Grooming your Household Pet
(more photos to come)
Any cat being shown, even in the household pet class, should be bathed and groomed for a nice presentation. You will also need to trim all the claws as this is a show requirement. Most judges will also look at the eyes and ears, so make sure there is no goop in the eyes and clean out those ears. (I always clean them the night before, but I do a last minute check at the cat show.) The coat grooming could be a simple bath and brushing. Or it could be a very detailed and challenging event :)
If you have a shorthair kitty, odds are that you will have an easy cat to groom. You will want to do a good bath to make sure the coat is clean and shiny. Rinse with some vinegar in the water to make sure you get all residue of soap out of the coat.
If your cat is a fluffy cat, you will have more of a challenge, and how much you need to do will depend on your cat's coat. Some fluffy cats are actually what I call spit and shine. You give them a nice bath, dry them off with a towel, wait for the rest to dry, and do a quick brushing. All done. Consider your lucky :)
And then there are the Persian type coats and/or the greasy coats. Those take more specialized bathing as well as special drying. My
own cat has a coat similar to a Persian. My first few shows with her, she looked nice and felt very soft, but her coat just wasn't separating out into that nice fluffy coat that other shows cats had. The judges would say she was nicely presented, but she wasn't getting specific grooming compliments. With each show, I worked on my grooming technique. I had the right ingredients from the Maine Coon breeders, but it wasn't until I showed her to a Persian breeder that I got the extra technique that I needed. At my next show,I got great compliments on her grooming. I am vey grateful that an experienced exhibitor looked at my cat and told me what I could do to improve her grooming.
So, here is what I do with extra fluffy cat. I start off with the bath (prepare everything first, all supplies within reach, drying supplies ready too, and do the nail trimming first).
I start the bath without water. I use a product called Goop. It comes in a short canister, and is found at Walmart in the automotive section. It is for cleaning grease from hands. It works really well ast stripping the grease of the cat's coat. It is a thick liquid, which I work in all over the coat. Then I add some water and work in more. Rinse well. Then use Dawn dishwashing liquid and rinse again. Now for the shampoo. There are a wide variety of choices. I like to use Pantene. Rinse again. And when you think you have ALL the soap out, then rinse with vinegar water.
Towel dry as best you can. Now is the time to add a leave-in conditioner. I really like to use a product called De-Mat. It is a spray that helps condition the coat without leaving it heavy or greasy. It also reduces static and helps the hair dry faster.
Now for the drying process. This is where I really had to work on my technique. You get much better results if you use a hair dryer AND you comb the hair while drying it. This helps it really fluff out nicely. When asking people at the shows, they seem to have very little problem with their cats and hair dryers, probably since they start them as kittens. My cat was terrified, and I did not have enough hands to hold her, hold the hair dryer, and comb her. So, I have a holder for the hair dryer, and I use a halter on my cat that allows me to get a grip on her without squeezing her. I also use a short leash so that I can let go without her leaving. I can get most of her combed dry even with the halter on, and once I get to the last bit, I can take it off, and she doesn't realize she can leave. Over time, she has improved, and I can get her dry much faster.
If you have questions, send me an email. I'm happy to help.