Sanis, Bellies, and Lion Clips, Oh My!

Dear Diary,
Today I glued my fingers together.
I didn’t mean to, it just happened. I had some extra Soft Paws and I wanted to practice putting them on. It looked like the tube of glue was empty, so I squeezed it really hard to try and get the last little bit out. This was met with partial success. The last of the glue came out. Unfortunately, not into the nail cap, but all over my fingers.
After that I decided I would practice applying Soft Paws tomorrow instead. But don’t worry, Diary. I had plenty of other things to do!
Today we got to groom THREE cats. And not just baths and comb outs either. I did a sanitary clip, a full belly shave and finished up the day with a loin clip. It was really challenging and really fun!
My first kitty was a mess. A dingy white domestic long hair, he had fur clumps down his back and that really nasty chalky feel to his coat. Yuck! I couldn’t wait to get him in the tub. But since dirty hair is money, I did a sanitary clip first.
I didn’t do it right. Years of grooming dogs took over and instead of making nice, crisp lines between the clipped and unclipped coat, I skimmed off the clipped area to blend into the unclipped hair. Works on dogs! But comparing it side by side with one of the other students who had clipped correctly, you could see that it didn’t look neat and tidy. It looked like someone forgot what they were doing halfway through. Luckily, Juli was there and helped me fix it. Plus we got to discuss the difference in style, which was neat. I love hearing the hows and whys and experiences of everyone!
I was extra sure to do a thorough bath today. The clumps of hair loosened up and just like Danelle said, once in the Catty Shack Vac they blew apart and he was left with a silky, tangle free and flowing coat. Then it was just a matter of doing a quick touch up on the sanitary clip and running a comb through the cat and he was finished. A gentle application of Catatonic added the perfect finish.
My next kitty was a gorgeous Blue Cream Persian. Guess what? I remembered the color correctly! I don’t think grooming was on her agenda for the day and she came out of her carrier grumbling. I decided trimming her nails and doing the face trim would be best to do before she got too mad. I felt pretty good about the face trim. It’s a little like doing the Bichon “ledge”. I felt kinda silly using my itty bitty scissors. But feeling silly has never stopped me before! She was getting really grouchy so I put the handling techniques we learned to the test in order to do the full belly clip. I did much better with my technique, but it was hard! Especially with her curling into a ball and seeing that tail twitch. My lines were a little (lot) crooked, and I had to clip more than desirable to even them out. I think this is going to be one of the hardest things to master.
By the time Ms. Grouchy Paws got into the tub she was growling and lashing her tail back and forth. I was definitely feeling some apprehension about doing a bath and blow dry! About halfway through her bath she felt too soggy to complain. Danelle told me to get her in the CSV and finish her before she regained her ‘tude. I’m feeling more comfortable with the CSV, and was able to dry her pretty quick.
Not quick enough! Back on the table for the finishing touches she started rumbling and grumbling. Juli lent an extra hand so I could finish up gracefully. Whew! Sometimes you just need an extra hand. While I was neatening the belly and doing a final comb through Juli gave me some tips on how I could do a cranky kitty like that by myself. Ummm…if you say so!
My last cat of the day was the most fun. Another domestic long hair, this time a black and white. Very serious in his formal attire. He got a lion clip and I got to try the NCGIA way of body clipping for the first time. It was short. Shorter than I’m used to, but so easy! No back brushing. No fiddling around with uneven patches. Just a buzz, buzz against the lay of the hair…and purrfection! I did a quick rough in before his bath, getting as much hair off and setting my lines (legs, around the head and the tail.) This will make bathing and drying quicker and easier, plus it will give me hair to sell!
Bathing a clipped cat is so much fun! He felt really neat, like wet velour. I gave him a good scrub, cleaned his ears (waxy, ewwww!) and let him cage dry while one of the other students finished up with the CSV. Once in the Catty Shack Vac he just need a few minutes to finish drying his mane and legs. It gave them a smoother, straighter finish than cage drying alone. A tuxedo cat is far too sophisticated to have frizzies.
Doing the final clip was so easy. I love the fact that there’s no back brushing. And it’s so smooth! I had trouble clipping the front legs, it’s tricky to get a nice straight line. Even though my clipping was a little shaky, it looked tons better than my ‘skim off the body’ attempt to blend the legs that I used to do. Lots better! I know if my own kitty ever gets clipped, I’d rather have the clipped/unclipped look than the blended look I used to do.
So all in all, a fantastic day! I got to try my hand at three different clips. Even though I didn’t do them perfectly the first time, each cat went home looking neat and tidy. They had soft, shiny coats and were smooth and even where clipped. I survived working with a cranky cat and kept a calm, quiet cat happy.
Can you believe it’s only my second day of doing grooms here at Cat School? I can’t!

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