I am often asked why I choose the things I choose when it comes to products, tools, and equipment for cat grooming. Here I will explain a few of those personal choices, underlined below.

  1. Slick table top rubber (or non-slick) table top
  2. Metal hose rubber hose
  3. Single-hand control nozzle commonly used dog bathing nozzle with separate on/off control.
  4. Forever Stainless Mini Tub any other tub
  5. Chris Christensen Face/Feet Comb any other face/feet comb
  6. Chubbs Bars shampoo any other shampoo
  7. Air Muzzle e-collar or mesh muzzle
  8. Wahl 5-in-1 blade any other blade
  9. Wahl Bravura any other cordless clipper
  10. Wahl KM10 (or 5) any other corded clipper
  11. Stainless Steel snap-on combs plastic snap on combs
  12. Catty Shack Vac drying system simply using a high velocity dryer

 

  1. Slick table top rubber (or non-slick) table top

Whenever a cat can remain in it’s “comfort position” things will go better for cat and groomer.

The less you mess the better. This has become one of my rules to live by since first working with cats in the late 90s. The less you mess the better it is for all involved. Let the cat remain in its comfort position by spinning it around on the table to the angle that works best for whatever work needs to be done at any given moment. Slick table tops allow for this. Rubber or grip-y tops do not.

In addition, there’s the pee factor. Cats will pee while being groomed. It’s a fact. Not every cat will do this every time, but I guarantee a week of cat grooming will not go by without at least one cat peeing on the table. If the table has a rubber or plastic rim of any kind or rubber grooves, pee collects in the crevices and is impossible to get out completely. Cat pee has a way of lingering about for way longer than anyone would like.

My first grooming table was a rubber-topped dog grooming table. Because of the grip factor and the pee factor, I quickly had that table top replaced with melamine material that my handy husband got at Home Depot and cut down to size before bolting to the table legs. This worked like a charm. Later, my table tops became stainless steel, offering a better esthetic experience in addition to good slide factor and easy cleaning.

Places to look: restaurant supply companies

Ideal size for cat grooming: 36”w x 24”d

 

  1. Metal hose vs. rubber hose

Unless you like indoor sprinkler systems, get a metal hose to connect the spray nozzle to the faucet. One angry cat will destroy a rubber hose in less than 2 seconds. Duct tape does not generally work well to plug up the teeth holes made in a wet, rubber hose. Trust me.

Places to look: Kitchen supply stores or pet grooming supply companies

 

  1. Single-hand control nozzle vs. commonly used dog bathing nozzle with separate on/off control.

I’ll never forget the live cat bath performance I did in Sydney once, whereby I soaked myself, the sound system, and audience members sitting in the first two rows from the stage. If I had three hands this would not have happened. Or if the spray nozzle I was using had an on/off control on the actual nozzle this would not have happened. And since I’m probably never going to grow a third arm, I think getting the single-hand operation nozzle is the best bet.

Imagine this: one hand is holding onto the scruff of a wiggly kitty that has never had a bath before. The groomer cannot let go of the cat. The other (and only remaining) hand is holding onto the nozzle attached to a hose attached to a faucet.  The groomer cannot let go of the nozzle while it is being turned on or it will turn into a wild snake-like firehose, whipping back and forth with complete abandon.

The on/off valve or switch is located somewhere else on the tub. Which hand should be used to turn on the water and adjust the flow and temperature?

Exactly.

It is wise to invest in a spray nozzle with a nifty squeeze control mechanism built right in so that the hand holding the nozzle can also turn the water on, control the pressure flow, and turn the water off as needed.

Where to look: any home improvement supply store or gardening supply store

 

  1. Forever Stainless Mini Tub vs. any other tub

I know these are pricey, but I’m telling you, if there’s a hurricane you could hide under one of these babies and live to tell about it. The Forever Mini is just the right height, depth, and width to work nicely for cats. Generally, the more space a cat thinks it can run around in the more it will try to do exactly that. Minimize the available space. Keep it elevated so back pain and permanent spine damage do not result and leverage over the cat is maintained.

On another note, the quality of the stainless steel used to make the Forever Stainless Mini is top-notch. Perhaps this doesn’t seem like a big deal but lesser quality stainless steel tends to get a bit noisy as it is bumped, There will always be some bumping going on during the process of bathing cats. Noisy bumping sounds echo, making things extra scary for the cat. Not good.

Where to look: Forever Stainless

 

  1. Chris Christensen Face/Feet Comb vs. any other face/feet comb

I have no idea what Chris Christensen does to his combs to make them so outstanding in cat hair. I only know that they are outstanding in cat hair and really grip the dead coat that needs to come out, hence leaving a superb finish on a properly bathed and dried cat. Any other face/feet comb simply does not work the same. The net result is actual effective combing vs. “petting” a cat with a comb while thinking the cat is being combed properly. Total waste of time plus subpar finish.

Buy a cheaper version if you want, but once you experience the Chris Chris difference you will throw the other comb away. Save money and buy the best one from the start.

