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.

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