Tight headband around Persian cat’s head while being groomed commercially

Persian cat wearing a headband while being groomed
Persian cat wearing a headband while being groomed. Screenshot.

Well, I am going to get on my high horse and criticised this video. Perhaps I am wasting my time criticising the video because I should be criticising the fact that we have a Persian cat at a commercial grooming parlour. Persian cats have been bred to have very long fur which the cat themselves is unable to groomed properly. Therefore, humans have to do it for the cat. And because of that the owner takes them to the grooming parlour where they put this ghastly headband around the cat’s head to stop them biting the groomer. The whole process starts with creating a cat with fur that is too long for the cat to maintain.


And I just don’t trust grooming parlours. They are generally unregulated. I would be surprised if there is any country where commercial pet groomers are regulated by the local authorities. That doesn’t mean that they’re no good it just means that nobody is watching them. And there have been some terrible accidents at grooming parlours in America for instance.

I think a cat or dog owner who has their companion animal groomed commercially should be present when they do the grooming. But they go away and leave them there for several hours or half a day. They presume that everything is going on just fine. But is it? What is the cat or dog going through? Are they safe? Are they stressed? Are they going to be in pain?

This looks uncomfortable to the cat. I think it’s unfair that we put a cat through this. In fact, it is doubly unfair because this is a flat-based Persian and we know they have problems breathing and tear duct overflow and a predisposition to polycystic kidney disease et cetera.

There are a lot of health issues with respect of this video and it is indicative, I would say, of a rather poor relationship with the Persian cat and humankind. We should not have created a cat with such an abnormally flat face which distorts the internal anatomy. People should seriously be reevaluating whether the cat associations should allow this sort of cat to be bred because it goes against the basic ethos of the cat associations which is to only create cats which are healthy.

The Persian cat can be a pretty placid cat (but predisposed to anxiety) as you can see in the video but my bet is that they were stressed during this. And we don’t know how the grooming session went. We don’t know how a cat feels when they are being handled like this with their fur being combed and brushed vigorously. Often when fur is matted and they go to a grooming parlour to have the matts removed the cat is likely to feel pain and discomfort.

And we don’t know how good or bad the commercial groomers are. Are they going to be sensitive towards the cat? Or are they going to pull and push the cat causing discomfort and stress. The whole thing is unnecessary if the cat did not have this type of fur. You don’t see single-coated regular domestic cats go through this kind of stressful process.

Infographic on flat-faced Persian health as per Dr Fogle DVM

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Infographic on domestic cat coat grooming care

Here are some brief notes in the form of an infographic on human intervention in helping their cat to maintain a good and healthy coat. In terms of hygiene and keeping the coat in excellent condition, human intervention is only normally needed for semi-longhaired and longhaired cats (mainly the latter). Through selective breeding, the contemporary Persians have extraordinarily long coats which are beyond the means of the cat underneath to keep it in good order 😢. This is really about Persians. No random bred cat has fur as long.

Cat grooming and hygiene - human intervention
Cat grooming and hygiene – human intervention. Infographic by MikeB. It is free to use under a Creative Commons: ATTRIBUTION-NODERIVS CC BY-ND license. It is a very compact infographic in terms of detail as it must be due to limited space.

But as mentioned in the infographic there is a real benefit to the human-to-cat relationship in grooming a shorthaired cat particularly with a flea comb which is feasible despite the tight teeth. The benefit is bonding. Cats love the feeling of the comb against their skin and you can tackle those spots they can’t reach for extra pleasure.

A semi-longhaired cat needs twice-weekly human grooming with a bristle or slicker brush followed by combing the long hair with wide-toothed comb. Getting rid of matts on longhaired cats should be done with great care and as mentioned in the infographic with vertical (the skin) scissors and a comb between scissors and skin.

As for self-grooming, a typical domestic cat spends about 10% of their awake time grooming themselves. Fastidiousness comes to mind and it is why humans don’t need to wash or bathe their cat unless for a rare specific reason. Perhaps cat caregivers should consider working harder and longer on their personal hygiene 😉.

Cats groom themselves in a sequence which is always the same. Grooming cleans the skin and spreads the cat’s scent over their coat. If they have fleas this is the time when they can ingest one and acquire a tapeworm infection as the flea is part of the tapeworm lifecycle.

Cat grooming also deposits saliva on the fur where is forms part of cat dander which dries and flies off landing on furniture. It contains Fel D1 the cat allergen.

Dr Fogle says that he is pleased when a cat owner regularly grooms their cat as they are easier to handle in the consulting room!

Other caregiving that can be undertaken at the time of coat maintenance are:

  • checking oral health (very tricky but important)
  • checking ears
  • checking claws if cat is elderly to trim them if ingrowing.
  • checking the eyes and area below the eye for tear duct overflow (Persians mainly). Angels Eyes is a solution that can remove the staining.

