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.