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?”
How has the pet grooming profession evolved over the years
you’ve been in the industry? What are the biggest changes
Lynn Paolillo: The industry has changed drastically
by how information is shared. With the explosion of
grooming groups, forums and gatherings on the internet, groomers in every corner of the country—and
globe—have more access to products, techniques and
education. More groomers are attending seminars,
trade shows and events in order to learn more, and industry leaders have been able to create more resources
that fit specific needs.
In terms of grooming tools, supplies and equipment, have
there been any recent product introductions or develop-
ments that have helped make grooming easier or that have
really improved upon what was available in the past?
Paolillo: For cat grooming, there have been some great
products and tools coming out lately that have been
made specifically for 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 gimmicky.
What’s missing from the market? Is there a type of tool or
product that you think needs updating? Or is there some-
thing you’d like to see more of from manufacturers?
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for example—are outdated in that they are aimed at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.
What consumer trends are you noticing in pet groom-
ing? What are consumers seeking these days in terms of
Paolillo: Customers have always been interested in the
best possible care for their pets, and with the expan-
sive amount of, sometimes conflicting, information
available on the internet, customers 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 becoming more informed and are ask-
ing more questions. Having an active social media
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 cus-
tomers a way to bring up their questions on products,
techniques, coat care, etc., without turning to sources
with an unknown background.
As an expert in cat grooming, can you tell us if cat grooming
is a growing segment of the overall industry? Why or why
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.
How can groomers help dispel people’s misconceptions
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 addition, spend time building relationships
with cat-only vets, pet food stores, boutiques, behaviorists, etc., in your area. Referrals 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
How do you see the grooming industry evolving in the future
to meet consumers’ needs and demands?
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 fe-line-exclusive boarding and grooming facility in New Jersey.
Cat grooming specialist and SuperZoo speaker
Lynn Paolillo discusses the current trends in feline
services and what she expects to see in the future.
THE GROOMING STAGE
Cat Grooming 101
Wednesday, June 27
9: 30 a.m. - 10: 30 a.m.
Islander Ballroom F