Clean Cat Grooming: Preventing Cross-Contamination
By Deborah Hansen
While attending a cat show, the first thing many newcomers observe is how often surfaces are sprayed and wiped down. At the show ring, everything is sprayed and wiped down after each cat.
The judges not only spray down their hands, but also the judging platform and anything else the cat may have had contact with during the judging process. Ring attendants quickly wipe out each holding cage as the cats leave the judging area.
Why is such caution taken during judging? This surely is not the case in the dog world. While each sponsoring club follows the same basic procedure of wiping everything down after each cat, the reasoning behind it probably will surprise you. The parent organization willingly admits it is not to disinfect, as the sprayed–on products do not stay on the surfaces long enough to kill viruses, instead it is meant to mask the smell of other felines to prevent behavioral issues.
As groomers, it is just as important that we take the knowledge gained by those who have gone before us. Remember, felines have a much more sensitive sense of smell than canines. Wiping down surfaces and tools between each cat, removing the previous cat’s or dog’s scent, will help promote harmony in your grooming environment during the cat grooming process.
As a business, it is even more important that we prevent cross–contamination in our cat grooming area. More than removing or masking the scent of a previous cat or dog, it is important to properly disinfect our tools, holding areas and work spaces. It only takes a few minutes a day to ensure we do not spread viruses that can cause illness among your cat clients, harm your reputation as a groomer and hurt your bottom line.
Sanitizing the tools and equipment you use daily can easily become part of your closing routine. After removing the hair from your equipment, place your combs, nail clippers, clipper attachments, blades and anything else that can get wet into an ultrasonic cleaner. Adding veterinarian/kennel– strength disinfectant to the water in the ultrasonic cleaner will provide an additional layer of prevention from cross–contamination.
While the ultrasonic cleaner is running, wipe down clippers and anything else that cannot be submerged with your favorite cleaner. Keep in mind, many products need to sit on surfaces before they are wiped off to be effective. Be sure to read and follow the directions on each product you use for full effectiveness.
After the tools are removed from the ultrasonic cleaner and dried, place everything into an ultraviolet cleaner for the night.
While this process may seem to be adding extra work to your daily procedures, cycling everything through this cleaning process can easily be done while waiting for clients to pick up their pets or when returning client messages.
If daily sanitation is too ambitious of a goal for you at this time, start small with a monthly or weekly sanitation, then work your way up to a sanitation system that best fits the needs of your grooming business. Always remember, any step toward sanitation is better than having no sanitation procedures in place. Never forget, the smallest steps go a long way in forming positive habits.
When choosing an ultrasonic cleaner, it is important to select one that has an optional heat setting. If you are using the ultrasonic cleaner for any length of time, the cleaning solution can become very hot. It is good to be able to turn off the heating option during long cleaning periods. Having a unit with several different preset timing options is a nice feature.
When choosing an ultraviolet unit, size and an automatic shut–off timer are key. You will want to purchase a unit that is large enough to fit all your items in at the end of the day. Make sure you purchase one with an automatic shut–off so you can start the ultraviolet unit as you are leaving for the day.
While these steps may seem excessive to some, they will protect your reputation and bottom line by minimizing the chance of an outbreak occurring among your cat clients. Strict sanitation policies will set your business apart from your competition. ✂️
Deborah Hansen, CFMG, CFCG, is the owner of a successful feline exclusive house call business, Kitty’s Purrfect Spa in California. She is the creative talent behind Feline Artistic Creations and founder of “Deborah’s Programs,” a complete rebooking program for cats. Deborah is also the owner and creator of Kitty’s Kopy Kats, a stationary store for cat groomers, and author of multiple articles in Groomer to Groomer magazine, Purrfect Pointers and local publications on the topics of feline grooming, issues that affect felines, and business growth. She teaches, speaks and consults on the topics of all things feline, including grooming, environment, behavior, and creative grooming. Additionally, she teaches business and online presence for groomers.deborahhansen.com