© 2003 -2011 RCA
Show Preparation for Rexes - A Guide
Presentation for a show takes a certain amount of dedication and hard work but also gives a great deal of satisfaction, especially when you see your cat looking in the peak of condition. You can also “make or break” a cat on the show bench depending on the amount of care and preparation you take.
Here are a few hints and tips that may be of use to anyone starting out in the show world. First of all, do make yourself aware of the GCCF Rules pertaining to exhibits and exhibitors. If any rules are broken ignorance of these will not be accepted as an excuse.
Out of all the breeds, Devon Rex cats are the hardest to keep clean. The oil the skin produces tends to stain the skin and as a consequence, the fur. Cornish Rex do not seem to suffer this to the same extent. The biggest mistake a lot of people make is to use an oil removing shampoo similar to the human variety for greasy hair. These shampoos are far too harsh and the brown staining that occurs will come back, not only within hours but also twice as bad. A baby shampoo is excellent. I normally just shampoo the under parts of the body. If you do wash the coat then do so at least a week prior to the show, as shampoo tends to make the fur too soft to rex. Allow time for the coat to “crisp” for neat waves.
All of my show cats are, from the first, used to being bathed and prepared so they get used to the routine. It is inadvisable to wait until the last minute to prepare for a show as the poor cat will not welcome being frantically cleaned just twenty four hours beforehand and it will probably also end in a battle of wills with no winner on either side.
I normally start preparing a cat about two weeks before a show with a warm shower, (them not me). Make sure the cat stands on either a rubber mat or similar non slip material so that it does not end up skiing the length of the bath once the shower has been turned on. Mine like to rest their feet on the handles of the bath, another guarantee of avoiding any involuntary slipping down the plughole! Always make sure the temperature of the water is right – not too hot and certainly not too cold. I normally use the shower in downward strokes before applying the shampoo as the warmth and soothing motion helps to relax them. When applying the shampoo try not to rub too hard, as this will stimulate the oil glands.
After their wash make sure you have a warm towel handy for taking the cat out, plus another one on hand when the first gets too wet. Wrap your cat up well then find a nice warm place for them to dry.
As mentioned previously, shampoo tends to soften the fur so when the coat is dry I apply a light coating of oil. I normally use a small amount of lard on the palm of my hand and then rub both hands together so there is an even covering, I then simply pat the cat’s coat with the flat of my hands then groom with a medium to stiff brush, the waves soon reappear. Never use too much oil as this can cause what is known as an “open” coat.
In most cases the bottom of the paws, under the tail and sometimes, the face of a Rex and where the fur is not as thick are the worst areas for showing dirt. On these I use a clear preparation containing witch hazel, (available at most shows), and I clean the offending areas at least once a week but more often during the run up to a show.
The ears of a Rex, being large and open, are prime targets for grime because of the wax produced. Use a lightly damped cotton wool bud to clean. Buds are handy for getting all the little bits of dirt out but do take care not to insert them too far into the ear as this causes discomfort to the cat.
I particularly enjoy showing white and bi-colour Rexes as I find them a real challenge. With white coated cats you do have to be careful which flea preventive you use as I have found to my cost that some, sprays in particular, leave yellow streaks in the coat and the resulting stains are hard to remove. Having said that there are many preparations on the market now, which means not having to use an aerosol.
Before the day of the show give your cats ears a final check. Also make sure the claws are tipped so they do not get caught in the show blanket (or Judge) when the cat is taken out of its pen.
After the show always wash your show equipment thoroughly to be in readiness for your next trip out, thus avoiding any last minute panic. Make sure your white blankets are the colour they should be and are clean so your cat is not let down by its surroundings.
© Hilary Dean/RCA
A top quality LaPerm coat relies on several things before the grooming even starts. A cat which is well cared for with a healthy diet should have a pest-free, shiny and beautiful coat. Some cats may go through hormonal or seasonal moults which may result in a period with a less full coat, but in a healthy cat this should come back in to restore the cat to its former glory.
It is a good idea to
start any grooming session with the nails. A good pair of nail trimmers is an
investment well worth making. Avoid anything too large and find something small
but strong, which will allow you to cut the nails with precision. Seat the cat
on your lap or just between your thighs for a more secure position. Be firm, but
gentle and never grasp or squeeze a wriggling cat as they will not forget their
feeling of panic. Press on the paw pads to extend the claws and be careful to
just trim off the sharp end and not to cut the pink quick where the nerve is
located. If there is any dirt on the nails then you may gently scrape it off
with a finger nail but do not scratch the skin around the nail bed. You may only
need to trim the nails on the front paws, but it is worth checking the back paws
anyway, especially in less active cats, to make sure the claws are in good
condition. Remember to trim nails before every show as you wouldn't want to be
responsible for a steward of judge being injured.
