Stephaney Kemper

Professional Pet Groomer

Cats need baths!

Cat’s don’t need baths.  They groom themselves!


If I had a penny for every time I heard those words…


I have this conversation all the time with both current and potential clients: do cats really need baths? Can we just skip that part?


Sometimes the pet parent is just worried.  They envision a violent and soapy fight ahead and just want to save their cat – and sometimes me – the stress.  Other times, they’ve been told by someone – maybe even their vet – that cats don’t need to be bathed.


But much like anything else, you should probably only listen to the experts when it comes to this.  And when it comes to grooming cats, I’m an expert.


The short answer is yes, cats need baths.


But why?


Cats need baths just like any other domestic creature.  We take daily showers, and even our canine kids get regular grooming – bath included.  Just like us, and just like our dogs, our cats get dirty and need to be cleaned!


Natural oils and dirt debris build up on the skin and hair.  Litter and waste collect on the rear and paws.  Wax builds up in the ears.  And if left unchecked, tangles can form and grow into mats.


They get dirty, and they need to be cleaned.


Applying water and shampoo has the same effect on the cat’s skin and coat that it does to ours.  It’s cleansing, making the skin and coat a healthier environment as well as making the cat more comfortable.


That is the biggest difference most cat owners report after getting their cat groomed – and bathed.  The cat seems more relaxed, more comfortable, and because the skin and coat are clean and fluffy, the owners enjoy sharing affection more, making the cat happier overall.


But don’t cats hate water?


Everyone knows the adage that cats hate water.  And any cat owner who has ever tried to wash a mess off of their pet knows how beastial their pet can get when it’s forced near the sink or tub.


But the reality is that cats are very nervous creatures.  They’re cautious, and often take sudden, loud, and unknown things as a threat.  They get scared.  And sometimes they panic.  This isn’t simply a matter of cats disliking water, it’s a case of cats not knowing that water is safe.


This problem is easily overcome with some patience and skill in the handler.  While there are a few exceptions – just as there are with dogs – most cats tolerate a soap and water bath just fine when attentive hands guide them into the process.


But don’t cats groom themselves?


Don’t get me started!  Licking is not bathing.  Saliva is not shampoo.  Cats need real baths with soap and water!  And until cats learn to operate the sink and handle shampoo bottles, I’ll say it plainly: Cats do not groom.  I do.

Adopt a Senior Pet!

November is Adopt a Senior Pet Month, and since I am a huge advocate for senior pets, I highly endorse: Do it!


If you are looking to add another pet to your family, I can’t recommend a senior enough.  They are often among the calmest, most loving, and easy going pets around, and you’ll be hard pressed to find a better snuggler.  Unfortunately they’re also the hardest group of pets for rescues and shelters to find homes for, so it’s not just phrasing when we say you’ll be saving a life.


You see, I may be a bit biased on this because I have two senior pets of my own, and lost a third in early 2015.  I have owned puppies and kittens, and have owned adult dogs and cats, but my favorite companions have been my seniors.


I used to be like most people – I loved puppies and kittens and preferred them if I was ever getting a new pet!  But that want had nothing to do with what pets were really best for me and my living situation, and had nothing to do with what was best for the pet.  What I saw in puppies was the big eyes, the floppy paws… I overlooked the greying muzzles of the seniors like everyone else.


But then Romeo came into my life.


Romeo was a 14 year old Shih Tzu, wasn’t really new to me.  He was an old family pet, and had lived with my sister for most of his life.  When my sister couldn’t care for him anymore, she offered him to me, and I couldn’t refuse!


At 14 years old, he needed some TLC when he came home to me.  He had been free fed a poor diet most of his life, and so was fairly overweight and unhealthy. He had arthritis that made walking difficult (especially with the extra weight he carried) and between that and the poor food, he had very little energy to spare.  It had also been nearly a year since he had been groomed!  After switching him to a high quality food, getting him on a feeding schedule, and starting up a regular grooming routine, Romeo blossomed.


His first few weeks with us were rough for him.  He was in a new place, with new pet siblings, and a new routine.  He had a lot of changes to adjust to!  But the longer he was with me, the better he got!  The light in his eyes returned and he even had some energy for play!  He quickly became attached to me, and rarely left my lap.


He was one of the sweetest pets I’d ever had, and he completely stole my heart.  I was converted for life.  I fell in love with senior pets and found that caring for Romeo actually helped me better care for my senior clients.


When he passed away in early 2015, I took it much harder than I expected, but I wouldn’t have trade that time with him for the world.


I now have Gerry, a 12 year old Persian cat, and Percival, a 7 year old mixed breed dog.  They are fabulous pets, and like a fine wine, they’ve only gotten better with age!


Having these older pets in my life has completely changed my outlook on pet ownership.  I take it more seriously, I consider the greater effect my choices have, and I’ve become more outspoken about not only adoption, but senior pet adoption.  Fewer years left does not mean they have less love to give, and they deserve our love and care as much as any other.


Please, if you can, adopt an older dog or cat.  They’re so worth it!

What does CFMG mean?

If you’ve seen my business cards or checked me out online, you’ve probably seen the four funny letters after my name: CFMG.  Those letter stand for Certified Feline Master Groomer, and they’re the biggest achievement of my career so far.


In 2011, I signed up to attend the National Cat Groomer’s Institute of America, a feline exclusive cat grooming school in Greenville, South Carolina.  I had already groomed a handful of cats, but I didn’t have any real training, and I wanted to do better.  The NCGIA offered a hefty education program and two full weeks of hands on direction – exactly the kind of training I needed to become not only better, but among the best.

I ordered all of their study materials and for nearly a full year before my session, I studied on a daily basis.  My poor family was constantly dragged in to help drill me on behavior, health conditions, and running through my breed and coat color flashcards.  I watched the videos a dozen times over, and did my best to implement my new skills on the few cats I was already grooming.  I read and reread the training materials.  I took notes, and studied them over and over.  After days, weeks, and months, I finally attended the school.


For two weeks I attended lectures on the materials I had been studying and practiced hands on skills on real live cats.  It was intense, and I loved it!  I passed both my practical and written exams with flying colors, and was called by the founder, Danelle German, “possibly the fastest cat groomer we’ve seen!”


So what does all of this really mean?


Well, pet grooming isn’t a regulated industry.  While grooming schools and apprenticeships are common, certification isn’t required by law – practically anyone can pick up a pair of clippers and start charging for services.  And anyone who calls themselves a groomer can go onward to train others.  This leaves the industry weak in terms of quality and safety standards, because there are no consistent guidelines.

I voluntarily spent a substantial amount of time, energy, and money to make sure I was knowledgeable in the safest and best ways to deliver the best quality service.  I pay yearly dues, and routinely refresh myself on what I learned at the NCGIA, as well as the latest industry trends.


Basically, it means you can have a certain amount of confidence in what you’ll get when you bring your beloved pet to me.  You can be sure your money is well spent.  You can bet the results you see will be the best in town.  And you can feel safe knowing your cat is in capable hands.

Call now!