Good grooming has many benefits to the cat and it's owner. Regular combing and bathing lessen the loose hair and removal of excess oils. Cats lick to groom themselves ingesting loose hair. If you are stoking your cat and find that hair is floating away while you do so, then you haven't been doing your job with the comb. The loved pet and the adored show cat both enjoy being groomed .
There is a proper way to use a comb as well as better combs for different types of coat. The right comb for most short hair cats is one that has teeth about one inch in length with a fine spaced side and a wide spaced side for use for the body and tail hair. Another comb with a bit short tines close together are for use one face , top head and legs. For cats with semi long hair and very long hair choose a comb with longer times about 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 inches in length. Use a comb with shorter tines for the face and legs.
Begin your grooming with a pet seesion. Set the cat on a table , you stand beside, the cat stands up while you groom. Then begin gentle combing at the top head and chin. Most cats will enjoy this very much. Now work down the neck area. The correct way to use the comb is to insert the tines into the hair in the direction the hair grows, head to tail, then draw the comb out way from the cats body from root to tip of hair strands. Now with the neck area finished begin the underside (tummy). The same away from the body strokes from skin to hair tips until youhave completely combed thru all of the tummy and between hind legs and under front leg (pits). Often a cat will lie down while enjoying the tummy grooming. Now you are ready to do the tail, body and sides. Begin now at the tip of the tail with the same from base of hair to tip use of the comb.. a little on the underside of the tail and then a little on the top. Next begin with one hindfoot and your shorter toothed comb, do the combing from the toes up the hock back side and front side and continue the same with the other hind leg . Change to your longer toothed comb and begin combing the hair of each of the cats sides from the lower portion of the cats side to the center of the top of the cats back. Always comb from the skin to the hair tips.
Most show cats should be bathed weekly with a complete combing before the bath. While you are grooming you can peek into the cats ears to check to see if they need cleaning. To clean them, put a few drops of ear cleaning solution into each ear and gently rub a moment. Let that soak in while you trim the cats toe nials. Gently wipe the inside of the ear with a Qtip swab, changing for a fresh Qtip as they become soiled. Examine the chin and tail top to see if there is any oils to be washed away. If there is oils , then it is time to bath. Before bathing , to better dislove the oils , apply a few drops of Avon Skin so soft, to the oily areas and rub gently. This will help wash the thicker oils from the hair. Now you are almost ready to bath.
You will want to have everything you want with in hands reach before you begin. Three towels, one wash cloth, baby shampoo for use on the cats face, good cleaning shampoo for first wash, Wash N curl shampoo for your second wash. Choosing products that work for your cats hair will take trailand error. You would not want to do a product test right before the show date. Do it well in advance of the show so you can redo the bath if it didn't turn out.
A good spray hose like those in a shower is nice, one can use the kitchen sink kind too. Rinsing is the most important part of the bath. It must be rinsed , extra ,extra ,well. I have a plastic covered wire rack on legs that I use to stand the cat on. It keeps the feet from soaking up oils in the foamy water and I can also spray the cat from beneath getting the tummy and between the legs well.
To help the cat stay calm, I talk with the cat the whole time I am bathing. I place the cat on the wire rack, petting and assuring the cat that this is a wonderful fun thing. I put the ointment into the cats eyes and turn water on slowly , talking and petting, until the water is set to a comfortable warm temperature. Now on the cats dry hair I apply the cleaning shampoo to the tail top and (under the tail find anal gland area, and add shampoo)and chin and rub it in. Next wet the wash cloth and put a bit of baby shampoo onto it for washing the cats face. Apply the shampoo with the wash cloth to the face, cheeks and head rubbing gentle to disolve soils. Now you are ready for water, wet the whole of the cat ( except the face) then add shampoo as needed to get a good lather to every bit of the cat. Rinse well and do the second shampooing with the Wash N Curl Shampoo. Lather the intire coat. Now you are ready to rinse the cats face. All soap must be rinsed completely. To rinse the cats face you will fold the cats ear and cover with your hand to keep water from flowing into the ear, tilt the cats head slightly to one side and spray that side of the face well over the eye and down under the chin and over the top of the cats head. Repeat this to rinse the other side of the face. Finish by rinsing the cat for about five minutes. Let the water drip from the cat. Wrap in your towel. Change to a dry towel as the towels become soaked. Do not rub. You want the hair to remain close to the cats body. Air dry in a warm room.
