Is Your Cat Safe at the Salon?
Before you make an appointment with a new groomer, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals recommends stopping by and taking a tour. Is your new or existing cat grooming salon doing everything they can to provide a safe grooming experience for your cat? Ask yourself and/or your groomer these questions and consider some of these points of care and competence the next time you head over to the salon.
Do they inquire about your cat’s health, vaccinations, behavioral concerns, and who your veterinarian is, in case of an accident?
Screening your cat for underlying issues, as well as a history of previous experiences, will help a groomer use better judgement during a treatment, and allow them to make more prudent choices if an incident occurs. Knowing emergency contacts and veterinarian choices, in the rare case of illness or injury, presents your cat with the best possible care.
Salon Safety: Does it smell clean? Do they have an emergency plan, first aid kit, and do you see a fire extinguisher in sight?
If the shop is messy, dirty or unsafe for the groomers, your cat’s safety may not be a primary concern. A professional grooming establishment that takes your cat’s welfare seriously, will have a plan in place in the case of any type of unexpected emergency.
Is the atmosphere pleasant — not too loud, hot, cold or busy? Do they groom both dogs and cats? If so, do they designate a separate day or area just for cats?
Many grooming salons are chaotic (especially if they handle dogs and cats), with dogs barking and dryers going. Is this really what you want your cat to experience?
Do they offer a salon tour or allow you to watch the groom?
You should expect transparency in the way they handle your cat. While some cats can be more difficult when the owner is present, the option to watch and/or see the facility and understand their “best practice” is vital for the safety and protection of your cat. You should be allowed to see how your cat is being handled and groomed.
Find out where they keep your cat before and after the grooming appointment.
Are the cats seperated, comfortable, and behind sufficient barriers to prevent escape? If there are other cats around, is there sufficient protection and privacy to minimize stres for your cat?
How does the groomer and salon staff interact with cats?
Are they gentle? Do they seem to sincerely enjoy the cats they are handling? Do they appear comfortable with cats or are they fearful? How do they remove them from the carrier? Is it done with respect? Do they immediately scruff cats? What methods of restraint do they use to handle your cat? Anyone handling cats must understand the psychology of cats in order to successfuly groom cats in a humane manner. Treating a cat with respect is vital to the success of any cat treatment. There are specific handling techniques that will help ensure both groomer and cat can remain safe. Finding an exclusive cat groomer is ideal, when considering all the nuances of a cat, making cat grooming a specialty that requires consistant practice.
How many cats do they do in a day?
If a salon’s goal is to squeeze in as many animals as possible in a day, you can be certain, your cat is not going to be treated as carefully, and this most likely is not a suitable environment for cats and their safety.
Are crate dryers used? These are also referred to as drying cages and drying kennels. If so, are they under constant observation by a staff member?
Crate/kennel/cage dryers can easily cause overheating or be very cold—depending on the type. Cats can quickly go from being uncomfortable to dangerously too hot or too cold. Animals can be burned, suffer heat stress and even die if left too long in cages with heated dryers. Constant supervision is absolutely necessary for your cat’s safety. We DO NOT recommend having your cat anywhere near crate dryers, and find them extremely dangerous and unpredictable. For this reason, we dry all our cats by hand, on the counter or on our lap.
Ask what clipper blade size they use if your cat normally receives coat trims.
The #10 blade is the (only) recommended blade, by the PCGAA and the NCGIA, as the safest to use for trimming and clipping the coat on a cat. It is very easy to catch loose skin on a cat and cause nicks and cuts, so it is important for a groomer to understand the different blade lengths and understand why a #10 blade is a much more cat friendly blade to clip with.
How long do they keep your cat?
The stress of being in a crate all day or anywhere away from home for too long can be very stressful on your cat (especially senior cats). Sometimes it is necessary to leave your cat at the groomer all day, because of your schedule, etc. However, it is not ideal or comfortable for cats, especially senior cats, cats with illnesses or anxiety. Not only would they rather be home, they’re safer at home after they’ve endured a grooming treatment. Regardless of how easy going a cat is or how calm they appeared during a grooming appointment, it is still safer to return them to their home after a grooming appointment. Less stress means a better experience all around.