The Cat’s Meow Knows How To Pamper Fluffy Felines

by | Jun 2024

Lily, Melisa Choudhry’s cat, gets a teddy bear plush cut every 16 weeks.

Lily, Melisa Choudhry’s cat, gets a teddy bear plush cut every 16 weeks. Photos: Chris Emeott

Busting the myths behind cats and grooming.

Melisa Choudhry is no stranger to the world of cats. They’ve been a part of her life since she was 5 years old. When she first got her Siberian cats, Lily and Oscar, she never expected to end up with regular cat grooming appointments on her calendar. None of her previous cats had needed it.

“It doesn’t seem like something a regular person would do. Who thinks about grooming a cat?” Choudhry, an Edina resident, says.

Grooming cats may sound unusual, but Choudhry says it’s been a helpful and healthy way to keep her furry feline friends happy. Because Siberian cats’ fur can get up to 6 inches long, Lily and Oscar are more likely to have trouble grooming themselves and, as a result, are more prone to problems with matting and hairballs. Choudhry says she began to have issues with Lily early on. “Lily was matting in the armpits, which is common,” she says. Her first instinct was to take Lily to the veterinarian for some help.

“I took her to the vet to get her tummy shaved,” she says. Her vet hires a groomer once a month to come into the practice. It was here that she learned not all groomers are equal. “She came out all different lengths. It was a mess.” Choudhry needed a long-term solution. It was after this vet visit that Choudhry began searching for grooming options for Lily.

Finding a groomer that exclusively serves cats is difficult, but since many cats struggle getting along with dogs and other pets, it’s something that cat owners like Choudhry prioritize. Choudhry was thrilled to discover The Cat’s Meow, Minnesota’s first cat-exclusive groomer.

Oscar, Choudhry’s cat, licks his lips as he spies a bird outside the window.

Oscar, Choudhry’s cat, licks his lips as he spies a bird outside the window.

“Cat grooming is fairly new, and people don’t have the knowledge that there’s someone out there that can even do that for them,” says Jennifer Anderson, owner of The Cat’s Meow.

The Cat’s Meow has held a firm place in the community for cat owners since it opened a decade ago in Richfield. It has many clients from Edina, with some people driving in from as far away as Woodbury. Choudhry has been a dedicated client for seven years.

“They are so skillful,” she says. “Every time I drop them off, they go over all the services needed for each cat, so that you’re not doing more than you need to or missing something.”

Ichigo being groomed at The Cat’s Meow.

Ichigo being groomed at The Cat’s Meow.

After getting groomed, she says her cats are not only happier, but healthier, too. “Lily gets a teddy bear plush cut every 16 weeks, and she doesn’t get sick anymore. She doesn’t get hairballs,” she says. “Doing that four times a year has [improved] her health. I haven’t had to take her for X-rays this year, where previously I was in to the vet five times in one month. Stress made her sick. But the way that they do it, it’s not stressful for her.”

At The Cat’s Meow, staff take a holistic handling approach to grooming. There’s no rush—cats are given plenty of time to relax in between steps in the process, and there’s even a custom-built dryer that creates a more chill environment for the cats, in which they do not have to be held down during the drying process. Gentle methods and plenty of time for each appointment (around two and a half hours) makes each grooming visit relatively stress-free for cats like Lily and Oscar and also for their owners. Choudhry says, “The hardest part of getting the cats groomed—getting them in the carrier.”

Anderson has some ideas about why cat grooming is more important now than it used to be and why people are seeking it out more readily. She says, “Cats have become much more of a cherished pet, more of an indoor animal now. They’re a family member, so a lot of people are really motivated for them to be cleaner, in better condition, and shinier.”

Jennifer Anderson, owner of The Cat’s Meow.

Jennifer Anderson, owner of The Cat’s Meow.

Anderson began grooming pets 28 years ago as an apprentice and realized a few years into her career that there was a market for a cat-only grooming business. While some told her it was a risk, her instinct paid off, and she’s been running The Cat’s Meow successfully ever since. The demand for services is there, but it’s a highly skilled profession.

Because of the lack of cat grooming schools, Anderson apprentices everyone who comes through her door. The process takes a year. She loves having apprentices and sharing this world with others who are interested in building a profession.

So, if you have a cat at home and are wondering if you should consider grooming, think about the things you commonly observe in your feline friend. Are they struggling with hairballs? Do you often find their skin to be irritated or flaky? Is your furniture and clothing covered in your kitty’s fur? Perhaps it’s time to consider grooming. Anderson makes the point that not all cats need professional grooming—if your cat can handle it and you’re gentle, many cats can be groomed at home. However, if your cat is anxious or struggles with you when you attempt to groom it, it might be time to seek help.

Lily, Melisa Choudhry’s Cat

Choudhry is glad that she found a cat groomer to help her and her pets cohabitate comfortably and happily. “It’s not something I had ever thought about when I owned a cat before, until I needed it,” she says. “Just knowing it’s an option is great … Staying on top of the maintenance makes your cats a little more chill.”

She also says her friends are always amazed that she lives with two long-haired cats, but there’s no fur cling-ing to everything in their home. It’s a tidier cohabitation.

Anderson says that consistently attending to your cats’ needs is key, instead of waiting until there’s a problem. “In the best world, we’d be doing only preventative grooming instead of reactive grooming, like shaving off all these mats and taking care of the nails in the paws,” she says. The sweet spot for most clients is four grooming visits per year, Anderson says. Choudhry takes her cats in about that often, and she and her cats are always happier afterward. Plus, she says, “They smell really great when they’re done, too! Fresh lavender, not like a litter box.”

She is contemplative as she remembers the cat she had before Lily and Oscar came into her life. Her name was Baily, and she was an 8-pound spitfire who was a mix of Persian and Maine Coon. She had fur that was almost as long as Lily and Oscar’s. “Baily used to get matting, and I would have to try and pick apart the mats or very gently cut them, which is a risk with long-haired cats if you nick their skin. And as she aged, she needed a lot more care with regards to grooming,” she says. “I wish I would’ve known about grooming at the time.”

The Cat’s Meow
6410 Nicollet Ave., Richfield; 952.582.4429
Facebook: The Cat’s Meow Grooming & Suites
Instagram: @thecatsmeowgroomingandsuites


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