Where to look: NCGIA, Chris Christensen, Cherrybrook

 

  1. Chubbs Bars shampoo vs. any other shampoo

Of course I’m going to recommend Chubbs Bars shampoo over any other shampoo when it comes to bathing a cat because I invented Chubbs Bars and own the company. But bear in mind, I invented Chubbs Bars and invested in building that company because my reputation and livelihood rest on providing the best cat grooming results possible for both my local clients as well as all the people that come to my seminars, workshops, and classes all over the globe. Chubbs Bars exist because I needed a shampoo that would give me outstanding degreasing results not because I was bored and thought I’d start making soap in my spare time in the middle of the night. Just using logic here.

In a nutshell, anyone seriously wanting to degrease a cat and have the best foundation possible for whatever groom style is desired should use Chubbs Bars.

Where to look: chubbsbars.com (find foreign distributors on this website), Groomers Mall, Showseason, Smart Practice, Pet-Agree, Amazon, and more

 

  1. Air Muzzle vs. e-collar or mesh muzzle

I ask myself, “Do I want 100% protection against cat bites or 50%?” Air Muzzle = 100% (Unless you stick your hand inside the ball. Don’t do that.) E-collar = 40-50%. Again, simple logic.

About mesh muzzles – they are so “old school.” They are also not bite-proof (again, I like 100% protection from cat bites). I have lost count of how many times I have been punctured by a cat’s teeth WHILE it was wearing a mesh muzzle. This is all pre-Air Muzzle era, of course. In addition, I can’t see a cat’s face/eyes while it’s wearing a mesh muzzle. Safety for the cat is sacrificed in that regard. And, one more thing…….in my experience fastening a mask down over an angry cat’s head is a great way to make it even angrier.

Where to look: NCGIA, Smart Practice

 

  1. Wahl 5-in-1 blade vs. any other blade

Simply put, I have yet to find a clipper blade that cuts such clean, precise lines in cat hair. I’m a stickler for clean, neat lines so having a blade that does it well and does it fast is something I won’t live without. Any groomer struggling with getting straight, precise and very clean lines (crispy lines, as I like to call them) on a belly shave, sani trim, lion cut or creative design is either not positing the cat’s skin correctly when shaving, not using correct clipper technique, or not using a 5-in-1 blade – or any combination of the above. Want to fix that problem? Start by getting a 5-in-1-blade. The right tools for the job.

Where to look: NCGIA, any grooming supply company

 

  1. Wahl Bravura vs. any other cordless clipper

Considering what I just said about the 5-in-1 blade, the Bravura is my cordless clipper of choice that uses said blade. The Chromada, Arco, and  _____________________ are all great, too. But since this is about my personal preferences and choices, I’m going to say that I love the way the Bravura fits in my hand. I love the power that it has for being a cordless clipper. And with the new model boasting a lithium battery, it’s my all-time favorite cordless clipper. It is what I use to do all the fancy creative designs you may have seen on some of my cats. It’s also the clipper I use on my Standard Poodle constantly sporting some creative design or another. The Bravura is my go-to clipper for sanitary trims, belly shaves and leg lines on all lion cuts.

Where to look: NCGIA, any grooming supply company

 

  1. Wahl KM10 (or 5) vs. any other corded clipper

When shaving down a pelted or severely matted angry cat with a super greasy, filthy coat I need a powerful clipper that will get through the mess in the least amount of time possible. That clipper used to be the Wahl Switchblade and later the newly improved version, the Storm. Now, with the recent launch of the Wahl KM10, I am in pelt shaving heaven. Powerful and quiet. Bring it on!

Where to look: NCGIA, any grooming supply company

 

  1. Stainless Steel snap-on combs vs. plastic snap-on combs

Due to the nature of cat hair, plastic snap-on combs do not glide through as nicely as stainless steel snap-ons. I did not design things this way. I simply discovered that it is true.

Three ingredients for a great looking comb cut:

  1. a properly degreased and prepped coat
  2. suction
  3. stainless steel snap-on combs over a #30 blade

Where to look: NCGIA, any grooming supply company

 

  1. Catty Shack Vac drying system vs. simply using a high velocity dryer

Last but certainly not least. See my other article on setting up a cat grooming salon if you want to read more about why I love this invention so much. Again, I did not invent this huge piece of expensive equipment simply because I was bored and hoped groomers would fork out the dough to buy it. I made it and patented it because…….my top 10 reasons:

  1. I hate cat hair in my eyes
  2. I hate cat hair up my nose
  3. I want the least amount of cat hair flying about my salon as possible
  4. I don’t want my clients leaving my salon looking like a Himalayan in need of a de-shed
  5. I prefer to not get in a tangle with an angry cat
  6. I like my skin
  7. I get scruff cramps if scruffing for long periods of time
  8. I don’t particularly like drying cats so prefer to cut down the time as much as possible
  9. I like to think about stuff while drying cats which is easier if I don’t have to think about every single thing the cat is doing.
  10. I’ve come to realize that drying cats without the CSV sucks

Where to look: NCGIA, thecattyshack.com, Clipper World (Australia)

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