will cost a lot both to your pocket book and possibly kitties health. Sedation should ONLY be done under vet supervision and after proper bloodwork screening to ensure kitty is healthy enough to endure anesthetics. 

Remember:

Not all salons will work the same way. They will each have their different policies for drop off and pick up. How long a cat is actually with them, and their hours of operation. These are all things to consider when selecting the type of practice you want to work with:

  • Is your business registered with the state? (there are grooming state licenses often overseen by the Department of Agriculture. 
    • You can pretty much guess that a groomer within a vet practice or a local salon is registered with the business. That's a very visible business model and likely doesn't need asked, however you can take a peak at registered businesses within your state in case your worried.
    • A grooming salon in the home can 100% be legal and a great option for many pets that need calm places to be groomed. However, with an unregulated industry, there are always going to be bad apples. Check that home salons are actually registered with the state and not operating without a license. If they say cash only, wont provide receipts, have you park at weird locations, or tend to hide the fact that your coming from others... these are all red flags. ​A salon that's home based and legit, should easily be able to provide state license information for you and should not get defensive if you are respectful about asking for it. 
  • Does your staff have CPR/First Aid training? 
    • This should be pet specific and not just a human version of these courses. ​
    • Are their training certifications up to date and not expired/lapsed. 
  • Did the groomer attend a school for grooming? 
    • An academy for grooming will teach the basics for a groomer, including ideal safety techniques. This is the kind of training you want a groomer to have pursued, even if it's not required in this industry.​​
    • Did they groomer receive and certifications from these schools?
      • ​​Some programs are more rigorous than others. Master Certification titles are almost always a hard title to achieve. If a groomer has pushed themselves to earn this, they believe in ongoing education and bettering their skills. Often at great cost to themselves personally. ​​​
  • And I think the most critical question is how experienced with cats are they?
    • A cat groomer who grooms cats will see hundreds of cats a year, if not thousands, depending on their set up and client base. ​A dog groomer who grooms cats on occasion when requested might only see a handful a year. This is important to distinguish. 
    • Cat exclusive groomers are specializing in cats specifically and will have a wide range of experience with many types of cat temperaments and likely more skilled to handle whatever kind of cat comes through their doors. 
 
A highly skilled cat groomer like a Certified Feline Master Groomer, CFMG,  which is currently the highest ranking skill level for a cat groomer to pursue in the world, is a difficult and arduous journey with a lot of testing for the groomer to actually get through. Not only written testing but also hands on testing of practical skills. To find a highly skilled groomer that meets these standards please check out the integrated map of NCGI groomers here: National Cat Groomers Institute: Find A Groomer

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At Sweet Whiskers, our Cerfieid Feline Master Groomer Jz Conrad sees several hundred cats a year and has a wide variety of cat experience in grooming. If your local to Iowa and need a cat groomed please feel free to book with us online here: Check availability.

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What education and or certifications does this groomer have? or are pursing currently?
While grooming isn't necessarily a regulated field requiring a degree to get into... it is a field that allows you to see a wide variety of talents and skills. Since there are no licensing requirements it is imperative that owners take it in their own hands to research who they are trusting their kitty with! 

Some important things to check out/ask your groomer:

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