Morning breaks over the bluegrass of Kentucky and I enter the grooming shop with a spring in my step. I glance at the schedule for the day and one name jumps out- Mazerati. Every groomer has one client that strikes dread in the pit of their stomach when they see the name on their schedule. For one of the groomers I work with that name is a Himalayan cat named Mazerati. The monthly grooming of him has become a spectator sport in our grooming salon.
Groomer Lisa enters the building a short time later and I can’t help but greet her with a smile- “Mazerati is on your schedule today,” I quip. Lisa is a seasoned groomer- she has been to the trenches of groomer war and lived to tell the stories. She has been to groomer hell and back- there is no animal she can’t or hasn’t groomed and she has a never say no attitude. But I see a quiver in her face when she hears Mazerati is coming. Just a moment, then it’s gone and her Groomer face armor is back on- she begins to mentally prepare.
Mazerati’s mom floats into the shop about thirty minutes later. “He’s not in a good mood today,” she says. And I think to myself, Let the circus begin.
His carrier goes straight to the bathing area- one doesn’t really need to ask which part of the building Mazerati is in to know his location. Like a built in GPS system, the guttural growls begin and he can be heard throughout the building. Mazerati’s song is an old one- primal and ancient and meant to strike fear in the soul of anything that elicits it.
He continues to voice his loud and angry opinion while enduring the drying process then moves to Groomer Lisa’s table. The opening act is over and the main event is ready. I look around and notice that his move to the grooming table has drawn a crowd.
She secures the frothing beast with a noose around his shoulder. He replies to this new insult by increasing his throat growling volume. Groomer Lisa begins executing the fastest possible lion cut while Mazerati focuses on swiping imaginary foes from the air in front of him. Like an Olympic prize fighter, he swings a left hook then a right hook then repeats. His swimming motion with his long gone imaginary claws is punctuated by now open mouthed song. He is singing the “I’m going to kill someone if I can get free song”. And it is met with wide-eyed stares from employees and a now growing crowd of customers watching the bout.
Some groomers are not impressed with Mazerati’s antics. One of these is Brittney- she continues to continue the scissor cut on the 90 pound Goldendoodle on the table next to Groomer Lisa. With each swing, Mazerati gets closer and closer to Groomer Brittney. And as he gets closer to an actual target his guttural sounds increase. With each swipe he screams yet she scissors faster trying to finish the masterpiece on her own table.
Then, in the midst of her own creative genius moment, Brittney steps back to survey her finely scissored Goldendoodle. At that precise moment Mazerati swipes in a super-cat moment and somehow catches the back of her shirt. What happened next should be described or imagined in slow motion- devoid of sound and complete with the slo-mo screams reserved for movie theaters.
Mazerati seized the moment- and Brittney’s shirt and began his ascent. Now, it should be noted that Groomer Brittney has a fetish for being touched on her neck. The mere mention of anyone touching her there can literally cripple her into a writhing ball. Each moment is punctuated by a guttural scream- only now it is coming from Brittney. Because Mazerati is still contained by a safety restraint, with each grasp of his paw he is propelled backward carrying his victim (Brittney) with him. Surrounding them, there are gasps, murmurs, and silence. I didn’t pause to determine if they were in fear or awe of this death-defying display. Just as Mazerati reaches the pinnacle, Groomer Lisa swoops down upon them with a grasp that only a fellow groomer can appreciate and plucks the mewling, growling creature from atop Brittney’s ponytail.
“Show’s over, folks,” she says with only a trace of her Alabama drawl.
The crowd slowly disperses from whence it came, mumbling amongst themselves things about bravery, cats, and groomers. Groomer Lisa places Mazerati securely back on the table top and quickly finishes the lion cut. Brittney straightens her smock and adjusts her ponytail just as the Goldendoodle owner walks into the salon. Brittney and Lisa lock eyes in a look that lasts a moment. She puts her best groomer smile on and goes to greet her. And that’s how it happens in a grooming shop.