Pampered cats and dogs preened beyond recognition have been competing at an extreme grooming competition in New Jersey.
The animals have been moulded, sprayed and coloured to fit themes including Scooby Doo, Popeye and Peter Pan.
They are meticulously sculpted with scissors � hair spray .. glitter � and lots of different coloured hair dyes.
Some call it "Extreme Grooming," but inside this New Jersey hotel conference room the cat contest is called "Feline Fantasy" and the dog competition is called the "Creative Styling Challenge."
The contest is open only to professional pet groomers and is held each year by a pet grooming group called Intergroom.
Teri DiMarino, who helps run the show for Intergroom, says it's the biggest extreme grooming show in the world, and the only one that features cats in addition to dogs:
"Most of the groomers that you see in here do have a dog show habit. They do show their dogs. They do sport with their dogs. They own grooming salons to pay for that sport because it's an expensive hobby. But do I see it in the industry, in the pet-grooming industry, this is already as big as Westminster."
This year's dog winner is Paisley, a female White Poodle, decorated to the theme Wild Wild West.
On one side of the poodle, owner Cindy Oliver, a pet groomer from Cleveland, Tennessee sculpted a cowboy and a buffalo, on the other side a cactus and a horse, and on her head an armadillo.
"It takes like 20 to 30 hours and then you do it in two hour sessions and whenever you have multiple shows, I mean it's about twelve hours of re-dying, and re-grooming, and all that," says Oliver.
The winning cat this year was a rescued stray Siamese, who was captured after she became trapped in an air duct at a restaurant. Her owner styled an ornate series of flowers and hearts scissored and coloured into the hair on her back.
She is owned and groomed by professional groomer Angela Kumpe of Little Rock, Arkansas, who has named the cat Martini.
"What I do is I cut her down and then I draw on the pattern with a marker and then the dye, this all Avatar and Manic Panic (hair dye and blow pen), which are very safe human products and then when it grows out a little bit we carve around the edges and then for finishing touches we add some rhinestones and earrings to her here at the show with a little bit of Dove, non-toxic glue," says Kumpe.
Kumpe says she knew Martini was a prize-winning cat as soon as she saw her.
"She was actually found in some duct work, she was a rescue cat at a local restaurant and she was about three weeks old and getting bottle fed and I went to the vet clinic and picked her out and I dyed her hot pink when she was about three weeks old and took tabs on her."
The judge, Dina Perry, says Martini was the obvious winner.
"It was the detail. The absolute detail, the colour," says Perry. "I don't think I've ever seen anything so beautiful on a cat as that detail was on that."
The second place winner was a domestic shorthair cat decorated like Chester Cheetah Cheeto.
Third place winner was a Himalayan cat styled to look like a lion named Hima Lion.
His lower back was styled to look like a lion face and a lion mane was cut and coloured around his face.
"I used semi-permanent kiss express for the brown and then did some air brushing for the detail in the face," says owner and groomer Angela Menard from Toronto, Ontario.
Some have criticised extreme grooming as being bad for animals, but DiMarino says the pets enjoy the attention:
She adds that the safety and welfare of the animals is a priority.
Most of the dogs are Standard or Mini Poodles, because their hair grows long enough to style.
The cats are mostly mixed breed domestic shorthair and longhair cats.
You can license this story through AP Archive: http://www.aparchive.com/metadata/youtube/86a1344359a78929d1e8fda415490aca
Find out more about AP Archive: http://www.aparchive.com/HowWeWork