All About Sphynx Cats

all about sphynx cats

One of the good things about sphynx cats is they don’t shed much hair. In fact some are completely hairless! However, don’t let their odd appearance put you off, as sphynx cats are very endearing.

In this post you’ll discover all about sphynx cats, and if this is the right breed for you. You’ll find all about their personality traits, and if they’re good with children and other pets. Plus, what coat colours and patterns can you expect to find. Note that not all sphynx cats are totally hairless, and some have fine, soft, downy fur that cover their body. In addition, find out if this breed are prone to any specific health problems, as well as caring for your sphynx.

How the sphynx cat evolved

Contrary to popular belief, sphynx cats aren’t a throw back to ancient Egypt. Many people think of Pharos and pyramids whenever they think of the sphynx. However those tall elegant cats of times long past couldn’t be more different from the modern day sphynx.

In fact the sphynx is the result of natural breeding. The story goes that two normal short haired cats produced one
hairless male in the litter. This kitty had somehow produced a mutated gene making it completely bald.

Apparently, several more of these hairless cats were found in Toronto and used in breeding. Normal short haired cats were mated with the bald kitties, then, resulting offspring were mated with other hairless cats.

A fairly recent breed, the sphynx was recognised by the Cat Fancier’s Association in 2002, however, some cat registries are against the idea of deliberately breeding hairless cats. This is because it’s believed to have a negative impact on the health and wellbeing of the cats.

Coat colours

chocolate coloured sphynx cat

Sphynx kitties have a wide range of coat colours and patterns, including lilac, chocolate, white, red, tabby, mink, and calico. Patterns can vary widely, with some having darker points. These would be found on tips of ears, tail, feet, and nose.

Appearance

Those who judge a book by it’s cover may not see the true beauty of a sphynx. A bald body with little or no hair may be seen as ugly to some people. This is why so many bald men get a bad press ha ha! The body is muscular with a pot bellied appearance and a wedge shaped head.

The ears are large and bat like making the head look small. With their big eyes and huge ears the sphynx can look quite menacing! However, looks are deceptive as the breed is very friendly and gentle.

Sphynx kittens are born covered in wrinkles making them look like little aliens. As they grow, many of these deep folds are usually smoothed out, but the cat’s body will still look wrinkly. In actual fact, without a covering of fur, all cats would have a few wrinkles. Their skin is about the same thickness as that of humans, making them them vulnerable to strong sunlight, and extreme temperatures.

Caring for a sphynx cat

If you’re thinking of adopting a sphynx cat in the belief that a lack of hair means no grooming, think again! Although you’ll have the benefit of less dander, you’ll have a different sort of problem. This problem is oily skin that requires you to bath your cat at least once a week.

Special shampoo for pets can only be used, and never your own shower gel! In addition, only ever bath your sphynx using warm water as they’re very sensitive to temperature. If the water is too hot or cold for you, then it is for your sphynx as well.

Daily grooming that involves wiping the skin with a soft cloth is a must. This helps absorb any oily residue. Although sphynx kitties groom themselves they don’t have sufficient fur to absorb oils secreted through the skin.

As a result, you’ll find crusty looking patches building up on the cat’s body. This can rub off on furnishings and carpets leaving oily marks! I’m sure you don’t want the job of removing oily stains from your best sofa, so maintaining a regular grooming session is the best way to avoid that!

In addition, you’ll need to clean the ears regularly, as well as maintain good dental hygiene. Though this applies to all kitties, sphynx are prone to a build up of dirt and wax inside their ears.

Can you allow sphynx cats to go outside.

If you’re considering getting a sphynx, you must be prepared for it to be mostly an indoor only pet. As previously mentioned, they’re very sensitive to temperature and without a coat, would soon get cold. The only time you should let your sphynx outside is if you’re around to supervise.

A large back garden with plenty of space to run and climb, on a warm spring day would be ok. However, hot summer sun or cold winter days are not suitable at all. Just imagine if you were bald and went outside in the hot sun with no hat, you’d soon suffer sunburn. I doubt you’d go outside on a frosty day with no hat either!