RELATED: My cat has matted fur. How do I go about grooming matted cat fur?

Trimming a cat's claws diagram
Trimming a cat’s claws diagram. Illustration: PoC based on image in public domain.

The mantra with trimming claws is to do it when the adult was a kitten and recently adopted. Same as above. They get used it and there is little problem. It pays to check the forepaws of older cats regular to watch out for ingrowing claws and trim them before the claws turn into the paw pad. That makes it more painful for the cat (and for the person emotionally!) to trim.

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Grooming needs of purebred cats

Some cats need grooming by their human guardians and some don’t. In fact, the grooming needs, in respect of human intervention, of the purebred cats of the cat fancy could be categorised into three groups; low grooming needs to medium and high grooming needs.

High grooming needs:

Persian cat
“Gino” or more formally: GC, NW Velvetkist Designer Genes, CFA’s Cat of the Year 2016-17. Bred by Noralayn Heisig of Velvetkist Persians. A well groomed cat 😉 .

It is clear to most people that there is one cat breed that stand outs as in need of daily grooming by their human caretakers; the Persian and the Himalayan (pointed Persian) . In addition you could add the Maine Coon and the Ragdoll. And I should differentiate between the traditional and contemporary Persian cat by saying that the flat-faced Persian also needs to be groomed daily by their owner.

Those cat breeds that have low grooming needs might be categorised as follows (they are listed in alphabetical order):

Abyssinian, American Shorthair, American Wirehair, Balinese, Bengal, Bombay, British Shorthair, Burmese, Burmilla, Chartreux, Colorpoint Shorthair, Cornish Rex, Devon Rex, Egyptian Mau, Havana Brown, Japanese Bobtail, Javanese, Korat, Manx, Ocicat, Oriental Longhair, Oriental Shorthair, Russian Blue, Scottish Fold, Siamese, Singapura, Sphynx, Tonkinese, Turkish Angora.

There is a lot of information about all of these breeds on this website which you can find by using Google’s custom search tool.

Those cat breeds that have medium or moderate grooming needs might be categorised as follows:

American Curl, Birman, Cymric, Exotic Shorthair, Norwegian Forest Cat, Scottish Fold longhair, Somali, and the Turkish Van. I’d like to add the British Longhair, a rare but beautiful cat breed.

I am thankful to Richard H. Gebhart, a former president of the Cat Fanciers’ Association Inc. for this information. He was an internationally recognised judge and breeder of pedigree cats. He was president of the CFA between 1968 and 1980 and a member of the Board of Directors from 1962 to 1981. He owned a cat called Silva-Wyte who was world-renowned. He held many other posts too lengthy to list here.

SOME MORE ON GROOMING:

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How do I remove mats from cat fur?

Mats should be removed to prevent them growing. The grow because they catch up more and more hair which can lead to your cat’s skin being pinched resulting in pain and discomfort.

De-matting a cat
De-matting a cat. Collage: PoC.

Warning

I think you have to be sensible and decide whether it is possible to remove mats at home. It depends on how bad they are. You can do harm to a cat if you try and remove them when you’re not really up to the task. You shouldn’t be too ambitious or overoptimistic. A good dose of common sense is required. It may look easier than it is. There is potential for harm which needs to be recognised. You can’t just dive in and brush away heavily and vigourously or pull a comb through your cat’s hair with force. That is simply not how it’s done because you will harm your cat.

Guidelines

On the basis that the mats aren’t that bad and you feel that you are dexterous and careful enough to do the job then you should read on. There are two tools that you can use which may help. One is a commercial tangle remover liquid or spray which may soften the mass and facilitate its removal. These liquids penetrate the tangled hair which helps to release the hair from the knot which helps to remove it through brushing/combing.

Further, on Amazon you can buy special combing tools designed to remove mats. I’ve used neither of these products so I can’t endorse them. However, if you do use them I think it goes without saying that you should be careful. In fact carefulness is critical if you are carrying out a home treatment of this type. Care and gentleness are the guiding principles.

Some mats can be removed with the tip of a comb and sometimes you have to remove them by cutting them out. You can cut out mats with scissors but it must be done with extreme care. The great difficulty here is that you really can’t cut them out out by placing the scissors horizontally to the skin at the base of the fur. This is because you are very likely to cut the skin. This must be avoided at all costs because you would be making the matter worse and causing your cat even more distress.

Rather than sliding the scissors beneath the mat and cutting horizontally it is suggested that when possible you should slide a comb beneath the mat and above the skin to act as a barrier to protect the skin. You then hold the scissors perpendicular to the comb i.e. at 90° to the comb and snip into the furball in narrow strips. This breaks up the mat and allows you to tease out he remaining tangles gently with your fingers. Once the bulk of the mat has been removed this way you can then comb out the rest gently.

