Let’s start with the fact that it’s not easy and no one wants to do it…
A client (who shall remain unnamed) told me he had a good idea for a blog post the other day. This gentleman, a regular client, had just taken his two GSD’s in for grooming at a dog salon. His total bill for two large dog grooms was-uh- how do I say this… well, it was less expensive than what I charged him for a 10lb cat 😬
This client isn’t stupid. He KNOWS why it costs more to groom the cat, but part of him still just had to ask. This is what I told him:
1. There aren’t enough cat groomers in our area (or the world)
Seriously. There’s a dog grooming salon on every corner… filled with 3-5 groomers grooming dogs simultaneously. They are all competing with each other, and they are also CRANKING out grooms. They win in VOLUME.
2. There aren’t enough cat groomers in the world because grooming cats is HARD.
I’m not saying that grooming dogs is easy- it requires a whole other set of skills that I might not possess, but the sheer amount of working dog groomers vs cat groomers speaks for itself. I know I’ve said this before, but we actually had someone tell us that they couldn’t find a single cat groomer in ALL OF SCOTLAND! That says something.
3.It is extremely easy to accidentally slice a cat open with clippers.
I use the best clippers (Wahl), with the sharpest blades. I still cut cats… not often, but it’s par for the course with cat grooming. It’s not fun to deal with ( telling the owner, gluing the skin back together), but as a cat groomer it’s just part of the job.
4. Cat groomers get scratched and bitten daily.
This just doesn’t happen with dog grooming. Yes, there’s an occasional incident. There aren’t DAILY incidents. Cats are unpredictable and their wrath is FIERCE. Cat-scratch fever and severe infections from even superficial bites are commonplace. I was even bitten by a RABID CAT once and had to have the post-exposure vaccines. I like to think it’s what gave me my powers 😂.
5. Cats go longer between grooms than dogs.
Dogs get groomed once a month or thereabouts. Although some of my clients keep strict schedules… cat grooming is still kinda like the Wild Wild West. Meaning I have the pleasure of grooming severely matted 15 year-old cats that have NEVER been groomed on a daily basis. I’m making up for years of neglect here… you can’t tell me that’s not worth a little extra. Then add to that the fact that I might cut her with the clippers, she might bite me- requiring a trip to the Doc-in-the-Box, and the fact that this is the only cat salon within 150 miles or so. Do you see why it’s a little more expensive than grooming a dog now?
6. Cat grooming often requires 2 people.
I’d say about half the cats we groom are a one-person job, and the other half take two people to get them looking perfect. This is because you cannot (or SHOULD NOT) use a groomer’s loop on them to hold them in place. A cat will simply jump into the air and hang themselves, rather than sit still for a groomer with a leash on (like dogs do). I see women online who groom completely by themselves, and I think that’s great, I really do. But personally, I feel I’m able to groom more cats and do a better job with someone to hold them still for the finish-work -like the insides of the rear legs and bellies. Dogs don’t usually require two people They are tethered in place by the groomers loop, nobody has to hold them in place for you, or make them stand up.
Well, that about wraps it up. Cat groomers don’t just charge more for grooming because they CAN, they charge more because it’s worth it. About 3/4 of all dog owners report being able to wash their own dogs at home, while only a tiny fraction of cat owners can do the same (about 5%). If that doesn’t sum up how difficult my job is, then I don’t know what does! I’m personally looking forward to the day when there are cat groomers on every corner, but until then, I’m pretending this is Tombstone and I’m Wyatt Earp. Don’t burst my bubble 🤠
Shannon & Whitney
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