By Debbi Stevenson

Siamese cats require subtle grooming, rather than an intensive effort. Being both extremely shorthaired and of a long elegant style, grooming is used sparingly to enhance the characteristics, rather than to camouflage.

Most of the showy characteristics of the Siamese come from breedingand conditioning. Long slender legs and a tubular body, the large ears, chiseled wedge, violet-blue eyes and striking
color pattern are the result of breeding, not grooming. A hard sleek physic and a short glossy coat come from proper diet, exercise and inheritance. However there are certain things that breeders can do to emphasis and enhance these natural

One of the areas that lend themselves to grooming is the ears. Siamese are most dramatic when their ears are large and exaggerated. Trimming the hair inside of the ear will help to enhance the size. This must be done carefully with a blunt end pair of scissors, or a safety razor. All that is required is to remove the longest hairs, leaving a very short length of hair for the most natural look.

Many exhibitors also trim other body areas of the cat, including long hairs on the belly, legs and flanks to emphasize the elegance of the breed. Thick hair can also be found on the profile between the eyes, and this can be reduced by using thinning shears, giving a flatter appearance to the profile.

Bathing is done "as needed" with this breed. Many Siamese show cats never need a bath. Others, particularly males, may need to be bathed once a week.

GC Shimasu's Play It Again of Bel Canto, DM
Seal Point Male

Usually they will be bathed at the beginning of the week so that the coat has a chance to reclaim its natural oils without the heavy feel that an unwashed coat can have. The preferred shampoos are usually of the human variety; anything that will make the coat lay smoothly without fluffing up.

Another option to bathing is a dry bath of baby cornstarch, given the night before a show. In this case the exhibitor will rub the cornstarch into the coat down to the roots, and allow it to work its way through the coat on its own. On the day of the show, the cornstarch is brushed out. This will remove most of the loose hair and extra oil in the coat, but still leave it with enough texture that it will lie nicely for the show.

Brushing of the Siamese must bedone sparingly, as too much brushing can damaged the color of the coat. One technique for removing loose hair is to dampen your hands and rub them backwards in the cat's coat. This will remove loose hair without damaging the new coat.

The most popular grooming item for brushing is a small rubber brush that can be bought at most pet stores. If this is used carefully once a week during the spring and less often at other times of the year, it can also safely remove dead hair without damage to the coat.

A stripping comb can also be used sparingly to remove the thicker hair on a Siamese, such as the kind a male will develop under his jowls. A stripping comb must be used very carefully as it is easy to remove too much coat so that skin shows through and the coat is damaged. It is recommended that the stripping comb be used for a short period of time every other day until the correct look is obtained, in order to prevent overuse.

Breeders also use a variety of products to enhance the look of the coat. These range from witch hazel and bay rum to professional grooming coat conditioners. Most exhibitors find that what worked on one cat does not help another, so finding the perfect product for this year's Siamese show cat can be a challenge.

The key to successful grooming of the Siamese show cat is to always keep in mind that less is the best way to achieve the objective of presenting the cat in its fullest beauty. Using the above tips will help each Siamese breeder to present their cats to its fullest potential, emphasizing the drama and elegance of the breed by letting the natural characteristics shine through.

Photo Credits: Chanan



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