Comb your cat – green uses for cat hair!

cat-and-fur

Spring is here and our furry 4 footed friends are shedding their fur, or in the case of Winston our bunny – it’s an outright molting!

When you brush of comb your cat (or dog or rabbit) don’t throw away the fur. Use it in creative green ways:

  • Bird nests: Grab a basket you don’t use and put the fur inside along with twigs, strips of bark, pine needles, and wood shavings. The birds will grab the bits and pieces which they want to build a nest. Cat fur will add some warmth to the nest
  • Compost: The nitrogen in fur and hair is wonderful for your compost bin. But since it takes a while for fur or hair to break down cut it into 1/8 inch bits, you could also toss it around your garden or let it the breeze take it to add nitrogen to your soil.
  • Pesky Critter Repellent: Putting wads of combed out cat fur around the garden near special plants can deter snails and slugs. Wads of cat fur put down a gopher hole could scare off the critter. It can also keep squirrels, hares, chipmunks, and deer away.

For these projects to do effective and safe, don’t use cat or other animal fur that was treated for fleas as the chemicals could kill or harm birds, and you would be adding poison to your compost.

Clipping your cat’s nails

Its easy! With a bit of practice after a lesson with your vet or a tech at your vet’s office you’ll be a pro!

Number one reason to trim nails – so that they don’t grow uncontrolled and curve under and into the cat’s foot. OUCH!

Feliway spray can “somewhat’ deter a cat from scratching at your furniture. But its not perfect and you need to apply it daily.

But if you trim your cat’s nails every 10 or 12 days they will be short, and if your cat does scratch at a sofa not much damage, if any, will occur.

You can find nice clippers in shops or you can use a good quality human toe nail clipper.

We suggest you sit someplace comfortable for you with good lighting – that could be the bathroom, on the toilet seat which you put down. Clip as many nails in one sitting as the cat will allow.

Some cats are comfortable if you softly drape a towel over their head. Other cats are comfortable if you wrap them like a “burrito.” And yet other cats are comfortable being held free on your lap, sort of like a baby, on their back.

A cat is never too old to learn to get used to twice a month nail trims. Gentle handling, showering the cat with praise will really help. And of course treat yourself to something special in honor of a job well done after!

A tale about a professional cat groomer

From time to time we hear from someone who muses “I’d love to work with animals like you do.” We’ve got a grand idea for you! Meet Patty White and hear the story of a professional cat groomer who makes housecalls.

Back in the day Patty White was a computer systems analyst. It was rewarding and challenging work which she enjoyed. She was going to stick it out until retirement. But what to do next?

When the book The Natural Cat came out, Patty read it from cover to cover. She was particularly impressed with author Anitra Frazier’s chapter on cat grooming and stories of her life in New York City as a professional cat groomer. Viola! That was IT! Patty knew that when she retired she would become a professional cat groomer. Patty firmly believed that making house calls was the way to go because cats don’t travel well and a trip to a salon for grooming would be traumatic.

For 10 years Patty dreamed of the retirement day. When it finally came she had already sought out the finest training she could find. It was one-on-one training with a master cat and dog groomer. It wasn’t easy getting to her instructor, but Patty wouldn’t settle for second rate training – and it shows in her skills! The groomer was the same sort of compassionate perfectionist Patty is.

Once Patty was qualified, the referrals from the clients at Especially Cats, a veterinary practice in San Francisco completely devoted to cats, poured in. Patty now spends her days going from home to home grooming cats of all ages, sizes, and fur types. Best of all for Patty, she’s booked weeks in advance.

Before Patty enters our home she has already completely changed her clothes for the health and wellbeing of the next cat she works on. Upon arrival, she lays out her own equipment and tools. If we’ve asked her to bathe a cat, she’s got her drier, water hose for the kitchen sink water faucet, and towels. She likes to sit on the floor holding the cat by a sunny spot near a window for good lighting. She puts a plastic bag on the floor, a clean sheet on top of it, sits down and then begins her gentle grooming, de-matting, nail trimming and whatever the modern housecat might need to look good and feel good.

We’ll hear her softly say to the cats “ooooooh you know Auntie Patty loves you, you hold still for Auntie Patty, Auntie Patty is going to make you look gorgeous.” The cats love it!

One of the benefits of having your cat professionally combed and brushed is that sometimes your groomer will detect something amiss with the cat – perhaps the lack of luster in the cat’s fur is a sign of illness, or the groomer might feel a mass or lumps.

When the grooming session is over, Patty completely cleans up after herself, not a single bit of fur remains on the floor. She hands over the fur she combed out of the cats and we toss it into the composter.

So if you find yourself staring at a cubicle wall thinking that you’d like to do something more meaningful, take inspiration from Patty White. Get the best training you can find, and read everything on cat behavior and anatomy. It’s wonderful to make living doing something you are good at and love!