Hair IN cycles 2.68a

I am very new to blender having only discovered it in july this year. I have spent most of my free time in the last two months learning how to use it from “Blender Masterclass” book and the myriad of fantastic tutorials on the web. I have managed to resolve most of the problems I’ve had from these sources. However I have now got to the point where I really have to ask someone!
I am trying to make an animated cat. I started this by copying a background image (side profile) into a “plane” deleting three of the vertices and then tracing the outline. I then extruded this and used a mirror mod. I then used a front view and between the two have created a passable Mesh / object. Having applied the Mirror Mod I now want to give it some hair! I started with the particles button changed to “experimental” and set hair length, size, strength etc this ultimately gave me hair coming mostly from areas that have small faces close together like joints and not a lot from faces that were much larger, with a few “children” added my cat looks like one of those classic poodle cuts!!!. (my PC is six core 3.3ghz) doing this seemed to almost stop it in its tracks! So I thought I would try a few faces at a time. THis resulted in better hair distribution but although I had selected the faces opposite each other on either side of the cat the hair was very long on one side and almost non existent on the other. When I run the animation the hair falls nicely… but its all INSIDE the cat… fur balls…
Did I do wrong by starting with a “plane”
am i trying to make too much hair in on go?
If i practice this on a sphere with a vertex group it seems to be fine.
I feel sure that there is a simple answer but I cant find it!
any advice greatly appreciated. ( I grow flowers for a living so simple language please)
Best wishes

Try recalculating your normals / check your normals.

thanks for that. I gave it a quick try, it seems to have done the trick.