Should I Get My Cat Groomed by a Professional?

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Cats are fastidious about their appearance, but sometimes they may not get the grooming job done well enough on their own. This may lead you to question whether or not you should get your cat professionally groomed, and if so, how often do they need to be groomed.

Before you go booking an appointment, it's worthwhile to consider what a professional cat groomer can do and if it's anything beyond your own expertise.

What Are the Benefits of Cat Grooming?

First off, why should you take a cat to a professional if they bathe themselves? Well, while cats do groom themselves, maintaining their shiny coat and healthy skin in the process, they can't reach everywhere. This is why a regular brushing regimen is so important.

When you groom your cat, you help maintain their wellness. "One or two brushings per week will help kitty to keep (their) healthy glow," explained the ASPCA. "You'll find that regular sessions are especially beneficial when your cat ages and is no longer able to groom so meticulously on (their) own."

In addition to keeping their fur smooth and shiny, regular brushing can also help:

  • Remove loose hair
  • Reduce tangles
  • Reduce hairballs
  • Remove dirt and other debris

Grooming also helps you identify areas of irritation and any lumps and bumps that are hiding under all that fur, said Greencross Vets.

When to Call in a Professional Cat Groomer

Some of the most common reasons for needing a professional groomer are matted or tangled fur, especially with long-haired kitties. But other issues can require expert assistance, too, such as if your cat has a temper or you simply feel uncomfortable with your grooming skills.

Severely Matted Fur

Ideally, you should brush or comb a short-haired cat at least once a week and a long-haired cat at least once or twice a day. Using the right cat grooming tools and techniques helps make brushing your cat easier. However, there are times when the task is too much for cat parents.

When the fur on your kitty's backside gets scraggly and traps remnants from their litter box visits, for instance, you might want to take your cat to a professional. That's a tricky area to detangle, and your cat may not be happy about your attempts to clean them up.

Avoiding cutting your cat's hair with scissors, advises Petful, because you run the risk of cutting their skin in the process, which is very thin. Drastic situations may require shaving instead of brushing. If your cat's fur is so matted that you can't get a brush or comb through it, consider consulting a professional pet groomer.

A woman in wearing red brushes a gray striped cat with big green eyes looking toward camera.

Feisty or Anxious Cat

Not all cats like to be handled by humans, which makes grooming a bit of a challenge. Professional groomers are trained to put all kitties at ease while they get them clean.

Getting your cat into their carrier can be a stressful situation in and of itself, though, so why not let the groomer come to you? Many businesses now offer mobile grooming services so your kitty can enjoy the spa treatment in a setting where they're most comfortable. As with any pet care provider, make sure you thoroughly research each company so you land on one you trust.

There are ways you can ease your kitty into at-home grooming. The American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP) recommends establishing a grooming routine when your cat is young, but they reiterate that it's never too late to start. "Catch your cat in the right mood," said the AAFP, adding that "frequent short grooming sessions are better than infrequent long grooming sessions."

Over time, you and your cat may slide into a nice grooming rhythm. Additionally, giving your cat tiny rewards after a brushing can also help instill good habits.

Uncertainty of Grooming Best Practices

A full grooming process includes brushing or combing, bathing, claw trimming and cleaning the eyes and ears. If you're feeling unsure of your own skills, Best Friends Animal Society recommends visiting a professional groomer for a lesson: "Most groomers are thrilled to meet people who want to work with their animals in between professional grooming visits."

Still wondering, how often to get your cat professionally groomed? With regular brushing and maintenance at home, your cat may only need to visit a professional groomer about four times a year — think seasonally. And for services like nail trimming, the ASPCA recommends every 10 days to two weeks.

Contributor Bio

Christine O'Brien

Christine O'Brien

Christine Brovelli-O'Brien, Ph.D., is a professional member of the Cat Writers' Association (CWA), a STEAM educator, and a devoted cat parent. She writes about pets, education, and STEM-y stuff. Find and follow her on Instagram and Twitter @brovelliobrien