Face Sculpting the Persian Head for Show ~ by Diane Castor
Sculpting the face on a Persian is an art form. There are some terrific exhibitors that are the tops. Ann Sones of Myshadows, Darlene Feger of Kitty Charm and Tia Steiner of Teah's to mention a few. These three women never present a cat that isn't just perfection. Like a beautiful woman, a beautiful cat needs the subtle hand of the master, cosmetologist. Every hair in it's place without looking artificial.
Many Judges will confirm the look, while others believe it is over done. If a Judge tells you the sculpting is over done, it probably is. I find that some exhibitors shave the fur on their cat's faces to give a smooth and polished look. I wonder how they would look without eye brows or eye lashes!
The right equipment is a must. Do not buy cheap scissors. Buy the finest curved small scissors and thinning shears you can. The object of sculpting the Persian head is to achieve a round look. This is what the standard calls for and this is the optical illusion you wish to present to the Judges.
Select a site that is comfortable height for you and is well lighted. You do not want the light behind you as this causes a shadow. Natural light in front on a sunny day works well. Place your animal on a color contrasting surface. The reason for this is simple. You will be working on the cat from behind and will need to look down over the cat's head to see just what and how much hair needs trimming. If the cat is white on a white surface, one cannot see where to cut.
So first round the ears with a curved, blunt scissors. If the ears are pointed, don't follow the line, but make your own outline that appears most round. This is an optical illusion.
Next trim the hair above the eyes that if brushed downward would cover the eye. Cut with the grain. (from time to time, use a sterile eye wash to rid the eyes of snippets of hair)
Now take a pair of fine thinning shears. Standing behind the animal, take a fine comb and starting just above the eyes, comb downward. Some hair will be longer or shorter on the animal. Trim evenly making sure you do not cut off eye brows. I continue doing this until I reach the top head.
Often times there are "horns" by the sides of the ears. Keeping in mind the optical illusion of roundness, taper with the thinning shear from the sides of the ears and up. Somewhat of a graph in nature.
If the kitten or cat's have "Mutton chops", that's hair at the cheeks that protrudes unevenly, this can be plucked out gently until a round cheek is achieved. Over the noses of some Persians, the hair grows to a "V". With the curved scissors, nip the point until the nose now appears round.
Some tricks are a little too difficult to explain, for instance, a cat that may be labeled "Muzzly", can be smoothed out somewhat with the proper delicate cutting of hair in the muzzle to flatten and give a smooth look. This is not something one should try just before a show. It might take several tries to nip each hair without cutting the whiskers off.
I would strongly suggest that one try these scissoring tricks on the House hold pet Persians first until one gets a handle on sculpting. Remember that the Best Cats in the world didn't achieve this status over night. Their careers began long before they ever entered the Show Ring.