When the cat is completely dry it is time to comb again. This is done very very gently in the same manner as before the bath. You may find you are collecting loose hair in to the comb. If this occurs you will want to bath again is a few days. Bathing can loosen hairs and also at differnt times of the year there is natural shed of hairs with new hair growth. Curly hair retains loose hair much more than the straight haired coats. Some Selkirk Rex will require more grooming than a persian cat.
Freshly bathed and smelling nice, the cat is happy and beautiful. Other things that are part of good grooming are to check the cats teeth and breath. If they need attention , have your vet help you with correcting any conditions that need atending to.
With the variety of coats from dry to oily, fine to heavier your choice of products will be something you will have to learn for your self,. No one product fits all types of coat. Further at differnt times of the year the coat may need extra care , moisturizing durring shed times, or creme rinse to help rinse loose hair from the coat. Some coats can be Ok with the creme rinse left in ,other it must be washed out again. Dead hairs loose their curl. Some females in heat cycles often wilt and become nearly curless. There are also many scrinching products made for aiding curly hair from the frizzies. Be sure to test the use of any of these prior to show time.
Maintaining a show coat thru the whole of the show season may seem impossible. Many of us have found ourselves rebathing our cat on Saturday night. A coat can become oily quickly from handling, eating and pottying. Nothing worse than a poo paw or tail tip going un noticed as we hussle from one ring toanother. Or having to bring a damp cat to the judge. A bit of cologne can be handly for these untimely occassions.
If you follow these basics for grooming and do them regularly you and your cat should be very happy.
Ready, Set Show !
Presenting a perfectly groomed Selkirk Rex started 6 or 8 weeks back in time, with weekly bathing and paying close attention to those special areas of your cat that soil easily daily. What are those areas you might wonder. From the tip of your cats nose to the tip of it's tail and all stops inbetween you don't want a trace of oiliness. The eye , ear ,mouth and chin areas must be checked daily and cleaned if needed. Watch for whiskers that curl into the cats eyes. You will want to clip them to aviod them poking into the cats eyes.The other end also should be checked daily. Always trim your cats nails the day before the show.
To clean the face area you will need a white wash cloth. This you wet with warm water and put a dime size drop of baby shampoo in the center and rub it until it turns to foam. Pat the foam onto the closed eyes and face, chin and the outer ear and thinly hairred area beneath the ears. With another white wet wash cloth wipe the areas clean. You will know when they are clean by seeing no more soil on your cloth. Always dry your cat after washing up. Paper towel does a good job of drying quickly. Check your cats butt end , if it is not perfect, use the same proceedure as for face washing. Before leaving for the showhall , do an all over check out of your cat to be certain it is emaculate.
Baby whipes are handy to catch areas of soil or oil at the show. Take a big tub of them , Qtips and paper towel. The nature of curly hair is to hold anything that gets in contact with it. Moisture left after eating , drinking and in the potty all tend to stay in the curlies. Be ready with your paper toweling to dab it off. Also dampness will allow other dust and lint to stick to the hair.
The kind of cat litter you bring with will make a great difference. The dust and crumbs of most cat litter will stick to your cats feet and hair. The bead kind will not. Trying to comb litter from a coat in near impossible. The coat will feel gritty and look dusty. It is best to use bead litter for your show cat regularly thru the period you will be showing the cat.
Loose hair can be a big problem. One would not beleive how much hair can be shed by a nervous cat. A cat may seem content in it's behavior ,but with travel and strange smells the moments when it is tense seems to produce loose hair. Several ways to remove the hair are your sticky roller for hair removal from clothing or applying anti static on your hands and petting the cat may pick up some of the loose hair. Combing might seem the obvious way to remove loose hair but it doesn't seem to do the trick at the shows when a cat is tense. When the show is a two day show, comb and wash the cat after the first day of showing and rinse super well to rid the coat of all loose hair. This may not stop the loose hair problem but it will help by starting the next day with out yesterdays loose hair.
