Grooming for show

Good grooming practices are essential for maintaining health and happiness for you and your cat. This is a forum to exchange tips and advice for proper care of your cat's hygiene needs.

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Fergie the Dutchess

kitten kisses!
Purred: Thu Aug 21, '08 11:34pm PST 
Can anyone give me advice on grooming a domestic shorthair for a CFA household pet show? any suggestions on shampoo and coat products? Ferige is a mostly white calico.

also, can anyone give me advice on socializing a kitten for a busy show hall? judging? strangers?

shes 4 months old and pretty outgoing and is good about being handled. i just want to make sure she stays this way after she gets out of that lovey kitten stage. I cant wait to show her!cheer she has a lovly personailty and i was stoked that she kept her blue eyes. she reminds me of a Japanese Bobtail in her calico pattern and eyes.

Miss Tiny- Burr Burr

Love and adore.
Purred: Fri Aug 29, '08 11:42pm PST 
dosnt anyone show HHP? shrug


RESPECT The- Star!
Purred: Sat Aug 30, '08 10:10am PST 
I show HHP, on the CFA circuit, I am in Region 1. Is this your first show?
Are you showing CFA or TICA? What shows are you going to, if I am there
would be glad to help you. I show in NY, PA, MA, CT. Either way, you will
find the HHP people to be very friendly and very helpful, they are a great
group of people. happy dance

I love these icons!! cheer

Don't know how much experience you have, so please forgive if this is stuff
you already know, but trying to give you info, in case you don't know. kitty

HHP's must be 4 months old to enter the show hall, cannot be declawed, and
must be spayed/neutered by 8 months old. They should be free of fleas and
fungus, and not be ill. They should also have all the required shots, and some
states mandate rabies certificates. This info will be on the flyer.

*If* a judge or another exhibitor, should see/find fleas, fungus, evidence that
the cat is ill, the exhibitor, as well as anyone traveling with that person, will
be asked to leave, and the judges are pretty sharp.

If this is your first show, indicate it on the entry form, and the entry clerk
will assign you a "mentor", another HHP person, to help you.

In the catalog, under the HHP section, usually in the back, you will find your
cats name and number, when you go to the ring, put your cat in the cage
with your cats number on top. Blue is for boys, pink is for girls. The ring
clerk will have it set up either boy, girl, or all the girls will be in a row, or
if they set it up with males first, there will be an empty cage between each
male, males are never put next to each other. They will also give you a
schedule for each ring, so find HHP's in each ring, most of the time, HHP
is the first class in one of the rings, so get there at check in time, so you have
time to set up your benching cage, and get your cat ready.

Depending on the schedule of each ring, they pretty much go in order of the
numbers/breeds as shown in the catalogs, so you have a rough idea when
HHP's will be called. It gets kinda confusing, if your new, they have 3, 4, 6 or
8 rings going at the same time, and announcements for each ring, but you
will get the hang of it. Your "mentor" will help you with this, and if you
indicate you are new, the entry clerk will most likely bench you with other
HHP exhibitors, so they can help you too. dancing

After they judge the HHP's, the will call back the top 10, its called a Final.
They will announce the numbers, or some people just stay and watch to see
what numbers are put up. Keep alert, sometimes they change the schedule,
and move HHP's up, this usually happens around the LH/SH Kitten Finals,
because there are a zillion of them, lol, or one of the other AB or Premiership

As far as washing, what to use, I have 3 HHP's, 2 LH, 1SH, each with
different types of fur, and I use a different formula for each one. You will
have to try different products, to see which works best for your cat. What
works for one cat, does not work for the other. Helpful hint, a white cat, you
want him/her to be bright white, a dark haired cat, has to shine. I start my
kittens out on Suave baby shampoo and conditioner. Whatever you go with,
the secret is to rinse, rinse, and rinse some more. The shampoo residue will
leave their fur dull and lifeless. If you decide to go with conditioner, use
very very little, and make sure you rinse it all out, or it will leave their coat
greasy. If you go with any coat products after the bath, same thing, very
very little. The object of the game, is to present a very clean and healthy
cat. Before you go in the ring, make sure the ears are clean, and no gooky's
in the eyes.

Do not talk to the judge in the ring, unless he speaks to you first, some will
ask the cats name and where he/she came from, they don't want a 5 min
disertation, keep it short, this is a good time to mention that it is her first
show, some will even ask, most can tell if the cat has been shown before.

They like the cat to play on the table and be outgoing, friendly, some kind of
"presence" on the table. They like it if the cat goes up the rope pole, so
practice with that. ***Before the show starts, you are allowed, to go to an
empty ring, and practice on the table. The judge will spray the table and his
hands in between cat, so be a good neighbor, and spray the table before you
use it, and after.