You can give a gentle
comb through to make sure there is no matting, but that is all that is required.
Then make sure you leave you cat somewhere warm to dry. Do not be tempted to use
a hairdryer or to keeping combing through the coat as it dries as both of these
will result in a frizz ball with no defined curls. Most cats will spend some
time grooming themselves after a bath and lick their coats through. This is fine
as you cannot really prevent it, but do watch out for a cat that just goes to
sleep lying on a wet coat as it might dry in a rather flat shape. If this
happens then try turning the cat over or waking it up!
If you bathe your cat you may need to allow two or three days before a show to let the coat settle and relax, but experiment and be sure to share your results!
If you are grooming a
cat before a show then good luck! I hope your hard work will bring out the cat's
The Selkirk Rex has an alert and active personality with a sweet, endearing disposition that is very appealing. The coat is random and unstructured, arranged in loose curls, giving an overall soft, plushy feel……….Your preparation and presentation can make all the difference to the appearance of your Selkirk– it is well worthwhile working at it! Judges are impressed by sparkling condition – it can affect placings in classes!
I use House of An-Ju products, obtainable from Smylee Pets (01953 8612660). I usually bath on a Wednesday or Thursday for a Saturday show. I use Snowy Blue Shampoo to cleanse the coat and Texturizing Shampoo to add lift and body – I find them both the best products I have used. I NEVER use conditioner. The Texturizing Spray is excellent in between times and if shows are just 2 weeks apart, you can use that instead of shampooing the coat again. I have also tried John Frieda Frizz-Ease “Dream Curls” when I dry the kitten. You will need a Denman Triple Comb for grooming (you can get these in Superdrug or a Hairdressing outlet). I never use a brush – if you cannot get the Denman Triple Comb, use a wide toothed comb.
I start by having everything to hand. I shampoo my kittens using the telephone shower in the hand basin. I have a folded pad of towel to stand the kitten out on after shampooing and another smallish towel to squeeze out the immediate water. I then wrap the kitten in a large, warm bath sheet to take it to be dried. I dilute the shampoos, as directed on the bottle, before beginning. I never wet the cat’s head or ears. First I thoroughly wet the coat and then apply the diluted Snowy Blue. I shampoo and then rinse thoroughly. I then apply the diluted Texturizing Shampoo, wash the coat again thoroughly and then rinse and rinse and rinse again until the coat is squeaky clean. I lift the kitten out onto the towel pad and pat out the water with the second towel. I then wrap the cat in the bath sheet and sit with the cat on my lap and towel dry (patting and blotting rather than rubbing) as far as possible. I scrunch the fur on the back towards the head to lift it away from the body. I spray carefully with the “Dream Curls”. I then scrunch dry as far as possible using the medium level and “warm” on my hairdryer (a diffuser is excellent). I dry the coat until it is damp-dry. I then let the kitten have a good shake and let it run around in a warm room. I then let it dry naturally. Every half hour or so I run my fingers through the coat and use my fingers to rake and scrunch the back fur towards the head and keep it lifted. NEVER USE A COMB AT THIS STAGE. Let the coat dry thoroughly, preferably leave it overnight.
On the Friday, comb the fur against the growth using the triple comb. Use short strokes with the comb. Take particular care with the stomach and the trousers. Spritz very lightly with a little water. Pat and scrunch, “play” with the coat with your hands and make it look good. Clean the face with a cotton wool pad that is slightly damp. Check in the ears too. Make sure the whiskers do not curl around and go into the eyes. Trim with nail scissors if necessary. If the eyes are a little watery, just blot with a soft tissue – do not rub.
At the show give the kitten a final groom, spritzing and scrunching if necessary. MAKE SURE THE COAT IS DRY BEFORE JUDGING, SO DO NOT DO THIS AT THE LAST MINUTE!!!!!
SOME FINAL TIPS:
Always practice before you have to go to a show, never leave things until the last minute!
Always use a shampoo formulated with the correct PH balance for a cat’s skin to avoid excess grease or dandruff. I would never use a baby shampoo or washing up liquid on a cat’s skin.
Never let the white on a self or bi-colour cat become yellow – something like Ring 5 Quick Clean is excellent for preventing this.
Take a pride in your cat – a cat show is a beauty contest – if your cat looks good, it will feel good and show off so much better to the judges.
SELKIRK REX ARE
STUNNING CATS THAT IMPRESS JUDGES – PREPARATION & PRESENTATION IS SO IMPORTANT -
MAKE SURE YOU SHOW YOUR CAT IN PERFECT CONDITION !