Cats with badly matted coats need to be taken to a veterinarian where they will sedate the cat and remove the mats with a professional, powered trimming device such as they use at a professional groomer.

Groomers

As for groomers, I would avoid them. As far as I know they are not registered or regulated in most or in all countries (or US states) and therefore you don’t know how good they are. You don’t know whether they will do their job sensitively with respect for the cat and without causing any pain. There have been some unpleasant stories of cats being harmed and even killed at grooming parlours. I would trust in your veterinarian.

Lion cut?

Persian cat with lion cut
Persian cat with lion cut. Photo: Reddit.com

In warm weather, some cat owners like to give their long-haired cats a lion cut or simply trim the hair to prevent mats forming and to allow the cat to feel less hot. I don’t think that this is cruel although the cat may be put under a general anaesthetic which is dangerous. In which case the potential downside or risk might outweigh the benefits which makes the idea debatable at least.

Personal experience

I have personal experience of using a professional groomer to remove mats from a cat I own some years ago. The mats were not bad but I thought they were too difficult to safely remove myself. My cat returned without the mats but I felt sure that she had been traumatised judging by her behaviour on her return. I felt that she had been abused. I could be wrong but that was my opinion at the time. It’s a reason why I would not recommend groomers.

Prevention

Preventing cat coat mats
Preventing cat coat mats. Image: Pinterest.

I have to mention the obvious namely prevention is better than cure. When I took my cat to have her mats removed I was a failure. I had let my cat’s fur become matted. It could have been prevented. If you comb your cat’s fur regularly, say once a day or once every other day, the fur should not become matted. Arguably, every cat should be flea combed daily anyway so why not combine the two tasks? A domestic cat’s matted coat is a failure in cat caretaking. That sounds harsh but ultimately it is true.

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What animal is it? Ah! It’s a cute matted cat.

This is one of those recurring “matted cat stories”. They pop up on the Internet from time to time. They are astonishing because readers can’t understand how cat owners can allow their cats to get into such a state but often we don’t know the back story. There may be an acceptable reason but nonetheless the first photograph from the Arizona Humane Society makes you wonder what creature you are looking at. Fluffer, the sweet-looking placid cat you see after all the matts were removed was carrying around 2 pounds of excess matted fur on her 8 pound body. So a quarter of her weight was fur that should not have been there.

Fluffer at AHS’ Second Chance Animal Trauma Hospital™
Fluffer at AHS’ Second Chance Animal Trauma Hospital™ before her matted fur was removed. Photo: AHS

Julie, a Arizona Humane Society worker responded to a call last Friday and when she arrived she could barely tell what animal she was looking at. The mats were so severe that Julie transferred Fluffer to the Animal Humane Society Second Chance Animal Trauma Hospital™. The good ending is that she was adopted after two days at the shelter.

Fluffer after the removal
Fluffer after the removal. Looking decidedly calm and unfazed. Photo: AHS

I can understand why because she’s a very sweet looking cat and the distinct impression that I have is that she is a very placid, laid-back cat. You can tell that from her facial expression. She is a bicolour grey-and-white.

Fluffer glammed up
Fluffer glammed up. Photo: AHS

One person who commented asked about Fluffer’s owner, or a better description would be her former owner. She enquired whether the owner would be charged with animal neglect. A fair question. Fluffer was otherwise healthy when picked up. There is no chance that the owner will be charged I can tell you that with complete certainty. Although there was neglect no doubt about that. In fact, on reading the comments further as I dictate this, I’ve just discovered that she was rescued when her owner passed away. But that doesn’t fully explain the situation. It can’t do. There must’ve been a period of time over many months, in fact, when Fluffer’s owner was unable perhaps through ill-health to care for her cat and then she passed away. That, by the look of it, is the back story to this heavily matted, cute and very adoptable cat.

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Tip: if your cat is not grooming something is wrong

Domestic cats are hardwired to groom themselves daily. In fact, it could be more than once daily so if you don’t see it something could be wrong which needs attention. It is a nice cat health tip for the vigilant cat guardian.

Brushing your cat is obligatory! Photos in public domain
Brushing your cat is obligatory! Photos in public domain

If she is developing mats or her coat feels oily this is a potential warning sign that something is wrong. Perhaps she is feeling unwell and/or is depressed.

She may be overweight and therefore unable to twist sufficiently to access her back and backside.

Need to brush

It is always good – and some would say obligatory – for cat guardians brush or comb their cat. I use a flea comb which is very fine but it serves a double purpose: a check for fleas and to groom him at the same time. His single coat makes it easy. Thick longhaired coats should be brushed and thinned out with the proper tool. Flea combing long haired cats should be done with considerable care otherwise it pulls and hurts the cat.

