Cats may be smaller than a lot of dogs but that doesn't mean that they are easier to do. As any cat owner will tell you, cats are a whole different story than dogs. Rarely will a cat let you do much in the way of grooming without a protest. The old adage of cats hating water? There's some truth to that! They often also don't like being brushed, having their nails clipped or having mats shaved out of their coat. And since you can't reason with them, you can't tell them they will feel better when it's all over with. My friend Jackie of Pampered Pups Grooming and I like to say that when a dog settles down and becomes quiet for grooming, he is submitting to it. When a cat calms down, she's just regrouping.
Cats are also harder to groom because of the nature of their skin. In a previous blog I wrote about how thin their skin is, and how easily the skin can be damaged. Therefore, there's no rushing when grooming a cat. You have to allow not only for the cat's determination that he won't be groomed but to be able to safely work around it. Even brushing a cat too hard can lead to scrapes or cuts.
The biggest reason that price of getting your cat groomed can be high though is because of the danger. Not only to the cat but to the groomer. Yes, groomers are at risk of dog bites as well as cat bites. However a cat has teeth that are long and pointy whereas a dog's teeth are more rounded. Both can hurt, definitely, but a cat's tooth can sink far into a groomer's skin. When this happens there is a greater risk of infection, especially if the bite is deep enough to hit tendons or joints. A three year study by the Mayo Clinic showed that 1 out of 3 cat bites to the hand ended up with the patient being hospitalized.
(http://newsnetwork.mayoclinic.org/discussion/when-cats-bite-1-in-3-patients-bitten-in-hand-hospitalized-infections-common/) I would advise anyone on the receiving end of a cat bite to be seen by a doctor.
Obviously groomers use their hands to work. We're basically useless without them. The risk of serious injury possibly caused by a cat is a huge factor in price setting for any grooming business that deals with cats. In fact, many salons won't accept cats as clients. Only in recent years has cat grooming become a more common practice. When looking for a cat groomer, you should always make sure that your groomer has been trained in grooming cats.
Make sure that your groomer has proper restraints for the cats if needed. They absolutely cannot be tethered to the table the way a dog normally is. If you've ever been to a grooming salon or looked in the windows at one of the chain stores you will see that dogs are tethered to the table by a loop around the neck like a leash. You cannot use this on a cat. A cat can go from passive to furious in the blink of an eye, and if he is in a loop made for a dog he could easily snap his neck trying to fight free. As a rule, I don't use any restraints other than hands. There are restraints for cats, but this personally is what works for me.
So when you are shopping for a groomer for your cat, try not to get frustrated by the lack of groomers or the prices. Remember if you are on a budget, ask if there are any current coupons or discounts that can be given. I know groomers that charge more and some less than what I do. The most expensive doesn't always mean the best just as the cheapest doesn't mean the worst. If the cost of grooming your cat still seems steep after considering possible injuries to your cat or your groomer, I invite you to try bathing or shaving your cat at home. You may find that some things are just worth paying for!
Thanks for reading!