A Grooming Room

BY DOUG BOLTON
Updated September 2014

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Three Persians are part of my "family" - two black smokes, Beigher and Sedgewick from Joan Gee's Gepurz, and a shaded silver, Norbert, from Munira Murrey's Missionhill cattery.

Although I am not a cat breeder, I enjoy keeping my cats in show condition - and that includes full coats that are sparkling clean and full.

While I had been bathing the cats in the kitchen sink, I dreamed of something a bit more up-scale for their "spa days".

When I started renovating my home, naturally an important part of the plan was planning and building a new grooming room for my trio. I thought I would share with you my design and some of the products I used in the new grooming room...

The Plan

I began by drawing a floorplan showing the placement of the countertop, sinks and grooming area.

Then I had a cabinet company prepare a cabinet layout

Once the plans were finalized, construction began.

Below are photos of the finished Grooming Room . . .

The General Work Surface

The grooming room was a spare bedroom on the second story of my home. Located next to a bathroom, it was an ideal candidate for conversion as access to plumbing would be easy - and that translates into cost efficient. The room was also 13' x 10' - a perfect size for my planned grooming space.

The basic layout of the work area is a "U" shape. One arm and the bottom of the "U" are the standard 25" depth for a counter and each contains a sink. The third side is the largest area. It is 32" deep and is the area I use for drying the cats. I increased the width of the main drying area from what was originally planned. In retrospect I wish I'd gone even wider as it would create a longer distance for the kitties to cover before they scamper off it and away from the "horrid" high velocity dryer I use to dry their coats :-).

The work area includes a generous array of lower melamine cabinets for storage topped by a counter made of Ametista Black granite in a high gloss finish.
The high gloss is really helpful in being able to turn the cats around while grooming because their furry feet have no grip on it. The granite is also easy to clean and resilient enough to repel scratches from clawed toes.

The counter height is 37". This is 2" higher than the average kitchen counter height. The added height makes it easier when grooming cats - less bending and easier on my back and neck.

The Pet Washer

The main feature of the grooming room is the HydroSurge Pet Washer.

This is quite a cool invention that makes the entire process of bathing any animal much easier.

It features a wall attached hose and control system that has a feed to four different shampoos or conditioners stored under the sink.

The soap mixes with water and air in the control box and you simply use the hose to spray the cat's coat.

It is very easy to get soap under a coat holding the hose close to the skin and working against the grain. I did switch to rinse between the three soap sessions. Lastly came a conditioner. The washing solutions that came with the HydroSurge unit are what I used.

Tony, my plumber, installed an elaborate back flow prevention device so the soap mixture can't be siphoned back into the municipal water supply. They wouldn't like that.

The unit does come with a simple valve and instructions for use.

Check with your local building code to make sure installation is up to code for your area.

The Canadian distributor of the Hydrosurge Pet Washer I purchased is:

http://www.petklean.com /Bath_Pro_2000.htm

There's a new model on the US homepage that integrates the four product soap controls into one.

http://www.hydrosurge.com /variflo.aspx

Size Matters

When choosing a sink to bath your cats in, size does matter.

I got the biggest stainless steel sink I could find - one made by Franke that is 27" x 19 " and 11.5" deep. It's great.

My smoke Persian, Beigher, can hardly see over the top when she's in it!

Having an extra deep sink makes bathing easier, floating the coat a breeze, reduces splashing and also discourages most cats from making a hasty exit if they dislike getting wet.

There is a second sink for the daily grooming/cleaning chores.

This is a smaller, "bar-style" sink with a goose-neck faucet to make it easier for filling bowls and pails.

I will be installing a grate in the bottom to prevent scratching and reduce noise.

Hair Dryers

I use two hair dryers - a large, powerful high volume hose dryer and a smaller Oster table dryer.

I had a shelf made for the large dryer so it would be off the floor and secure where I want it at the end of the peninsula.

It has it's own electrical circuit as it has quite a power draw.

As usual for renos in an older building, I needed to install a secondary breaker panel in the grooming room. The Oster dryer stays on the counter top for finishing.

Trash

I had a pullout garbage bin under the counter installed - so cleanup is a snap in comparison to cat hair all over the house.

It's accessible from both sides of the counter so I can drop hair, q-tips etc. in while doing the daily sessions... and pulled out on the other side when I'm cleaning up the great mess the high volume dryer creates.

The door on that side of the counter opens 180 degrees so it's well out of the way when filling the bin.

Good Lighting is Essential

Good lighting is essential for the grooming room. The reno guys thought I'd way over done it. Not at all!

I used a 2x4/5000K/4 lamp fluorescent fixture over the peninsula and a 3 lamp fluorescent over the sink. I probably could have gone with a 4 lamp there as well. I absolutely love the light. I would never use incandescent again, to say the least.

A New Door

In designing the new grooming room one of the things I wanted was to be able to close the area off from the rest of the house - both to contain blowing hair and to corral a wet cat in the case of an escapee from the bathing session. So a new door with a white lami-tempered glass insert was installed.

What an improvement on chasing a wet cat all around the house!

I can even retrieve the cat without having to turn the dryer off! You don't want to drop the hose on one of these high velocity things while it's running! So that was a nice surprise for me though the cats were hardly thrilled. Still it went better than usual as far as cat escapes and general demeanor were concerned. Hey, these are pet cats!

The Christening

Because of the renovation my three Persians haven't been washed for 4 months.
All I've had for most of that time has been a single vanity sink. Not too good for washing cats. The dryers were all packed away in boxes. You really need to hide everything you can during a major reno.

Beigher, my female black smoke Persian in the photos, is a natural grease ball, with a tentative diagnosis of wet psoriasis. Good ol' Goop, by itself, couldn't clean her very well. She still ended up rather greasy/waxy on the worst effected areas. I used Micro-Tek as a final wash to get her clean and, for whatever reason, that did work. That's basically how I was washing them by hand. The usual Goop regime.

Well, this HydroSurge system has gotten her cleaner than I *ever* could hand washing her. So I'm impressed. I did use 2x the soap as specified in the instructions for really dirty cats. 'Cause they were. Like a greasy residue when I petted them. Yuck! Not any more :)

The Final Touches

I still need to do a few things before the new grooming room will be considered "finished". I want a hook for the dryer hose and a towel rack for the daily face cloths.

Besides being a grooming room I also want the space to be a "hang out" for the "kids" so I plan to place a large cat tree by the window for them to relax on and enjoy the view. I also plan to add a scratch board on the wall. In the mean time I hope the grooming doesn't put them off the room :-).

I also found I *really* need an exhaust fan now that the grooming room is an enclosed environment. It gets very humid when washing and drying multiple cats. So that's on my "Still To Do" list. I love the new grooming room - and it's quite an improvement on the kitchen sink!

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