Try to arrive at the show hall a bit early. Get your caging and grooming area set up and upon getting your cat from the carrier, check it over well. You may find a surprize. If there is a need to do some clean up, do it imediately. Stay calm, your cat will know there is a problem and if you get all in a tizzy you will only upset the cat. Talk your sweet talk to the cat and be slow and gentle. We ask a lot from our show cats, we don't want them to feel we blame them for natures call or a hair ball. Ussually we do not find surprizes and can do a bit of primping.
Most Selkirk Rex coats will need to be plummed up after the cat has been laying in thier carrier for hours. A gentle comb thru and a spritz of plain water from a misting bottle , after the comb thru is generally all that is needed. If the hair are evenly spaced curls , great. If not you will have to arrange them. Over grooming is the most common hair disastor. Our show halls are generally dry air and static. What worked at home won't work there. Combing the curls too much will cause frizzienss and your cat will not show it's nice curls. Should this happen you will have to scrinch the curl back with your finger tips and misting with water until the coat is back to normal. There are products that can aid in this effort. I do not advise trying them for the fisrt time at a show, however, if the coat is already in disastor, it may be your only choice. Use as little as possible to see how the product is working for you. If it doesn't seem to be doing the job then you know to quit right then and go back to your ussual way. You may find your best choice is to make the cats hair wet and let it dry naturally. A very light wieght fine textured coat is fragile. After a days judging and handling it will be nescessary to bath the cat before the next days judging. This kind of coat is affected by any oils from hands and thier foods. Heavier hair may not need cleaning from handling but if in doubt bathe the cat.
There are coats that seem to have sprigs of hair that detract from the appearance of a well groomed cat. Cow licks especially, may need to be clipped when over the eyes and curling over the eye lashes into the cats eyes. A wild hair sprig on top of the cats head or lopsided ruff or cheek fluff might be better if made even. This is a beauty contest.You can't give your cat what it doesn't have, you can present what it does have at it's best. You can also give yourself extra credit for your presentation.
Next and possibly more important than any thing else at the show is to help your cat enjoy the show. Some cats will enjoy a taste of jarred baby meat after grooming or judging. Others like to play toys or be carried about the hall with you. Some times late in the day cats want to nap. Keep watch of the next ring coming up, when the time comes near ,wake your cat by talking to him, offering treats and bringing the cat out of the cage to the grooming table. Do your grooming with out rushing. Many cats will fall back to sleep in the judging ring .
Durring those 6 or 8 weeks before the fisrt show date, spend time playing with toys like those the judges use. Some cats may not be big on toys , just cuddly lap cats. Take your cat for car rides in it's carrier. Visit family or friends with the cat. Play cat show judge with your cat, getting the cat used to touching his face , tail and lifting into the air as judges do , held out away from you. Cats know they don't have wings and have a fear of falling. Always hold your cat securely giving support to the body.
First time showing is the most important for teaching your cat to like showing. Spend all of your time with your cat. Playing with your cat and carrying the cat thru the hall. For new people to the show sceen, do not take your cat into the judges ring seating area other than when your number is called for you to bring the cat.
Every cat is very individual from their personality to care of thier coat. You will want to test a number of types of shampoos and hair products to learn which is best for your cat. Even the most out going of cats may become frightened at some point. You dont want such an experience to ruin your cat for showing. If you have an incident that does frieghten your cat, take the cat away from the location. If you can not change the situation, see if you can get your cat to feel it is not threatened. Do not attempt to put your cat into a judges ring if it is upset. It is best to put things right with your cat before leaving the show hall. The cat will remember about it and the next time you bring the cat to a show hall it may associate this with danger.
A mature whole adult cat may decide they can not tolorate a show experience. Respect your cat if this time comes for them. Some go thru a phaze and get past feeling threatened by the presenses of other mature cats and you might try exhibiting the cat later on.
The Selkirk Rex maybe called a wash and wear cat but there is much preperation and finish grooming to make a good presentation. You will spend just as much time as you would on a persian show cat without the aid of a blow dryer.
May your show experience be much fun for you and your cat!