There’s a new shop in Traverse City for cat lovers and their furry feline friends. The French Cat, owned by Certified Feline Master Groomer Kimberly Lawson, is an upscale feline-exclusive Traverse City cat grooming boutique with boarding accommodations.
Kimberly and concierge Louis La Roux, an exotic long hair, make sure every customer feels comfortable during the grooming process and leaves looking like a whole new cat.
“Almost every day we get to help a cat feel better, and that helps them with their relationship with their owner,” Kimberly says. “People don’t really understand that if you have a long hair cat they may get mats on them, which are like tangles. Matted fur is almost like a pelt. If you touch it, it feels hard like a countertop, and it’s painful for cats.”
Despite the common misconception that cats don’t need to be groomed, Kimberly says that even short hair cats should have their fur bathed and trimmed regularly.
“Living with a groomed cat is so different,” Kimberly says. “You look at them and think how could I never have done that before because they’re clean and don’t shed. A short hair cat sheds just as much as a long hair cat, and the fur can embed in furniture and clothing, making it more difficult to remove than long hair.”
Grooming your cat also has other benefits, especially for people with animal allergies.
“If we can regularly groom a cat, it cuts down on the amount of allergen that’s on their fur and deposited in your home,” Kimberly says. “It also cuts down on the hair that’s left everywhere and the hairballs.”
Another common myth is that all cats hate water, but Kimberly has found in her experiences that many actually don’t mind it.
“As far as bathing, I would say 75 percent of the cats are perfectly happy,” Kimberly says. “Louis falls asleep in the bath. The other ones tolerate it, and I would say only 1 or 2 percent of the cats get really upset and don’t want to do it.”
If you’ve ever tried to wash your cat at home though you’ve probably received a feisty scratch or two. Kimberly says it takes training and a bit of confidence to escape the claws.
“It’s not easy for a person to bathe their cat at home in a sink or tub,” she says. “I have a cat at home. Before I went to school and learned how I would never dare to wash him. I couldn’t even cut his nails.”
Kimberly attended school and received her grooming certification from the National Cat Groomers Institute of America in Greenville, South Carolina.
“It was a very well-rounded education,” she says. “The most important part was cat handling, but I also took courses in health and anatomy, cat breeds and colors and genetics.”
The next time your cat needs a bath, leave it to a professional. Visit Kimberly and Louis La Roux on the corner of Eighth and Franklin Streets. The cottagey charm of the shop and Kimberly’s expertise makes grooming your cat a fun experience.