My Experience At National Cat Groomers Institute of America By Deborah Mix

My friend Deborah Mix recently attended National Cat Groomers Institute of America. Since I am very interested in the school, I decided to ask Deborah how her experience was at the school.
Eve and Wendy doing a comb cut on a blue and white Persian.

I recently attended the school at the National Cat Groomers Institute of America in Greenville, SC It is the only school in North America that teaches cat grooming. All the others are dog schools. The first class graduated in January, 2010. Danelle German founded the school. She previously showed Persian cats and owned a "cat exclusive" grooming shop in Greenville called The Catty Shack. She has three excellent instructors, Olivia, Lynn and Liz. Olivia is Danelle's daughter and she is only 22 but has been grooming kitties since she was about 12.

I had graduated from the NY School of Dog Grooming but wanted to learn kitties. Grooming is very competitive and many groomers don't do cats. Kitties don't always like to be groomed - DUH - and it is more hazardous as cat bites are much more dangerous than dogs. Of course I got bit and had to go to a clinic for a tetanus shot and antibiotics. Eve, another student got bit also. She is a top notch groomer so at least I didn't feel like too much of a jerk.

Cookie before her groom. Her mom is the school's receptionist, Dana.

This is my second trip to Greenville and the school. I went in Oct. of 2011. I got through one week of school, then fell outside a theater on Friday night and smashed my right hand. Spent the next week seeing a doctor and having surgery - in Greenville. My hand is still not right and there are many things I can't do. But I had been trying to get back to the school for two years - finally made it.

The school is really hard. They cram a lot into two weeks. There are several written tests as well as the practical exams - actual grooming. You have to learn all the different breeds and colors and quite a few kitty diseases. There's also a business test. Of course the hardest for me was the actual grooming. I did not pass all the grooming tests to become certified but it was a very valuable experience and I feel I know how to handle cats much better now and bathe them and blow dry. The school is very picky about the clippering, getting straight lines etc.

 Eve doing a face trim on a red Persian.

Many of the babies I worked on were very good - Ruthie, Logan, Heineken, Coco, Rocco, Cookie (she peed and pooped in the bath, then peed again in the dryer - so cute) and then Cupcake who was not a "happy kitty" as Lynn the instructor warned me. Some very nasty noises were coming from her carrier so Cupcake wore an air muzzle for her groom. Eve and I were doing her and we'd both already been to the ER.
Logan who "models" occasionally got a comb cut. 

All in all it was a very good experience but I was glad to get back to my P/T job as a computer artist where I could take a nap.

It is excellent training for anyone that wants to do cats. They are totally different from dogs AND it is very important to learn proper handling skills - you want to avoid the emergency room as much as possible. Ninety percent of cat grooming is handling the little darlings. Also, kitty skin is much, much thinner than dogs and they can be nicked very easily. I am happy to say that no one in the class nicked or hurt a kitty. We were very lucky that way.
Connie two years ago reading her paper on breeds,
Crazy and Chloe came over to "help".

Now, I hope to volunteer or apprentice somewhere to get experience and eventually get a part time job. If any of you are interested in attending the school or just want to know more about it, I would be happy to talk with you either by phone, email or FB message. They also have a website. Lots of cute pictures of Persians. Classes are small, 5 or 6 students and they book up early.They are always booked 3 or 4 months in advance.

 Coco again in the kitchen.

Deborah we wish you the very best luck on your apprenticeship! Thank you for sharing your precious experience with us!!—Sachie. 

Photos and text courtesy by Deborah Mix.

1 comment:

jmuhj said...

Wow -- who knew! And I have gotten cat bites -- mostly "love bites" -- all my life and have never/would never go to a doctor/hospital for it! I have been around cats since birth so it does not phase me at all. And not meaning to offend anyone, but I wonder when people will figure out that cats are gorgeous as they are intended to be, and to not need clipping/shaving? Brushing, trimming claws, and making sure eyes, ears, etc. are clean is all they need!

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