Showing all cat breeds is basically very similar. No matter what type of cat you are showing, you need to prepare well in advance, by getting the show schedule, filling in the entry form, and making sure your cat's vaccinations are up to date. Then later on, the week before the show, you will need to bath your cat, clip its claws, and make sure its ears and eyes are clean. The day before the show you need to prepare everything, and then on Show Day you take your cat to the show itself. There are articles on this site which explain all this in a bit more detail, and which you might find helpful.
However, all breeds are slightly different, and you probably want to know just what you should do for your type of cat. So here we take a look at the ways in which Persian cats differ from others when it comes to showing.
Firstly, you need to have a cat which will enjoy being shown, not one which is nervous or aggressive. In this case, you probably have the ideal breed. Most Persian cats are laidback, friendly, and not easily upset. So unless you have one whose temperament is very untypical of the breed – and this does happen – this isn't something you really need to worry about too much.
The other issue you need to consider is the look of your Persian cat. For every breed there is a Standard of Points, which lays out exactly how the cat should look. It is worth having a glance at this; you will find a copy on the GCCF website, or the website of other cat registries if you are going to a TICA show, for example. It is difficult for novices to follow the details, and you don't need to worry too much, except for major 'faults'. For example, a friend once sold me a Persian kitten cheap because “his fur is too short, his legs too long, and his face isn't flat enough; he'll never make a show cat”. It was obvious even to me that, while he was gorgeous, my kitten didn't look like those which were winning at shows. So it might be an idea to look at some pictures of prize winning cats, to get an idea of what judges will be looking for. And if you have bought a kitten described as a 'Traditional' or 'Doll-faced' Persian, bear in mind that, lovely as these cats are to look at, they are not what is being sought by today's cat show judges.
However, let's assume that your Persian cat is suitable for showing. What next?
Although most cats benefit from being bathed before a show, there are some shorthaired breeds for which you can omit this, particularly if the individual cat hates it. Unfortunately the Persian is not one of these. For this long haired breed, a bath is mandatory. In fact, you would be well advised to get your Persian kitten used to baths from a young age. You will probably want to bath your cat a couple of days before the show, but you may need to find out what is the best time for your individual cat. Some people prefer to bath cats a little earlier to give the fur time to settle down; others leave it until the day before the show. You will also want to try out different shampoos, to see what works best for your cat.
Persians have very flat faces, and many of them tend to get blocked tear ducts. So cleaning their eyes is especially important. You may find that wiping gently with warm water works best, or there are a number of special eye cleaning products on the market, so find out which is best for your cat. You will also need to clean your cat's ears, and ensure that its nose is clean.
Again, this is an area which can be skipped or done quickly for some breeds, but not for a Persian. Thorough grooming is mandatory, and could make the difference between a prize winning cat and one which the judges pass over. I have even heard of awards being withheld for poor grooming!
Again, you should have got your kitten used to being groomed from a young age, so that he or she is not fazed by the thorough grooming needed for a show. The grooming implement you use is important. Many Persian owners recommend a wide toothed comb, and some prefer that to a slicker brush. Others use both of these tools. Either way, little and often is the rule, so start well before the show, to ensure that your cat doesn't develop any knots and mats. If any have developed, it is best to get rid of these before bathing, and tease them out with your fingers rather than trying to cut them out with scissors.
You will also need to cut your cat's claws before the show. You need to take the tips off both front and back claws. This may well be checked at 'vetting in', so don't omit this step, even if you know that your gentle Persian would never scratch anyone!
If you have worked hard at all the above, all you will need to do on the day of the show is a little last minute grooming, plus a thorough check of your cat's eyes and ears. You will then be ready to go to the show with your cat. When you arrive and are vetted in, take your cat to his pen, and settle him in. Do a little final grooming to fluff up his gorgeous long coat if you need to, and then leave him alone. Resist the impulse to keep fussing with your cat and trying to make him look even more perfect, even if other competitors are doing this. Too much messing about at this stage can annoy even the most relaxed and tranquil cat. So let him settle down and wait for the judging.
Here's hoping that all your hard work will have paid off, and you will come back to find that your cat has been awarded a rosette, or even more than one! And he could even be well on the way to becoming a well known show cat.