Cheeks & Chin:
Sculpting Them To Look Their Best

BY PATSEY BOWMAN
Patlen Persians

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Sculpting is a bit of an art, but it is something anyone can learn to do... and to do well. It just takes a bit of practice and some time developing an eye for what you want to accomplish. Perhaps the most challenging area of sculpting is creating the perfect cheek and chin on your Persian that looks round and natural.

Start sculpting the face of your show kitten at four or five months of age and continue face plucking throughout their show career. In most cases after the first initial sculpting all you`ll need to do is maintenance plucking - every one or two weeks should keep your cat in great show shape. If this is your first attempt at sculpting you will feel much safer if you practice on a cat you're not showing - a retiree or a pet :-).

I have found that the best way to see which hairs need to come off is by studying a picture. Take pictures of the cat's head and then you can see where and how much more hair you need to take off. My "Model" for this demonstration is CH Patlen's N Cahoots, a blue and white van male Persian.

Start with your kitten/cat freshly bathed. Using a face comb, comb the cheek hair so you can see what your working with. Always keep in mind the rounded shape you are going for while you sculpt. The idea is to make the face and head look round, round, round.

The picture of Cahoots shows the shape your wanting to achieve.

Use your cat/kittens outside corner of his eye and make an imaginary line down as your dotted line. Now draw the green "smile" line following the natural curve of his top lip out to his cheek.

Any face hair that falls below the solid green line is hair you want to remove with the sculpting knife. Then use your fingers to pluck and sculpt above that line for a naturally feathered look.

The dotted line shows where you should stop plucking. Don't sculpt any hair beyond the dotted line or you risk having the head look like it has been pasted onto the neck. It creates an artificial look..

Some cats have a lot of hair hanging off their cheeks, that`s where the sculpting knife comes in handy.

Use the face sculpting knife to take off the excess hair on the cheeks until you get the rounded shape your going for.


A Typical Stripping Knife
To use a stripping knife, hold it firmly in your hand, with your thumb placed on the blade portion as shown. Working on a few hairs at a time, the knife can be used to pull hair out by the roots or to cut the hairs in a natural manner - it all depends on the angle the knife is held at against the hairs. It is a difficult technique to describe but an easy technique to learn :-)

Using the Stripping Knife to remove Hair

Stripping knives are available at any company selling dog grooming products including Revival, Omaha Vaccine, Cherrybrook, etc. Stripping knives come in different styles. Choose a fine toothed knife in a style that fits well in your hand.

Once you have used the stripping knife to shorten the long hairs it is now time to use your fingers. Pluck and shape the cheeks until they look feathered and natural. When plucking you should only take a few hairs at a time. You might want to pluck a little hair under the chin if it looks scruffy. You can also use blunt end scissors to trim up the chin hair if it looks too long. You want the chin to look smooth, round and strong. When working on your cat's face try not to cut off the whiskers.

Always keep looking at the over-all picture of your cat's face to make sure you like your results.

You don't want to take off too much hair at one time. It's better to start out slow and take as much hair as you feel comfortable with at first. You can always take off more later but you sure can't put it back once it's gone.


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