By Polly Keary
Cats are legendary for their dislike of baths.
So there are very few professional animal groomers willing to risk the wrath of a feline in order to clean its coat and clip its claws.
But one Gold Bar groomer is willing to wrangle felines.
Connie Mulholland, owner of Connie’s Pet Peeves Grooming and Boarding, has been grooming cats for 30 years.
It’s true that cats groom themselves, but some cats, especially long-haired cats, can’t always manage, and mats can get out of control. Older cats and obese cats need extra help, too.
And any cat can benefit, as can owners eager to keep pet hair down, or who struggle with allergies.
A typical cat grooming involves shaving the fur on the animals belly and under its limbs. Sometimes cat owners like to get a “lion cut.”
“You either leave a mane or not, and you shave down the whole body and leave a booty on the foot and you shave a tassel on the end of the tail like a lion would have,” said Mulholland. “A lot of people say their cats feel like kittens again.”
Grooming can also include toenail cutting and ear cleaning, as well as flea treatments with tea tree oil and other natural products.
Getting a cat groomed is slightly more expensive that the same service for a dog; about $55 compared to about $45 for a dog. There are several good reasons for that, Mulholland explained.
For one thing, you can get hurt grooming cats.
“It can be a little rodeo,” she said. “Cats are not easy; they are very difficult. Cats don’t stay still on all fours. They lay down, and you are going to get bit and scratched.”
Mulholland was once sick for more than a month with cat scratch fever, and another time got serious blood poisoning from a cat bite.
“Even after going to an ER with IVs and everything, I still had red lines going up my arm,” she said.
There is also a significant risk to the cat.
“If you cut a cat, their skin is like rice paper,” said Mulholland. “It can keep splitting and getting bigger. You have to know what you are doing.”
Mulholland, who now offers cat boarding in a special “cat condo” where they are kept separate from other pets, started out grooming all kinds of animals when she worked at a veterinary clinic. Among the animals she groomed were a bear cub with tar in its fur, a deer and a hedgehog.
She also got a lot of practice grooming cats, and so she kept doing it once she opened her own business.
Some of her customers drive all the way out from Seattle. Others who have moved out of the area always bring their cats in for grooming when they come back to visit family.
“There’s a lot of demand,” she said. “I have a cat almost every grooming day.”
Connie’s Pet Peeves Grooming and Boarding is located in Gold Bar; call (360) 793-1232 for more information.