31 January 2019

Grooming the Furry Beast!

Getting A British Longhair Ready for Showing

The British Longhair Cat is an easy-going cat as a breed they like to be brushed and groomed. While they are good at grooming their own coat to keep it clean, it tends to get knotted and matted especially if they have access outside to wet weather conditions.

It’s a weekly commitment all year round!
They do not need to be excessively groomed but once a week is advisable to keep on top of little nodules of knots which then felt together into tight large and hard mats along the body.…so keep feeling for the little knots and combe them out.

Their coat should be combed regularity to get rid of old and dead hairs, the dense undercoat often needs combing out. Then a soft brush to smooth over and it acts like the tongue of a cat grooming, making an enjoyable experience for the cat.

For happy groomed cats, starting young and making it relax like a mother would groom her kitten, turns it into bonding time… - ours jump on the table when we start grooming and sit around waiting for a tickle of a comb or brush.

THE COAT
The Angora fur
The Angora type coats are disposed to matting like felt they are whispier and longer – we would recommend that the underbelly fur is scissor thinned a little - during autumn and winter months when their coats are fuller, this also prevents when they are moulting for the hair to be left on most surfaces and clothing. It is unnoticeable to the eye but helps keep the knots away!

The Long Silky fur
An all-around easier coat to handle, while still prone to knotting in the flank areas and behind the ears, it is a free-flowing coat that is mid-length.

When to Clip Away
We strongly advise that no knots or matted fur should be clipped away - NOT cut away with scissors - as often the skin is too close to the fur and in cats, their skin is extremely thin. We would use a combe to separate the knot from the skin (leaving the comb as a protective guard in situ and then cut with scissors. It takes 6-9months for the fur to fully grow back – so know the show date and count back before taking the clippers out!

Under Arm & Flanks
Special attention should be made between the four leg flanks, as the underarms and flanks are areas that always are prone to more knotting and so we tend to thin the hair with thinning scissors months before the show. Keep in mind it takes 6-9months for the fur to fully grow back – so a little trim will help keep knots away and will not be visible to the eye.   

Ears, Eyes & Nose
Ears and nose should be clean and no residue visible. We use fragrance-free baby wipes and kitchen roll to clean them.

The British Longhair has rounded ears, any long pointing hair on the tips of the ears should be 'plucked' away - leaving a nice rounded ear. Look for the shorter ear hair and pinch away what is above that =making a point. (pinch the tip of the ear with one hand and the other using your thumb against your index finger pluck out the thin hair.)

The eyes are more delicate, we never use our bare fingers as this can bring germs, use Kleenex tissue paper.

Claws
Always trim the claws a few days before the show. We use human nail clippers but cat nail clippers with safety length are also practical. 

The Private Delicate Posterior
A good wash a week before the show – should help keep this area clean and fragrant free.
Talc it on the day of the show and it will ensure a fresh fragrance.

What not to do – EVER
Use scissors to cut away knots that are close to the skin.
Shampoo a cat the day before the show...the natural oils don't have time to come back.
Get frustrated – take a break and come back to the cat in a better frame of mind.
Sprinkle talc on the fur and get it wet or let the cat go outside in the rain – talc can set firm and hard when wet.

Remember your cat is your friend and maintaining that friendship is more important than the Show itself.

Wash or not to wash- that is the question

We try not to wash - active boys over a year will be smelly... we tend to wash their bottoms and tail hair. Sometimes a dip in warm water with a bit of cat shampoo mixed in does the trick.

The Grooming Kit
In a grooming kit, we would recommend:

  • a metal comb
  • a soft hogs hair brush
  • hand glove
  • a slicker brush
  • a furminator
  • scissors
  • longhair cat clippers
  • Baby wipes and a box of Kleenex
  • Talc
  • Nail Clippers