Once mats develop they can be very hard to remove and they may have to be shaved off by veterinary staff.

Not need to bath unless necessary

As for baths, these are not recommended unless you’re taking your long haired cat to a cat show or something untoward has happened which has deposited something unpleasant on her coat.

Bathing a cat removes the cat’s scent so it is essentially detrimental in my opinion unless it is a necessity for health reasons.

Lion cut is okay

The lion cut can be useful in hot climates and for elderly cats who can’t, or no longer want, to groom themselves. Grooming cats is nice for both the person (if done sensitively) and the cat but it is primarily done for the health of the cat. I am told that longhaired cats are more sensitive to touch which explains why, in general, long haired cats don’t like to be brushed. But it is necessary to avoid mats.

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Police called in after pet groomer “skinned elderly cat alive”

The cat’s owner, Jamie Maietta, says that the commercial pet groomer skinned her cat alive when all he was in for was to remove some matting in his fur.

When Jamie saw her cat she started to cry because of the state his was in. However her description of being skinned alive was a slight exaggeration to say the very least. The skin has been cut and irritated.

I can’t show the pic here because of advertisers. Please click on the link below to see it.

Please click the link below to see the image

Badly groomed cat (Luther). The photo is by Jamie Maietta.

It was a bad and crude job of work it seems to me. The groomer, Kelly Weymouth, in her defence says that Luther was in poor condition when she received him and his matts were tightly knotted.

Weymouth says that she warned Jamie that the grooming would irritate the skin. She also claimed that Luther’s age caused the skin to be less robust which meant that it was impossible to remove the matts without causing some irritation of the skin.

“His skin though is that a 90-year-old person….and to take mats off from that is impossible without causing some type of irritation.”

However, the argument put forward by Luther’s owner, Jamie, is sound I believe (except for the exaggeration). She said that Kelly should not have groomed her cat if she had known that it would cause this sort of skin irritation and damage.

I would have thought that a good cat groomer would have told the owner that it would take longer and be more expensive than usual to groom the cat and therefore charged more. That would have allowed her more time to do an extremely careful job. It may have been wise to have the owner in attendance during the grooming at least initially. That would have got the owner “on board” and aware of what was going on. Or, alternatively the groomer should have refused and advised the owner to take her cat to the veterinarian.

My guess is that Kelly was going to fast and too roughly for financial reasons.

Jamie is complaining to the police. This is not a criminal matter in my opinion. It is not cat abuse in a criminal sense. It is bad grooming and therefore a civil matter, potentially a breach of contract. Calling the police will make matters worse.

Although it does not affect the contract between cat owner and groomer because the groomer accepted the work, the cat’s owner has arguably been negligent in letting her cat become so badly matted.

Source of the story.

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Freakish Calico Cat Covered in Dreadlocks

The photos are astonishing. A medusa cat. They make you look twice and ask how did it happen? This is a calico cat who developed the worst coat matting ever seen. The 82-year-old cats owner suffered from dementia and has been rehomed in a residential care facility. You’ll see another cat in the comments section with medusa matting. For some reason old matting turns to dreadlocks.

Matted calico cat Hidey
Matted calico cat Hidey

The cat whose name is Hidey was “rescued” by the Animal League Shelter and Wildlife Center in Pennsylvania, USA. Hidey has also been rehomed with a distant relative of the owner. Hidey is in decent health but a bit overweight. It is just the coat which surprises me.

The person who found Hidey said:

“Then somebody mentioned that he had a second cat. So I started searching around, and suddenly this huge creature darts out from under the bed and runs down to the cellar, and I thought, ‘What was that?’”

Matted calico cat Hidey
Matted calico cat Hidey

Hidey is feeling much better after the shave. Obviously Hidey needed to be groomed by her owner because she was unable to do it herself to a satisfactory standard. This is probably because she is 14 years old.

Matted calico cat Hidey
Matted calico cat Hidey. Saved!

The moral of the story is that elderly cats need to be watched carefully and regularly groomed with a brush by their owner. Long haired cats are the ones to watch out for. Standard short haired cats shouldn’t matt even when neglected by cat and human. I use a flea comb to groom my cats as it has very fine teeth. It also allows me to check for fleas at the same time.

Some comments from Facebook:

Jeff Chapman: “Looks like someone glued a bunch of squirrels on a cat.”

Phyllis Benjamin: “I say it’s fake. I bought a torte Persian, years ago, that was severely matted and had to shave her. There’s no way the hair would grow like the picture indicates.”

Elizabeth A Buettner-Belczyk: “How does the hair even grow that way????? But the head is fine????”

The way the matts have formed is surprising I must say. They are like dreadlocks. Very strange. It must have taken place over a long time. The photos look genuine to me, by the way. I don’t think this is a fake.




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