You might think that showing Siamese cats would be pretty much the same as showing any other breed of cat. And there is quite a lot of information around on that, on this site and on others. So is there anything which is different about Siamese cats when it comes to cat shows and show preparation?
Basically, you are correct in thinking things are very much the same. The main points – filling in the entry form, preparing your cat before the show, vetting in, and settling your cat in its pen at the show – are all very similar. But a few things are unique to Siamese cats, or nearly so. Let's take a look at these...
You may have noticed that many modern Siamese cats look somewhat different from those of, say, 50 years ago. The recent ones are much thinner and more elongated, with pointed heads and enormous ears, while the original Siamese were much sturdier and more rounded. This long, elegant look is what is wanted for showing these days, as you will see if you look at the Standard of Points for Siamese cats. Some people do not like this look, and have been breeding what is referred to as 'Traditional Siamese' or 'Applehead Siamese'. Lovely as these are, they are generally not suitable for showing, although it is possible to find shows specifically for Traditional Siamese. So if you want to show at GCCF shows, you do need to make sure that your Siamese is of the right type. You also need to ensure that your Siamese cat does not have any white, or other colours which are not acceptable as part of the show standard. In short, it is a good idea to get a copy of the Standard of Points and/or talk to a person who knows about showing Siamese cats, before you take your cat to its first show.
Siamese cats have short hair, and you might think that not a lot of show preparation would be required. When compared with long haired cats such as the Persian, you would be right. But this does not mean that you can skimp on show preparation. A cat show is like a beauty contest for cats, and however much your cat conforms to the Standard of Points in type, it will lose marks if it is not beautifully prepared. Your Siamese cat should have a lovely glossy coat, and acquiring this starts with making sure that he or she is fed a nutritious diet and groomed regularly, not just before a show.
The week before the show you need to bath your cat, then groom her thoroughly. Use a grooming glove to remove the loose hairs which short haired breeds are prone to, and to promote a lovely glossy sheen. You then need to clip all your cats claws, both front and back. You also need to check and clean her eyes, ears, nose, and rear end, thoroughly.
Some experts recommend that Siamese cats (and also Burmese) are given a bran bath two days before a show, as this removes dirt and excess grease, and makes the coat gleam. To give a bran bath, six ounces of plain bran should be warmed thoroughly in a moderate oven. The bran should then be rubbed with your fingers against the natural growth direction of the coat, left on for a few minutes, then gently brushed out with a slicker wire brush. You might like to try this to see how it suits your cat's coat.
Don't you do most of this for all show cats? Yes, you do, but in some ways it is even more important for a generally low maintenance cat like a Siamese. Because it is not difficult to prepare a Siamese cat, judges will expect your cat to be beautifully groomed and cleaned, almost without a hair out of place. So you need to make sure that is the case.
Siamese cats can enjoy being shown, since they are friendly, vocal, and people-oriented. Often described as being dog-like, your Siamese cat may love being shown, relating to judges and the public in much the same way as a dog would.
On the other hand, Siamese are also very sensitive, and if your Siamese is unhappy, she will certainly let your know it. Later on in the day during a show, when less vocal and sensitive breeds show that they have had enough by merely going to sleep in their pens, the Siamese section can be a chorus of loud wails. In this area, numerous cats are letting everyone know that they think this has been going on far too long and they'd like to go home, now!
This means that, perhaps more than with any other breed, you need to think about how to keep your Siamese happy and relaxed during the long show day. Some Siamese owners do this by hanging up extra white show blankets on one side of the pen, or in the shape of a hammock, so that the Siamese cat has a safe, private place to go. Of course you cannot do this during judging, but it is fine to rig up something like this after the main judging has finished. Recently, some owners have begun giving their cats igloo-type beds made out of white show blanket material, and this seems to be acceptable at GCCF shows, though I have heard nothing official on the subject. Again, Siamese cats in particular seem to like this addition, so it may be worth trying.
Not all cats are the same when it comes to showing. Siamese cats in particular are unique in a number of ways, and need to be treated a little differently when it comes to showing them. Hopefully some of the suggestions above will be useful, and will enable you to show your cat successfully. Good luck!
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