A long-haired blonde is popping into a beauty salon for a nice haircut to show off during those long summer promenades. Spending 90 minutes there transforms her looks dramatically: she only has hair left on her head, the tips of her paws and her tail.
If you’re thinking that Richie is a poodle, you’re wrong. She is a Persian cat, and that typically means a very fluffy one. Richie is also extremely obedient and quiet, which impresses her stylist Olena Povolotska.
Richie is eight, and she has had her annual haircut before each summer “not to feel hot,” her owner Liudmyla Trazanova says.
The two tables next to Richie are taken by a couple of shivering dogs. The salon’s door bell rings, letting in new pets and their smiling owners, typically charming ladies.
Glamorous pets are becoming an increasingly more popular accessory in Kyiv, feeding the demand for an emerging grooming industry.
Monika, a two-year-old Yorkshire terrier, is a regular user of pet beauty treatments. She gets to see her groomer every few months. Moreover, she gets monthly kaolin-based hair-moistening masks with Dead Sea minerals, and has her teeth professionally cleaned every fortnight.
Groomer Povolotska says her feline clients don’t usually appreciate that kind of stuff: they tend to mew loudly and attempt to claw their way out of the grips of their beauty master.
“It is possible to comfort a dog [to lie quietly], but not a cat,” Povolotska said.
But Monica, the terrier, does not contain her objections to beautification. “She whines to be brought from the [grooming] table,” her owner Katia Harkushka said.
Yet the pet’s protests don’t dissuade Harkusha that a well-kept dog must have white teeth, a neat haircut, a coat of varnish of her claws and the newest designer clothes.
“We prefer pink things,” she said, donning a new dress and sandals on Monica.
The desire to have a glamorous dog even made Harkusha open her own VIP & DOG boutique two years ago, soon after she bought Channel, Monica’s elder sister.
On the dinky coat hangers in Harkusha’s salon you can see dozens of dresses, skirts, T-shirts, jeans and coveralls for dogs and cats, brightly colored and often decorated with rhinestones.
Another pet fashion store in the city center, Kucheryavaya Zhizn (Dog Days), sells teeny straw hats, brightly colored collars, bows and necklaces, adorned with fur and little gems. A pair of pet jeans in Harkusha’s boutique goes for Hr 290, while a s pair of sandals will set you back for another Hr 180.
But all this chic is perceived rather differently though the eyes of the pets.
“She [Monica] likes to dress up, because it means that we are going for a walk soon,” Harkusha said. Monica goes walkies once every few days, and accessories like a bright scrunchy and a diamante dog-lead are a part of the ritual.
Just like fashion, the must-have accessories change every season. This summer, the hottest thing is swimwear. Monica is yet to get her swimsuit, and in the meantime she will stroll the beaches in a special pink sarafan, Harkusha says.
Vets seem less enthusiastic about pet fashion than their owners, though.
“Maybe there is a need to dress up an animal when it’s raining or cold,” said Svitlana Zalesska, a vet at Umka veterinary clinic. “But when it’s plus 30 outside and these poor terriers walk around in tank tops - it’s sad.”
Zalesska believes that while animal grooming makes sense ahead of show competition, it doesn’t necessarily in everyday life.
Moreover, you have to be particularly careful when giving beauty treatments to a cat. “They are usually fastened by the front and hind paws in grooming salons and [as they struggle to break loose] it may lead to wrenches,” Zalesska said. The noises from grooming equipment are also “always a big stress for cat,” she added.
Your pet pampering bill
Pet sweater Hr 300
Jeans Hr 290
Sandals Hr 180
Ultrasonic teeth cleaning Hr 200
Pet manicure Hr 75
Cat grooming Hr 300
Kyiv Post staff writer Oksana Grytsenko can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org