Thursday, May 10, 2012


Because the Helki has a "new" fur type its been an experimental game trying to find the best way to groom their fur. When the kittens go to their forever homes, basic grooming questions are asked, so I felt that it would be a great way to write what I know, so far.

A Helki while it looks like a short hair cat is really more of a medium hair. The undercoat is thick and while it sheds it is rare that you will notice much fur comnig off of your cat. The coat holds the dead fur in as filling and insulation. For this reason I think it is good practice to comb a Helki coat out once or twice a month. Dead fur tends to also dull the coat and keep the skins natural oils from spreading through out the coat. A groomed Helki will still show the plaited/scaled look with a glimmering shine.

At home I use a Furminator to do most of my grooming. Nothing else seems to get deep enough into the coat. Most people don't bathe their cats, I do bathe mine for shows. About a week before a show I will clip nails, clean ears, comb the fur, and bathe the cat. The best products for bathing a Helki are oatmeal based. I will often times take a packet of dry oatmeal powder and rub that through the fur. Then a quick rinse with hot water. Then a shampoo of a moisturizing shampoo. I have yet to find a product that compares to Garnier moisturizing shampoo. I have even tried Focus 21 Sea Plasma Shampoo and not felt that I got as good of results. After the shampoo and rinse I towel dry the cat and then let them air dry. This can take a while depending on the thickness of the coat.

I have learned some great tricks for the showhall from a Chartruex breeder that seems to work for the Helki as well. First off you should know that the Helki coat is longer then the Chartruex, so if you are familiar with these techniques then please do it sparingly until you get into a comfortable place with the grooming of your individual Helki. So here it is, the simple trick to a quick Helki groom is to bring several washcloths, dampen one and run it through the Helki coat backwards. I also will spritz the coat with texturizer and sea plasma always from the back of the cat forward, so that the spritz gets into the coat and doesn't just lay on the top. Currently I only do this a few times through out the day of a show, as I don't need to have the cat in front of a judge, but I like to be as prepared as much as possible. When doing this I also try to make sure the cat is not damp when being petted by others.

At home I always do the best I can to give the cats a great diet. I prefer to feed them some raw as well as commercial food. The Helki is a cat that loves fish, in the same way an Oriental Shorthair loves poultry. I am the type that believes that human or animal we crave what we need. So I do like to put some Salmon oil in their commercial food once or twice a month.

Moulting is definitely something that happens with the Helki. There is normal seasonal moult that is easily handled if you are maintaining a good grooming schedule. Then there are moults I've seen at different stages of life. These are a bit more dramatic. Kittens usually moult between 4-6 months old. What you will notice is a once full fluffy coat is now a bit coarse and flat. This usually grows back with in two to three months. The next major moult happens around a year to a year and a half of age. Females at this age can drop most of their coat during this moult. Leaving them with only a some fur along their spine and tail. Males lose less coat but I have seen some neuters at this stage look like the females. Most males at this age will not lose much and it will be even less noticeable then the kitten moult. Some however will lose fur at the base of the tail and buttocks, any pantaloons will moult, a naked patch on each side of the belly, and some fur on the head and jowls. This moult also takes a bit longer for them to grow the fur back. Some never do grow back all their coat, but those are not to be used for breeding. Now I know breeders might be freaking out because some people would have already bred a cat by a year. The Helki female rarely goes into any major heat until she reaches a year and a half. So it is a bit easier to tell who you will want to breed that way. After this major life changing moult, most other moulting is routine and you better understand the moulting cycles of your individual cat.

So far that is what I have learned from this breed and I will update this article when any new and helpful information is found.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Of Discrepancies, Disdain, and Determination

About a week ago a friend said to me that she had read everything she could find on the Helki and that she loved the breed, which is always a good way to make one feel warm and fuzzy. It wasn't until a few days later that I wondered if she had read the blog, or the website, or my Facebook. I didn't really connect all the dots until this morning when a light bulb came on and I realized how scattered the information on the Helki breed is. I post a lot of updates on my Facebook page. I even have a whole photo folder on Helki fur pics. That's when it hit me. Not all the info is in the same place. Then there are some sources out there that I really need to encourage updates on. While any publicity is good publicity, I think that embellishments can turn people away. I have always felt that stark honesty is the best policy, even when its burned me to the core, but I will get to that in a little bit. The discrepancies and scattered info are my fault. Not correcting the embellishments, is also my fault. On a quick side note, I do think some of the embellishments are a probably because I am a wordy person and I was not familiar with cat fancy terminology when I was attempting to describe what I was seeing and experiencing with the Helki fur.

Oh the disdain I have! Anger and frustration. I pissed off a group of people that decided, if I wasn't going to do what they wanted me to do, they would make sure to put on a full blown smear campaign. Thankfully I have had a lot of very influential people holding me up from the beginning with the Helki. They stood up for me behind the scenes and have been there to prop me up again through this entire mess. Again all I can say for certain is that I should have been more cautious with who I was doing deals with and I should have stood up for myself in the beginning and I should have backed out at the very moment I realized that things weren't as they seemed. It also lead to a few people telling me exactly what they thought of the Helki breed, most of which told me that they didn't think I had anything worth working toward. I had everyday see 'em on the street cats with nothing interesting about their coats. They said I needed to get a grip and move on. At first I was discouraged and dumbfounded. I felt I had posted lots of proof. I've taken enough pictures to make photographers sick. I've been honest, insightful, and have asked people to be ho
nest with me every step of the way.

A funny thing happens when people like me get angry. No even though I was quiet, I wasn't hiding in the corner shivering in fear. I was calculating what to do in order to help my breed, what I could do to prove naysayers wrong. The anger turns to motivation and determination to see this through to the end. There are some things that I really need to do, like taking Dr. Lyons up on her offer to see the Helki at UC Davis. There are some things I've done like increase the amount of fur pics posted on Facebook, and letting more people handle and see the breed. There are also the other things that are more exciting like, breeding and showing that I have all in the works for the new show season. Amazingly enough I've had more people interested in getting kittens as pets, and a few breeders interested in promoting the breed. It looks like this is going to be a very interesting and auspicious year for the Helki.