Actually, you can buy clothing for sphynx cats! In fact, some vets recommend you kit your sphynx out in a warm sweater! There’s a wide array of clothing to choose from including sweaters, hoodies, scarves and shirts. The important thing is to keep your kitty warm. Only ever buy clothing made from soft, natural fabric though, such as cotton.

Be aware that not all cats will tolerate being dressed in clothes! You may have a fight on your hands, so don’t go spending a lot of money only to find you’ve wasted it. Just try one simple item of clothing to start with and see how your sphynx responds.

Keeping your sphynx warm

A sphynx’s body temperature is around 4 degrees higher than other cats, and this is helps keep them warm. Due to their lack of fur they’re very susceptible to cold temperatures, and even indoors you must take extra care of your cat. Keep the central heating at least 70 degrees during winter, and make sure to keep the air conditioning fairly low during summer. Fast moving ceiling fans could make your sphynx shiver!

Think about buying a nice cosy covering for your kitty’s bed, and even consider a heated blanket. You can get some nice heated cat beds that would be ideal for a sphynx cat.

Are whiskerless kitties a cruel freak of nature?

Though many sphynx cats have no whiskers or eyelashes, their owners usually find no problems. It’s always been believed that a cat relies on it’s whiskers for judging distances and providing security. Whiskers act a bit like radar and bounce back faint vibrations from objects a cat approaches. However, as far as we know, sphynx don’t appear to suffer any ill effects.

Some sphynx cats with a light covering of fur have whiskers to some degree. They may be lucky enough to have them as complete, or at least a few covering their whisker pads. In Germany it’s against the law to deliberately breed cats without whiskers, and any kitten born this way must be neutered.

What is the personality of a sphynx cat?

peach coloured sphynx cat

If you want a loving, outgoing kitty that likes to play, you’ll fall in love with the sphynx. Many who choose to welcome one into their lives, enthuse about their chatty, often mischievous personality. One thing’s for sure, sphynx cats hate being alone. If you’re out at work all day you’re better off adopting two. They’ll have each other for company and you’ll have less chance of your home being trashed by a bored kitty!

Dog like nature

Just like a dog, your sphynx will follow you everywhere and greet you with a warm welcome on your return home. Expect a kitty with attitude that loves to show off and entertain you with clownish antics. Similar to many oriental breeds, sphynx are very talkative and many owners claim to enjoy two way conversations with their cats!

Sphynx kitties love nothing better than curling up on a nice warm lap, but they also need to keep active, so if you plan on keeping your sphynx indoors you’ll need to invest in plenty of toys. These cats are highly intelligent and love keeping busy. They also enjoy exploring and climbing, so a cat tower would be a very good investment for your kitty.

Sphynx kitties love the attention of children as long as they’re well behaved. They also get along with other pets including dogs. However, you must always stick to the rule of gradually introducing a new cat to other pets, whatever the breed.

One thing to be aware of is sphynx have a higher metabolism than other cats. This means they burn energy much faster than your average kitty and as a result have very healthy appetites! Take this into consideration if you’re planning on getting two of them as your weekly grocery bill will be a lot higher!

If you’re wondering what’s the best type of food for a sphynx cat, quality food that’s high in protein is the best option. Too much fat is bad for cats, though they do require some. A mix of wet and dry food is a good idea, as kibbles are great for dislodging plaque and tartar.

Keeping your sphynx cat healthy

black sphynx cat

You’ll be pleased to hear that on the whole, sphynx kitties are a strong, healthy breed. Life expectancy can be anywhere from 10-20 years, but there are a few health conditions you need to be aware of.

Periodontal disease is something sphynx cats in particular seem prone to. Though dental disease is common in all cats over age 3 years, you should start dental hygiene care while your sphynx kitty is a young kitten.

Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is a disease that affects the heart muscle, causing it to enlarge. Though any breed of cat can suffer this condition, it seems more prevalent in sphynx. It can be successfully treated though if caught in he early stages.

Hereditary myopathy is a condition that can leave your poor cat with mobility problems. Muscle weakness is the main symptom, but you’ll be pleased to hear it can be controlled with drugs.