I tend to be overly pickey about my cats at a show, I am pretty well know for
it on the circuit, and very proud of it. I do not let the spectators touch my
cats. You don't know what cat they may have just petted before they want to
pet your cat, or what they might have brought from home, or if they just ate
and have grease on their hands. Some exhibitors have hand sanitizer, and
will let the spectators pet their cat if they use it first. Most spectators will
ask if they can take a picture of your cat, don't let them use a flash, it may
scare a cat that has not been on the circuit, and is pretty much used to what
ever happens.

Get to know your neighbors, let them know, no one but you should take your
cat out of the cage, we all kinda watch after each others cats. It is very rare
but cats have been stolen from shows. I put twisty ties on the doors, not
going to prevent someone from taking them, but it will slow them down, so
a neighbor would notice and say something.

Bumpurr was a scardy boy his first 2 shows as a 4 mo old kitten. I walked him
all around the show hall, so he could get used to the noise and commotion.
By his 3rd show, he acted like he had been doing it all his life, and nothing
bothers him.

If your going to a TICA show, that is whole other ball of wax, lol, so let me
know, and I can tell you all about that. happy dance

Hope this helps, and I covered all your questions, and didn't repeat anything
you already knew. Please feel free to let me know if you have any more
questions. smile


kittykittykittykittykittywavecheerway to goway to gosmile

Mickey- (Angel- Dreamboat- #22)

Bigger is better
Purred: Sat Aug 30, '08 9:40pm PST 
Bumpurr gave you some great tips.

I've shown in HHP, and my brother Linus shows in purebred Premiership in CFA. We are in CFA Region 6. I would probably suggest a shampoo/conditioner for white coats since you are mostly white. I agree with Bumpurr though - you will need to experiment a little (well before the show) and see what works best for your coat. I use Groomer's Goop, Dawn, and Pantene as I have a somewhat greasy coat. And as Bumpurr said, rinse very very well! Make sure all claws are clipped, ears are cleaned, and any eye goobers wiped before going up to be judged. I also usually don't let anyone pet my cats at shows. Not only for health reasons as Bumpurr explained, but any oils or dirt on hands can mess up your grooming job too.

Be aware not all shows have a HHP class - check the show flier. Also, be aware that once you enter, entry fees are non-refundable. The main things are to know your number and listen for the announcements at the show. If you have any other questions I can help with, feel free to p-mail me. HHP is alot of fun!

Linus- (Dreamboat- #72a)

So many toys, so- little time.
Purred: Sat Aug 30, '08 9:49pm PST 
I'm Linus, Mickey's little brother.

Socializing for a show... Yes, show halls can be VERY busy places and overwhelming for a cat. I was so scared at my first show Mom almost didn't take me to another one. I behaved MUCH better at my next shows though. Mom was told it probably takes about 4 shows to get used to it and know you will be okay. Mom had to wake me up for one of my rings last time (I like to snuggle under my favorite blanket in my cage)! Anyway, don't be too surprised or discouraged if she doesn't seem too thrilled with it at first.

We have a stroller and it is great for getting me used to going out. You can also use your carrier though. Try going to the vet just to visit, pet stores, ect. Practice with her at home too, maybe on a coffee table, getting her used to being handled. Judges have little wand teaser toys so you can get some of those too.


Has been COTD!
Purred: Sun Aug 31, '08 6:28pm PST 
Great replies--I don't have much to add. I show in the Premiership and Championship Classes with the CFA, but I've sat in on HHP rings, and they're fun. Fergie is sure to win something, with her beautiful calico markings and those blue eyes!

I show in Japan, which is almost exactly like the U.S., but there may be some differences. I know that cage curtains are used in both countries--you can order them over the Internet, or make your own, or use something colorful and cheap like a cotton bedspread/throw from India to cover your cage. In Japan, they sell cage curtains in the show hall, but they're pretty expensive. Do an Internet search and you'll come up with some ideas. The cage cover is to keep your cat from freaking out when it sees other cats, and vice versa.

Re practicing: right now, Harvey is getting rather burned out, and has started hissing at the judges. His big problem seems to be that he hates being put in and out of the judging ring cage and the benching cage so many times. If you have a pet cage at home, you might want to practice putting her in and taking her out. Put the cat in head-first, and take her out hindquarters first; that's the way the judge will do it, so you should get her used to that.

As for grooming...shorhairs are MUCH easier than longhairs, but that doesn't mean that just a swipe with a pet wipe is enough. Fergie has a lot of white, so I second the suggestion of Groomer's Goop(especially on those areas that may be yellowed, like the bottoms of the paws, or greasy areas, like the areas around the jaws and under the armpits). I'm not sure if shorthairs should be fluffed up (using special shampoos/rinses/texturizing sprays) or just left natural. I also don't know about drying--I dry my Maine Coons with a high-power human hair dryer set on low, but that's because I want to increase the volume of the fur. You could check sites on showing breeds with similar kinds of fur--American Shorthairs (not British), perhaps Japanese Bobtails, perhaps Angoras (a real Angora is not as fuzzy as our image of it tends to be). Also, Angoras are usually white, so you might get some whitening hints.

