I was looking through “before the cat groom” pictures the other day, in hunt for something very specific.  Afterward I felt gross. Downright dirty. Disgusting.  Bleh! 

I had sifted through hundreds of dirty cat pictures (that’s “dirty” as in gross – not the other kind of “dirty”) and thought to myself, “How does this happen?”  How is it that people can live with something so disgustingly filthy? How can human beings be so intentionally unsanitary by their inaction? Never mind the health, comfort and well-being of the cat. How is it that PEOPLE are okay with stuff like this?  I don’t even have an answer.

In lieu of an answer, I decided to pull out some of the photos and write a blog series about them. So far I’ve selected 16 photos to start with, and this doesn’t even scratch the surface of icky-ness. But it will give you an idea.

And just in case anyone thinks what I write in this series is offensive in any way. Good. Because I’m offended at the condition these cats are in. (The cat is, most likely, offended too.) So now we’re even.

To start with…….


Ingrown nails. This has to be painful. I have a hard time with a hangnail. Imagine the pain and suffering for a cat to walk around on paws that have sharp claws growing up into them. Wow! And the unsanitary-ness of it all. Imagine the germs that have collected in the black gunk buildup on the nail and inside the puncture wound. Litter box germs, household germs. Great stuff  there.

This could be prevented so easily. Regular bath, blow dry and a nail trim. Easy.


This cat smelled like pee when she was brought in. No wonder since her entire body was covered in a pelt that extended down both back legs and across her private parts. Every time she pottied, the pee ran down her matted legs where it stayed until we shaved it off. Notice the red, raw skin underneath. That’s because the matting was pulling so tightly. It addition to the pee saturated, pelted coat, the cat could barely walk. Her range of motion was restricted because her matted hair had all fused together.

The pile of hair on the floor is a part of the sum total removed from this poor kitty.

This could be prevented so easily. Regular bath, blow dry, sanitary clip, and nail trim. And in this case, a face trim would also be done since the cat is a Persian. Easy.

And before anyone starts adding comments to this that combing and brushing would prevent all of this. It won’t. An argument could be made that combing and brushing can cut down on or even eliminate mats in the first place. However, because cats are so oily (Yes, they are!) and because they continuously shed, the coat needs to be properly washed and dried to eliminate both greasy hair and loose hair.  Thus, combing/brushing does not CLEAN the cat. Nor does it remove urine and feces. The act of combing and brushing does spread around the grease and cat saliva (since cats are so good at licking themselves) and removes some of the dead, loose hair. So you have a combed cat with dirty hair. Fabulous.


This cat has flea bite dermatitis. That means it suffers from an allergic reaction to flea saliva. Each time the cat gets bit by a flea, the skin reacts by becoming itchy and oozy. The cat tries to scratch at the infected area (hard to do for this cat because of the location of the rash and the fact that it was previously covered with a thick pelt of matted hair).

Imagine hundreds of hungry fleas crawling around under matted hair, feasting on the cat for weeks on end. All the while, the cat is suffering from an incredibly itchy rash that it can’t scratch. That has to be loads of fun! 

This could be prevented so easily. Flea bath, blow dry, nail trim. Easy.  If a cat is groomed on a regular basis (i.e. every 4-6 weeks), a groomer can spot fleas BEFORE an infestation occurs. Wouldn’t that be great?

Need some help getting clients off the neglect cycle and onto a regular maintenance groom schedule?

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