Due to unforeseen personal circumstances, it is with sadness I have to announce the cancellation of The Cat Grooming Symposium Event V including the conference, workshop, and all associated social engagements previously scheduled on October 1-5, 2016 in Corte Madera, California.

Event registration fees will be refunded within 7 days of this notice.

Thank you for wanting to attend TCGS.  I apologize for the change in plans and share your disappointment in this unfortunate, albeit necessary, decision.


Stacey Ward
TCGS Founder

Wow, 500 Facebook Likes!

500 facebook likes
We’re wide-eyed with joy! Thank you for embracing the spirit of TCGS.

What began as a vision for a cat-focused conference has evolved into a magnificent community of passionate cat groomers dedicated to the compassionate care of cats and the practice of holistic grooming.

Together we are elevating cat grooming professional standards on the foundation of respect for the mental, physical, and emotional well-being of every cat, honoring every temperament, and making accommodations in every situation.

We are creating positive cat grooming experiences through loving kindness and gentle handling. We are building trust and strengthening bonds with our cats and clients.

We are shifting fear to faith and witnessing the transformations that are changing concepts and traditions. The results speak volumes with more groomers than ever before implementing proven feline stress reduction techniques.

We are continually striving to improve our knowledge, skill set, and understanding of the most majestic animals we have the immense fortune to spend our time with while earning a living doing what we love. We know we’re living the dream.

Thank you for advocating on behalf of cats.

Thank you for promoting compassionate cat grooming.

Thank you for celebrating the awesomeness of being a cat groomer who cares.

Most of all, thank you for being a significant part of the TCGS cat-loving community. We couldn’t do this without you. 



Compassionate Cat Grooming

Post by: Cat Guru, Sheryl Woods of Wet Whisker Cat Grooming
August 9, 2014

There have been a few cases of late when groomers made the news due to their techniques. The groomers in question were blindsided with the backlash from the grooming community at large, due to their belief that they were being compassionate.

What is compassion? Synonyms include empathy, concern, sensitivity, warmth, love, mercy, kindness, & humanity. The groomer should try to see what’s happening through the viewpoint of the cat. If they cannot do that, they can at least try to imagine how they, themselves, would feel. If the groomer doesn’t believe cats have feelings, they should be in an entirely different profession.

How long something has been done a certain way has no bearing on whether it’s a good technique or not. One groomer said she’d been using the same methods on cats for 40 years & had learned from a groomer who’d been using them for 30 years prior. Well, a lot has changed since WWII as we’ve become more enlightened!

It is beyond comprehension why a groomer wouldn’t choose to use a respectful & compassionate approach when grooming cats. In my mind, the self-centered groomer who uses force & restraints is only interested in the money. The cat is incidental. These are inhumane groomers and I sincerely hope that the general public can pressure them to change their ways or change their profession.

Fear is a factor with many new groomers and cats. If the groomer is afraid, imagine how much more afraid the cat is of the groomer. There are many techniques the groomer may utilize to calm & reassure the cat, thereby enabling a safe grooming experience for cat & groomer. Techniques that do nothing to quell a cat’s fear are scruffing, force, tethering, muzzling, and taping or the psychological feeling of being trapped. These techniques can also traumatize the cat psychologically & sometimes physically.

If you’ve watched even one episode of My Cat from Hell, you undoubtedly picked up on Jackson Galaxy’s theory that the cat isn’t the source of the unwanted behavior, it’s the owner. The same holds true when grooming cats. Is the cat reacting badly? Well, what are YOU doing to cause it? Or if the owner caused the fear, how are you perpetuating or escalating the cat’s fearful reaction? The groomer must think through what they’re doing & it’s impact on the cat.

There is no such thing as an aggressive, domestic cat. That terminology puts the burden on the cat, where it doesn’t belong. In reality, the cat is fearful & reacting with a primal, self preservation response. This way of thinking puts the burden & responsibility where it belongs; on you, the groomer. After all, the cat was minding it’s own business until you came along!

It is my sincere opinion that the grooming industry as a whole needs to change its attitude towards & its perception of cats. Until groomers change their way of thinking, they’ll continue to be presented with reactive cats. Wouldn’t it be better to build a trusting bond with the cat for a lifetime of pleasant grooming?

Sheryl Woods

Feline Facials

Post by: Cat Guru, StaceyWard

April 9, 2014

This is my process for cleaning a cat’s face during a full groom session. Maintenance upkeep is similar, without the bathing.

Buddy, the Persian cat, with a messy face
Buddy, the Persian cat, with a messy face.

After spending a few moments petting the cat, I begin by placing my left hand over the top of the cat’s head and gently pressing down to cover the ears. I tilt the head back slightly using my thumb just under the right side of the jaw and my fingers on the left side. This position helps to avoid water going into the eyes and nose. With my right hand I hold the water nozzle/sprayer close to the skin and wet the coat starting at the shoulders, coming up the neck, over one side of the face/cheek area, moving the water flow to the top o the head, down the other cheek, under the chin and down the ruff. I will then lightly rub the coat with my fingers so it’s not dripping too much. I allow the cat a moment to regroup, then I proceed to wet the shoulders, the back of the neck, and finally the back of the head and ears.

Using my hands, I apply shampoo to the wet coat and massage it in thoroughly, paying extra attention to the back and base of the ears. I find this to be a wonderful opportunity to relax the cat with gentle petting strokes.

Next, I clean the ears using cotton rounds, cotton balls, or a thin baby washcloth and a small amount of ear cleaner. Most cats like a brief and gentle massage at the base of their ear. I use round cotton tip applicators to remove visible wax or debris. I finish cleaning the ears by giving them a gentle wipe with a dry cotton round or ball. I make it a strict practice to never ‘double-dip’ my ear cleaning tools. Any cotton ball, etc. I use in the right ear does not get used in the left.

