Maria Drechsel runs Fabulous Feline Grooming out of a studio in her mobile home in Forest Lawn. Despite its humble home, it has become one of the most popular cat grooming businesses in Southern Alberta.

Drechsel has been grooming cats her whole life but began to groom professionally 10 years ago. Throughout her career, she has learned the importance of being gentle with her cats while still maintaining control over the animals so she can do her job to the best of her ability.

“Some people, I find, are very forceful with a cat constantly without seeing what the cat is really truly like. Being confident with the hold and being confident with the animal really helps.”

Fabulous Feline Grooming is run out of Drechsel’s mobile home and upon entry, it is hard not to notice the welcoming atmosphere. There are several cat houses against the walls where her five cats are to be found lounging on and around them.

Drechsel has been able to make great use of her space and has created a very clean and functional studio where she is able to perform a wide number of services. She makes a point of creating a calm and safe place for her feline clients.

Maria Drechsel is the owner of Fabulous Feline Grooming, pictured with one of her own five cats. Photo by Hannah PapkeDespite its size and small business feel, Fabulous Feline Grooming was awarded the 2018 Consumer Choice awards for best cat groomer in Southern Alberta.

“It was pretty amazing that I beat out 500 other groomers which was exciting but also a bit nerve-racking because I wasn’t quite the small business I thought I was anymore. I was much bigger, but it was great.”

The Consumer Choice awards are chosen based on online surveys and data. Online reviews and extensive research on the nominated companies are looked at to see real customers perspectives on the company.

Jordan McClure was hired by Drechsel in July as an assistant and since then has been able to help Drechsel with paperwork and grooming the cats.

McClure says that Drechsel has taught her so much about customer service and that she puts a huge emphasis on looking after the customers.

“Everything she does with her business has to do with customer service and how customers are treated and how her cats are treated,” McClure says.

Kathryn Smith has been taking her two cats to Fabulous Feline Grooming for the past three years and says that she loves the way Drechsel runs her business.

“She calls afterwards and makes sure everything’s okay, she’s flexible, she’s really kind and to see her work with the cats, she just knows what she’s doing,” Smith says.

Smith shares that Drechsel is able to help her with many other things besides just the grooming of her cats.

“When I have any questions in general about what they’re eating or what they’re doing. She’s always really, really good about helping out.”

As Fabulous Feline Grooming has grown, Drechsel has been able to add new types of services for her clients on top of the grooming.

“She’ll come and view and check on your cats while you’re away and that’s really fantastic because it’s good to have someone you know and she knows the cats,” says Smith.

Another unique service Fabulous Feline Grooming offers is called Fab Kitty Paws. They are a removable silicone cover that shapes to the cat’s nails.

A feline patron sporting ‘Fab Kitty Paws,’ silicone nail covers that are a simple and humane alternative to declawing. Photo by Hannah Papke
Fab Kitty Paws are great because they offer a solution to cats scratching furniture or people without the long-term consequences of declawing.

“They don’t have weapons to defend themselves, they’re not able to climb and get away from their predators so declawing and tendonectomy is considered to be cruel for those reasons,” says Drechsel.

Fab Kitty Paws are easy for a groomer to remove, so if an owner decided that they no longer need the caps on, they can quickly be taken off opposed to the permanence of declawing.

Drechsel has worked tirelessly to build Fabulous Feline Grooming into the award-winning company it is today.

As her business grows, she hopes to keep her high standards of customer service the same and continue to add more services and treatments for the cats.

Editor: Megan Atkins-Baker | matkins-baker@cjournal.ca