Right now, I've switched to a Japanese shampoo brand that I'm very satisfied with, but for removing the Goop, a mild dish detergent is good. As for a shampoo with whitening effects, I swear by Jerob House of An-Ju's Snowy Blue Shampoo (this is in addition to the dish detergent, a general cleansing shampoo, and a texturizing shampoo, but that's for Maine Coons). For texturizing, I like their texturizer spray. See their site at http://www.angelfire.com/on2/HouseofAnJu/groomingguide.html

As another poster said, after the shampoo and conditioner, rinse, rinse, rinse. For longhaired cats, they say to rinse for over five minutes. A white vinegar rinse can also help to get rid of any residue.

I don't know about drying. If Fergie is sort of fluffy, you might want to use a hair dryer if she will tolerate it. A really shorthaired cat can usually lick themselves dry. As I said, I don't know about shorthaired cat grooming, so check the Internet for information.

The essential grooming tool for a longhaired cat is a metal comb, but I'm not sure about shorthaired cats. Again, it probably depends on what kind of fur your cat has, what kind of effect you're looking for, and what breed it most resembles. For example, I've heard that breeds with super-short fur, like Siamese and Abyssinians, are polished with a chamois cloth so that they shine. I would think that you might want to play up Fergie's fluffiness (at least, she LOOKS fluffy in her photos), so finding a way to enhance that while drying might be a good idea.

HHP judging doesn't have as many rules regarding grooming as would judging for standard breeds, since each HHP is different. Rather, they emphasize a healthy look and outgoing personality (in the Championship and Premiership Classes, a good personality is also a plus, but there are plenty of Grand Champions and Grand Premiers who hiss and try to scratch every time they're judged).

As for relaxation between rings...if she responds to catnip, a catnip toy can be relaxing, as can something with the smell of home. You can also reinforce the idea that "shows are FUN!" by bribing her with her favorite treats and a wand toy to keep her occupied. Harvey just goes into frozen mode during shows, so he refuses to eat even his favorite snack, boiled chicken, but a lot of kitties enjoy eating meals and/or snacks. Also, don't forget a water dish and a portable toilet.

You can find information on the Internet on showing cats--although I think this thread has covered the basics already. I think the CFA (and probably TICA) have explanations on their sites.

If you have any questions, feel free to p-mail me any time.

Good luck, and let us know how you do! Enjoy!


Linus- (Dreamboat- #72a)

So many toys, so- little time.
Purred: Sun Aug 31, '08 6:43pm PST 
I forgot to mention Feliway and lavender are great to take to a show and spritz a little in the cage - they have calming effects. Lots of exhibitors use them.


RESPECT The- Star!
Purred: Mon Sep 1, '08 5:59am PST 
I forgot to give you this link. smile


You will find the HHP people to be very friendly and very
helpful, and you will make new friends. smile


Fergie the Dutchess

kitten kisses!
Purred: Mon Sep 1, '08 10:13am PST 
wonderfull info! I knew a bit about shows before, my great freind Elizabeth shows Cornish Rexes and has taken me to a few shows. I also Showed Miss Tiny in HHP (she wont 2nd place, then pitched a fit in the show ring and got last. she also was horrible about baths)

Yes i plan to show CFA. Some day id like to have a purebred to show. I figuerd HHP is a cheeper and less commiting way to get my feet wet. I live in Michigan, and one of the major cat clubs here just closed, so i need to look for some more.

Where would i get the white shampoo? Ive looked at the pet shops and none around here have anything for cats. Im sorta broke (extra money goes to rescue cats ) so any websites or catalogs where its a good deal would be helpfull.

I also gotta make some cage curtins. any suggestions? i have a sewing machine...

Can people bring cats into the show hall if there not accully showing them? Fergie is 4 months old with her shots and i think it would be good for her to get use to the busy show hall.

Linus- (Dreamboat- #72a)

So many toys, so- little time.
Purred: Tue Sep 2, '08 10:08am PST 
If your local pet stores don't have much for cat shampoo I'd check the internet. Petco, PetSmart, and Foster & Smith have internet sites and often there's a better selection online. You don't have to use a whitening shampoo if you can't find one.

Show curtains... when I was just starting out I used a twin size blanket for my show curtain and it was about the right size. If you sew or know someone who does you can get more elaborate and creative.

Many exhibitors also use Sturdi show shelters I recently got one and love it. It is easier to set up and take down and I personally think they look better than the wire cages. Might be something to think about if you decide to keep showing. Of course many exhibitors still opt to use the wire cages the show provides too.

Edited by author Tue Sep 2, '08 10:21am PST


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