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So you own a Sphynx cat, and you are considering showing it. Will this be a the same as showing any other type of cat, or are cats with no fur somewhat different? Of course they are a different type of cat – but when it comes to showing, things are much the same for all breeds of cat. So you will need to get the schedule for the show, and fill in the entry form. The week before the show you need to bath your cat, and make sure it is clean and has its claws clipped. On show day you need to arrive in good time, put your cat in its pen, and try to ensure it is relaxed and happy. However, there are a few points specific to Sphynx cats when it comes to showing. So let's take a look at them here.
As with every other breed, there is a Standard of Points for the Sphynx, so you could take a look at this and see if your cat seems to measure up. But to be honest, it is often difficult to tell unless you are an expert. Far better to ask a knowledgeable friend, or simply enter your cat in its first show and see what the judge says. More importantly, does your cat have the right temperament for showing? Show cats need to be happy being in a pen all day and being handled by a number of different people, and not all cats enjoy this. But the majority of Sphynxes are happy to be shown. In general, these are friendly cats, highly accepting of new people, and easy to handle. Many of them make excellent show cats. So unless your Sphynx is very different from most of them – and it does happen – you shouldn't have any problems showing it.
Show schedules can be a bit of a nightmare for the beginner! But for many breeds, it is fairly obvious where to find them – there is a section for Siamese, Burmese, Persians, Semi Long Hairs, and so on. But where do you find the Sphynx? There seems to be nothing for hairless cats. Indeed, there isn't, and you will actually find the Sphynx classes in the Foreign Short Hair section. Why is it there, when the first Sphynx appeared in Canada? I have not been able to find this out, but there seem to be a wide variety of cats in this section – Russian Blue, Abyssinian, Cornish and Devon Rex, Korat, and Tonkinese, to name but a few. Anyway, now you know hows to enter your cat in the show.
You have probably already found that your Sphynx cat needs regular bathing to prevent his hairless coat becoming too greasy. Hopefully you have been doing this since he was a kitten, so he will be used to the bath process. But not all Sphynx cats need this. So if you have not been bathing him regularly, you will certainly need to do so for the show. Use a gentle baby shampoo or moisturizing shampoo and rinse thoroughly, especially between the folds of your cat's wrinkles. A pair of washing gloves may help in holding your Sphynx while bathing him, or it can be like trying to hold a slippery eel! Have a soft fluffy towel ready to dry him, but then you can leave him to dry naturally, which will not take very long.
Your cat's ears and eyes will need to be clean, so wipe the corners of his eyes with a soft, damp cloth to remove any discharge. Use a separate area of the cloth for each eye so you don’t run the risk of spreading any infection. Check his ears, and if they look dirty, wipe them out with a cotton ball or soft damp cloth moistened with a 50-50 mixture of cider vinegar and warm water. Avoid using cotton swabs, which can damage the interior of the ear. You will also need to clip his claws before the show, both front and back. It is best to do this just a couple of days before the show, and if you do it earlier, the claws may already have begun to grow back by show day.
You will have very little to do at the show with your Sphynx. While owners of cats with longer hair will be doing a lot of last minute grooming, you will not need to do this. But that is all the more reason to make sure that your Sphynx looks perfect! Take a last minute look at all of him, including eyes, ears, nose, and paws. Clean anything which isn't just right.
Perhaps the main thing you will need to do, particularly on a cold day, is to make sure that your Sphynx is comfortable and is warm enough, since hairless Sphynx cats do feel the cold. Some people say that you should not give your Sphynx extra heat, as it will make him sweat, which is the last thing you want at a show. However, do make sure he has a comfortable blanket (white coloured, as is required at GCCF shows) or a white vet bed. The latter may keep him warmer. Recently many people with shorter haired cat breeds have been using white coloured cat beds with sides to keep out draughts, and this may be a good idea for your Sphynx. It seems to be acceptable by the GCCF, though I have heard nothing official about this.
After that, make sure your cat has water, and enough litter in his litter tray in case he decides to use it, though few cats do this at shows. Once you are sure that your Sphynx is warm and comfortable, you should be able to leave him alone until after the judging.
If you do all of the above, your Sphynx should be quite happy at the show, and maybe by the end of the day you will find he has won a rosette or two. And both of you will have found a lovely new hobby.
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