The Japanese Bobtail is easily groomed for the show ring. First, clip the claws on all paws, and clean the ears. You will want to trim the hair out of the ears to make them look as large as possible. A battery-powered mustache trimmer is about the right size, and easily acquired in any drug store. Alternatively, you can use a pair of small, sharp, curved scissors with safety points, but the clipper is both easier and, we think, safer to use. The bath is, we think, fairly standard for shorthairs. Used fabric-softener sheets (the sort that go in your dryer) are good to rub over the coat just before you go up into a ring, both for anti-static and softening properties. Anti-static coat gloss sprays work just as well, though. (We like Ring 5's.)

Now you are ready for the bath. Both shorthair and semi-longhair Bobtails have remarkably water-resistant coats (as one would expect from a natural breed), making them rather difficult to get wet. Try starting with a sinkful of warm water with a little Woolite in it, and play "dunk the cat" (only up to the neck, please). For a particularly greasy cat (especially a semi-longhair), use Goop or D&L on the dry fur first, behind the ears, around the ruff, and on the long fur on the belly and breeches. Then work in the Woolite and water solution and rub well. Then drain the soapy water from the sink and rinse well. The first real lathering is generally with our favorite flea shampoo. The second is with our favorite color-enhancing shampoo -- we like F1R2's "Snowburst", especially for those white feet and hocks.

Ninety percent of a good bath is RINSING WELL. If you don't have a spraying attachment on your sink or bathtub, use a couple of quart bowls, or a pitcher, and pour water over the cat until it comes off as clean as it went on. Don't neglect the belly and between the legs -- soap left on the coat is itchy and makes it look dull. To make really sure that the cat is rinsed, add a quarter-cup of white vinegar to a quart of water and rinse some more.

Bobtails are easy to dry. What we customarily do is squeegee as much water as possible off the coat with our hands, then wrap the cat in a towel. (This is a good time for cuddling and reassurance.) After we've gotten as much water off the cat as we can, we then put the cat into a carrier and point a blow drier (on a stand--also available from most drug stores) into the front from about 18 inches away. Ten or fifteen minutes of this will have most cats three-quarters dry. Comb them out (especially important with a longhair), then let them go.

Return to the Japanese Bobtail FAQ.

Jean Marie Diaz //
Last modified: Sat Jun 26 18:45:17 PDT 1999