A lot of times the cat is elderly the first time it needs professional grooming. One day the owner notices that the cat is matted or poop is sticking to its fur. This can occur because the cat can’t comfortably reach all its’ body parts to self-groom, either due to old age or perhaps becoming overweight.
Sometimes it’s necessary to clip off the matts, and/or the majority of the coat because the cat isn’t doing adequate self grooming. Sometimes we are able to comb the matts and excess hair out and do a “shell clip”, chest to groin, so the cat’s appearance isn’t radically altered. The cat can still curl up to stay warm, but there is less coat to maintain, so less shedding, less owner maintenance and fewer hairballs. Some long haired cat owners just prefer the cat clipped short for their pet’s comfort.
If the cat seems stressed or is of an advanced age, we can use a “waterless” shampoo or opt to skip the bath. I charge based on the time spent. I could probably make a lot of money charging people to watch me bathe and shave a cat, most groomers prefer to avoid cat grooming because of the difficulty and potential for groomer injury, but I realize my customers don’t have many choices, and together we can usually accomplish the task.