It's Bath Time!
by Cyndee Gause
One of the biggest myths about the Sphynx is that they are a breeze to take care of. A simple rub down with a baby wipe and they are ready to go. Due to a lack of hair, many think this should make them much easier to get ready for the show. Ask any Sphynx exhibitor and they will tell you this is simply not true.
Judges want to see clean Sphynx on their tables. This includes nails, ears, eyes, mouth, hind-ends and clean, clear skin.
This issue‘s grooming topic is going to focus mainly on some ideas for that perfect ―show bath to ensure your cat looks its best on show day. It‘s good to start thinking about the grooming steps you want to have in place at least one week prior to the show.
I like to do a thorough ear and nail cleaning sev-eral days prior with daily checks to remove any newly accumulated dirt and oil. This prevents last minute stress to the cat and also irritation to their ears (which can cause the cat to hold them funny). A mild ear cleaner, baby wipes & q-tips (being careful not to go too deep) will work well in cleaning the ears. Make-up & Facial cleaning cloths are great on getting grease off the nails. For those tough spots, a little nail scraping might be needed.
Now, before you actually bathe your Sphynx , it‘s good to remember you are dealing with skin, not fur. Just like people, each Sphynx has its own unique skin texture. Some Sphynx are more naked and produce more oils, some get dry, flaky skin, while others seem to never get dirty. Finding what works for your cat is the key in having a great complexion for the show.
Some things are obvious - you will not want to bathe your Sphynx in Dawn dish detergent like some do with Persians! This will not only strip all the natu-ral oils off your Sphynx, but it will cause their skin to go into overdrive and produce even more oil, which will cause a ―browning effect and your newly bathed Sphynx will appear ―dirty within a few hours, often before the show is over.
We all have our different routines to keep our skin healthy and the same can be said for our Sphynx too. Over-bathing your Sphynx can have the same nega-tive reaction as not bathing your Sphynx enough. Balance is the key to finding what works best for each cat‘s skin.
It is recommended that you bathe your Sphynx either the night before or morning of the show. Sometimes both! Make sure you clean all the areas that can collect dirt and oil, especially the feet and deep wrinkles. If you have a ―high white Sphynx with stained feet, you might try a ―whitening‖ sham-poo to help brighten those dingy toes! Some people use a light exfoliating washcloth or glove to help get the tough spots clean.
For those Sphynx that tend to be ultra bald or have dry skin, I also recommend following up your show bath with a ―lotion or oil bath. Just like your face and hands, keeping the skin hydrated and moisturized can keep it from getting dry & flakey. Personally, I like to use a light vitamin E based lotion (scent free if possible) and rub it in very well all over the body. Not only do the cats enjoy this all over body massage, but it also leaves their skin feeling hydrated and clean. For those cats that are prone to super oily or dry skin, you may want to make this part of your weekly home routine. Once you have your Sphynx bathed and cleaned, do a double check on their ears, toes, hind-end and mouth to insure no new dirt or oil is present. It is always good to do this same check before putting your Sphynx into the judging ring.
Showing cats is like having a baby and accidents can and will happen. Have these things on hand just in case you need to freshen up your cat at the show hall:
Baby wipes, Q-tips, cotton balls/pads, paper tow-els, lotion & waterless pet shampoo (for those stinky emergencies).
Shampoos, lotions, oils and ear cleaning products that you can try:
St. Ives Vitamin E lotion
Burt‘s Bee‘s Carrot Day Cream lotion
Avon Skin So Soft
Oil of Olay facial Wipes
Almay makeup removal pads – great for nails
Ponds Facial Wipes – great for nails
Drs. Foster & Smith Oatmeal Shampoo
Aloe and Oatmeal Shampoo – most Vet offices carry a ver-sion of this and it‘s very mild and gentle on their skin.
Baby Shampoo – some people swear by Baby shampoo and find it very mild to the skin and easy on the eyes.
Whitening Shampoos – you can pick these up at most shows from a vendor and they do work well in brightening a ―high-white cat. Make sure you do an allergy test though, as some Sphynx are sensitive to the brightening agents in the shampoo.
Drs. Foster & Smith Ear Cleanse pads
Stridex pads with Aloe – good for nails and stud tail
Drs. Foster & Smith Dental & Eye pads
Zymox ear cleaner
Héry Laboratoires "Soin des Oreilles" (Care of the Ears)
Virbac Epi-Otic - ear cleaner
Handmade Soaps – there are several Sphynx breeders that make their own soaps and cleaners and will sell them to other Sphynx owners.
(As with any topical application, we recommend that you do an al-lergy test a few weeks prior to the show to make sure your cat does not have).
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