Buddy looks and feels much better after his facial.
Buddy looks and feels better after his facial.

I then rinse the shampoo using the same process as the initial coat wetting. I use 100% cotton rounds or gauze soaked with saline solution to gently wipe away eye discharge. If it’s extra crusty, I’ll wet the area again with saline solution and move on to another part of the face, like the corner of the mouth or the nose. By letting it sit wet for a moment, the debris is typically easier to remove. Using a different baby washcloth than the one I used on the ears, I add saline solution and gently wipe around the eyes. I’ll use a small eyebrow comb or the Chris Christensen face & feet comb to get anything left around the eyes or the mouth.


I like to use a pointy cotton tip disposable eye makeup applicator to clean the nostrils. I dip the cotton tip in saline solution, then pat it on a paper towel to remove excess liquid before use.

Pumpkin Head loves having a clean face!
Pumpkin Head loves having a clean face!

Most of the cats I groom receive 2 full-body shampoos. I like to clean the face while the second shampoo application sits on the coat and skin. Typically at that point, the cat has relaxed and accepted the bathing process. If I’m using any medicated shampoo, this is the perfect opportunity for it to remain on the skin and coat for the extra couple of minutes it takes to clean the face.

I towel dry the face using soft squeezes and short rubs with a cotton towel. Then I put the Happy Hoodie around the cat’s head to cover the ears while drying.

My favorite tip: If Kitty doesn’t want any more drying, but the coat is still damp on the cheeks or top of the head, simply take a paper towel and blot the coat. It works exceptionally well.


Aunt Stacey

When an idea becomes reality… magic happens!!

Post by: Cat Guru, StaceyWard
February 25, 2014

This is how The Cat Grooming Symposium came to be…

Late one evening in March of 2012, I was chatting with some cat groomer friends on facebook. We were lamenting that there just weren’t enough educational options geared toward our specialty as professional cat groomers when it came to classes offered at the usual conventions. The topics were repetitive, some even archaic. The variety of speakers was limited. And those in charge of producing the current shows seemed to be missing the big picture – cat groomers are one of the top growing niches in our industry and we’re increasing in number each year. Most importantly, we’re eager, even desperate, for educational opportunities.

This led me to ponder openly, “Wouldn’t it be awesome to have an entire weekend conference devoted exclusively to cat grooming education?” Of course, my fabulous friends jumped on the notion with such enthusiasm that we immediately began brain-storming ideas. Like-minded people gather for obvious reasons. They share an interest, often even a deep passion, and they want to celebrate that kinship. It didn’t take long for us to determine the most important elements of our newly forming venture.

  • * We must always ensure a collaborative effort from numerous professional groomers and other cat-related specialists. A variety of perspectives ensures the greatest connection with our students. I also believe it upholds the integrity of our teachings. Our philosophy is fundamentally geared toward helping others connect positively with cats in order to facilitate a trusting relationship and strengthen the human-feline/groomer-cat bond. One way does not work for every groomer or every cat, yet compassion and empathy are unilaterally necessary in every circumstance. A love for cats is required by everyone involved.
  • * We must include live demos with multiple cats. Words and pictures are great, but the power and value of seeing techniques in action are unparalleled. By far the most popular request from just about every TCGS participant is seeing the maneuvers used when clipping. It just gets better and the enthusiasm increases when the demos include interaction between a groomer and a defensive feline. We strive to answer the “How do you….” questions that so many cat groomers have.
  • * We must include a variety of topics that are relevant to cat groomers in particular. The saying goes, cats are not small dogs. The rules, requirements, and mindset for working with cats are very different than many professional groomers are accustomed to, but it’s not at all an unsolved mystery. We teach the secrets for successful cat grooming.
  • * We must make TCGS accessible to groomers everywhere. We want groomers in every region to have the opportunity to join us, but we understand that the logistics of traveling can be prohibitive. The solution: We will travel across the country and host TCGS events in different locations every time. We choose our destinations based on interest and input from professional groomers.
  • * We must offer special discounts for select professional groomers. Those who give of their time and efforts by volunteering to help homeless animals are our heroes. We must also recognize the bravery and dedication of current grooming school students and recent graduates. It takes great courage to follow a dream. We admire and wish to reward those who are living their passions.
  • * We must promote the philosophy of compassionate care. Cat groomers are eager to learn better ways, but there hasn’t been enough focus on a gentle-hands approach. We also promote care that is holistic in nature. Incorporating techniques which consider the mind, body, and spirit of the cat is a crucial element of our teachings.
  • * And finally, we must be open to expansion and continued enlightenment. Many of our members believe in the benefits of both Eastern and Western philosophies and practice a variety of integrative techniques both personally and professionally. Interest in the benefits of therapies beyond skin & coat maintenance has increased tremendously and are important elements we will always include and encourage.

I feel it’s worth mentioning the hot-button words that we embrace.Compassionate. Holistic. The definition of each is clear and they both purrfectly reflect our intentions. We believe it’s appropriate to take into consideration the entire experience from the cat’s perspective. We believe it’s necessary to understand how these factors elicit certain behaviors. We believe it’s beneficial to make positive changes based on the knowledge of specific feline needs to ensure the best opportunities for success. We believe that the focus must always be on making the experience of grooming as pleasant and low-stress as possible for the cat first and foremost. 

The Cat Grooming Symposium manifested and the dream has become a reality. We welcome you to join us.

Cats Rule!!

Aunt Stacey