Certification for grooming shows your clients that you are willing to continue to learn to offer them the highest quality of service possible. It also acts as validation to your skill and knowledge.

It is easy to say I groom cats. Anyone can say that. But to be able to say that you have your masters in cat grooming or that you are training to attain your masters, well, that makes you much more attractive to potential feline clients.

Certification Process


There is no order that the tests are required to be taken or the manuals read, however, we suggest that Manual 2; Cat Talk and Groomer Hands is read before Manual 3; Grooming The Cat.

The exams can be taken at a seminar event or by proctor. 


Manual 1: The Cat, The Groomer

  • What it takes to be a cat groomer
  • Cats
  • Anatomy
  • Medical conditions, parasites and zoonosis
  • Poisonings

Manual 2: Cat Talk and Groomer Hands

  • Environment
  • Equipment
  • Body Language
  • Handling techniques

Manual 3: Grooming the Cat

  • Grooming techniques
  • Grooming the cat
  • Bathing
  • Styles
  • Creative

Manual 4: Business

  • Marketing
  • Business practices
  • Safety in the shop
  • Client communication

Manual 5: Breeds (masters exam)

  • Colors
  • Patterns
  • Breeds
  • Competing

Prerequisite: the student must attain their ICE and ICGE designation before the final exam for Breeds.


A proctor is a person or business in the community with legal, government or business standing, that can administer an exam. For example; school staff, libraries, town offices, lawyer, clergy man or bank official . Any costs required by the proctor are the students' responsibility. The proctor can give the exam verbally, but will not be able to explain any questions. The proctor cannot be your work place,  relatives or business owned by relatives.

When you have chosen a proctor, contact ICATS for Groomers with the proctors' business name, address and test administrators name. We will send the exam to your proctor. They will contact you when the exam has arrived and arrange a time for you to write the exam.

When you are finished the exam, the proctor will mail it back in a self-addressed envelope supplied by ICATS for Groomers to be evaluated.

The test results will be emailed to the student with a hard copy mailed as well. 

The written exams are not open book exams. Phones, tablets, electronics or books are not allowed while taking the exam.

Special arrangements can be made with ICATS for  a written exam to be given verbally over Skype or video messenger.


BThere are four practical exams performed on a live cat. The cat can be either short or long haired.

Testing can be done at a seminar, privately or long distance either over video messenger, Skype, video download or digital video mailed to the tester.

Test One: Brushing and Maintenance

  1. Brushing techniques for a long haired cat
  2. Brushing techniques for a short haired cat
  3. Proper demonstration of a slicker brush, comb, carding\deshedding tools, flea comb, zoom groom
  4. Proper removal of a matt using tools designated by the tester
  5. Eye cleaning
  6. Ear cleaning 
  7. Nail trimming
  8. Anus/vulva cleaning/trimming

Test Two: Grooming

  1. Sanitary shave
  2. Belly shave
  3. Finished full groom presentation

The style of the test groom can be one of the following;

  1. Mini lion
  2. Full lion (with arm pits shaved)
  3. Bobcat
  4. Lynx
  5. Dragon

A panther style is not accepted as a test style. 

The tail cat be styled either as a lion tail or spiral. A full tail is not acceptable.

Test Three: Bathing

  1. Preparedness
  2. Bathing techniques
  3. Burrito
  4. Drying
  5. Final Cleanliness

Test Four: Handling

The student will be marked throughout the groom on handling skills. The student will also have to demonstrate the following: (a stuffed animal may be used for some of the handling techniques)

  1. Removal from a carry kennel and replacing in the carry kennel
  2. Technique to catch a cat that has bolted
  3. Application of different muzzles and different ways to prevent the cat from biting you
  4. Different uses of a towel
  5. Body language and what different signals mean

No marks will be lost if the test groom requires an extra person to help hold, but the assistant must be quiet and wait for instruction from the student.

Animals can be unpredictable, with this in mind, the tester will take into consideration how the cat behaves and how the student handles the behavior.



A final passing grade of 85% on each written exam is required for the groomer  be awarded the title International Cat Expert and can put ICE behind their name.


The student must pass each section in a test with  70% or better and must have a final passing grade on each test of 85%, to attain the designation of  International Cat Groomer Excellence (ICGE).

When both the practical and written are completed with a passing grade on all tests of 85% or more, the groomer is eligible to write a final written exam based upon Manual 5; Breeds. Upon passing with an 85% or better, the title of International Cat Master Groomer will be awarded and the letters ICMG can be placed behind their name.

Honorary Certification

If you have a masters’ designation through a different organization and would like to apply for designation through ICATS, we are developing a challenge option.

Veterinary Staff

ICATS has developed a specialized program for Veterinary professionals to attain an ICATS certification in grooming pets under anesthetic.

Instructors Program

An instructors program is being developed through ICATS for groomers wishing to further their career by becoming instructors for ICATS.

Long Distance Education and Testing

Although Seminars are an excellent way to learn our program, we understand the challenges that plague students trying to learn new skills.

For this reason, ICATS is developing an interactive long distance learning opportunity for students that are unable to attend a personal training session.

Both written and practical testing can be done long distance. The long distance learning page explains it in detail.


For either long distance or in person instruction, there are certain requirements. First, being that you either be a dog groomer or have proficient skills with clippers and scissors.  If you are not a groomer, you will have to show your skill with clippers and scissors before you will be allowed into the program.

For people  (in Alberta) that want to strictly groom cats and are not dog groomers, the Alberta School of Dog Grooming can accommodate you with a course on clipper skills that must be taken and passed before the person will be accepted as a student.

For those potential students that don’t have access to The Alberta School of Dog Grooming, a local approved grooming school or instructor can also be accepted to teach you clipper and scissor skills. Contact ICATS directly for more information as every situation is unique.