cat coats and skin. Gone are the days of
only dog shampoos or non-pet products
being used regularly on cats. Shampoo
companies have started to create products that are safe and that do a great job
on cats. I can also appreciate that manufacturers of clippers and blades have been
introducing tools that work brilliantly on
cat hair, without just being something
PPN: What’s missing from the market? Is there a
type of tool or product that you think needs updat-
ing? Or is there something you’d like to see more of
Paolillo: I think many cat-handling products—muzzles, for example—are outdated in that they are aimed at just tying
a cat up and holding them still for grooming and other services. I believe there has
been a movement toward understanding
cats so that there are fewer restraints and
there is more effort to work with cats to
get those services accomplished safely. I
would also like to see more products that
are specifically made for cats, that don’t
include harsh and potentially dangerous
ingredients, since dogs and cats are completely different. Scented products, cat-safe grooming accessories and a wider
variety of cat-boarding options are also
sought out as well.
grooming? What are consumers seeking these days
in terms of services?
Paolillo: Customers have always been
interested in the best possible care
for their pets, and with the expansive
amount of, sometimes conflicting, in-
formation available on the internet, cus-
tomers need an expert to turn to when
they have questions. Being an educated
specialist in your field is imperative,
and pet owners of all types are becom-
ing more informed and are asking more
questions. Having an active social me-
dia presence, website or blog, printed
materials, etc., can help customers find
more information and to solidify the
groomer’s or pet professional’s position
as an expert in their field. It also gives
customers a way to bring up their ques-
tions on products, techniques, coat care,
etc., without turning to sources with an
PPN: As an expert in cat grooming, can you tell us
if cat grooming is a growing segment of the overall
industry? Why or why not?
Paolillo: It definitely is! Customers are becoming more aware of the grooming
needs of cats and are seeking out groomers who are trained and knowledgeable.
They also recognize that the pet industry
has been lacking options for cats, so they
will flock to businesses that cater specifically to them.
PPN: How can groomers help dispel people’s mis-
conceptions about cat grooming and encourage
them to consider it as an option for their pets?
Paolillo: Educate and problem solve! Many
customers are open to learning more; they
just need some guidance from an expert.
As I mentioned, provide a platform for
clients to seek this information from you
and it will be easier to connect with those
clients. Also, it is important for groomers
and pet businesses to have a clear focus
on the type of client they want to have
and that they cater to. Someone who is
seeking out cat grooming services or has
a cat grooming problem they need solved
is not treating their cat like a small dog. A
cat has different needs as far as handling
skills, understanding body language
and behaviors, and offering services that
solve the problems they are having. In ad-
dition, spend time building relationships
with cat-only vets, pet food stores, bou-
tiques, behaviorists, etc., in your area. Re-
ferrals and word-of-mouth have always
been the best form of advertising, and if
those professionals are impressed with
your skills and knowledge, they will be
active supporters of your business.
ing in the future to meet consumers’ needs and
Paolillo: I think we will see an explosion of
specialty businesses, especially for cats.
Cat-exclusive groomers, boarding facilities, veterinary clinics and behaviorists
are growing rapidly and are working to
widen their offerings to better serve cats.
Why should dogs get to have all the fun?
Unique and fun cat enrichment products
and activities are finding their way into
the market and are a great way to increase
your add-on pricing and entice clients to
try out new services.
Lynn Paolillo has been grooming cats for more
than 12 years, and has been with the National
Cat Groomers Institute as an instructor and
certifier for more than six years. She has been
dedicated to teaching cat grooming students
from around the globe. She also owns and
operates Cat Naps Cattery, a feline-exclusive
boarding and grooming facility in New Jersey.
“It is important for groomers and pet businesses to
have a clear focus on the type of client they want to
have and that they cater to. Someone who is seeking out
cat grooming services or has a cat grooming problem
they need solved is not treating their cat like a small
dog. A cat has different needs as far as handling skills,
understanding body language and behaviors.”