Infections aren’t uncommon in those large, irresistible eyes. Watch out for any discharge and wipe with a soft cloth dipped in warm water. Gently wipe the outside of the eye from the outer corner towards the inner corner.

How much is a sphynx cat?

If you’re serious about getting a sphynx you can expect to pay anything from $1500-$6000. This all depends on the quality of the cat and the breeder. Some buyers have been known to pay as much as $10,000 for a very rare breed. So you see you’ll need plenty of cash as well as time to devote to your new pet.

Are sphynx cats the right breed for you?

Now you know a bit more about sphynx cats, you should have some idea if it’s the right breed for you. Don’t get one if you want a low maintenance pet. You must be able to allow time for grooming each day, as well as being able to bath the cat.

As you know, most cats hate water and the sphynx is no exception. This means getting your kitty used to the idea from a young age. You’ll also won’t be suitable as a sphynx parent if you’re away from home all day. The only way around that as previously mentioned is to get two of them.

As sphynx are mostly hairless they are considered an ideal choice if you’re allergic to cats. However, it’s not the fur you’re allergic to, but a protein known as Fel d 1 secreted in the skin. There are other breeds of cat apart from the sphynx considered hypoallergenic

Lastly, don’t get a sphynx cat if you don’t like a warm home. Not everyone likes the heating on high during winter, but your little hairless friend will! Her favourite spot will most likely be near a radiator, and if she curls up on your lap you won’t need a hot water bottle!

I hope you’ve enjoyed this article and it’s helped you understand a bit more about sphynx cats. If you have, please share this post. Also, if you have any questions or want to share your experiences, please leave your comment below.

Wishing you a purrfect day

Kathy:)

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10 comments

  1. This post has a wealth of fantastic information concerning the Spinx cat. I have never really considered owning a cat of this type, and now I know why! Being more out of the house than in, this breed of cat is not for me.

    Also appreciated is the break down of the needs of this type of cat into easy paragraphs. For me it breaks the points out into an easily readable form.

    My Maine Coon greets me when I return from work and we do have a chat. I think he enjoys telling me about his day!

    Overall a great post with great pictures to support it!

    Keep up the good work!

    Regards,

    John

    1. Thank you John:) Yes, if you’re away from home a lot it wouldn’t be a good idea to have a sphynx cat. They love company and get very lonely if left on their own for any length of time. Maine coons are beautiful cats and by what I understand they do love a good chat:)

  2. Hi dear.
    It is a very interesting article. I liked a lot the sphynx cat. It is amazing and unique. They have different characteristics from other cats. it is exciting what you said about them: Sphynx kitties love the attention of children as long as they’re well behaved. They also get along with other pets including dogs
    All the best
    Rania

  3. Hi Kathy, excellent article on Sphynx Cats. Well details throughout the post. Your site is easy to navigate from the first paragraph to the end of the post. I like the way all the images are lay out with full details of explanation that follows. Their type of breeds, the different between other cats and their life expectancy. The cost on these cats are eye opener.

    This is a new knowledge for me, I saw these cats in magazine and other articles but never gave much thought. I like the fact that their shedding is less than other regular cats.

    Thanks for sharing, I enjoy reading, and gaining new experience of a different type of animals species .

    1. Thank you Elizabeth:) Glad you liked my post, and yes, the cost of a sphynx is huge! The fact they shed less hair than most cats is certainly a plus point though:)

  4. Brilliant article to read, found it interesting to the point of commenting on how great a read I actually found it, well done and keep up the good work.
    This I have book marked for reference to it in the future!
    Thanks Jason

  5. Hey Kathy,

    A great post about sphynx cat. I have to admit that I didn’t like these cats that much but this post totally changed my mind. I have four cats but none of them have the dog like personality where they will come and greet us, walk with us etc. It was very nice to learn that sphynx carry these traits.

    The first question came to my mind was how will they survive outside. Thanks for pointing out that they should be kept indoor most of the time. That is a great point to remember I guess.

    Thank you for all the information.

    1. Thank you Rajith, I’m glad you enjoyed this post, and it’s helped you understand more about sphynx cats:)

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