Sphynx Cats – Everything to Know Before Bringing One Home

Reviewed By Julie •  Updated: 06/17/20 •  10 min read
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Have you been thinking about adopting a Sphynx cat? Are you interested in a hairless cat? Are you familiar with these special kitties?

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If you answered yes (or no) to any of these questions, then you’re in the right place! Today’s article is about everything you need to know about these adorable, special kitties. Let’s get started!

What is a Sphynx Cat?

The Sphynx cat is a breed that was brought about all by mistake. The mistake was a genetic mutation that caused a hairless kitten to be born. The hairless cat kitten was born to a domesticated black and white cat that lived in Toronto, Canada. This was the beginning of the Sphynx kitten, which then went on to become a breed of its own. This took place in the late 70s, after which more hairless kittens were born.

These cats were originally known as Canadian Hairless Cats, though they were eventually named “Sphynx” and became a breed all their own. They were called “Sphynx” cats as they resembled the great sphynx found in Egypt. The Sphynx cat breed has been recognized by the American Cat Fanciers Association, the Cat Fanciers Association and the International Cat Association, amongst others.  

Characteristics of the Sphynx Cat

A Sphynx cat with no fur generally has a wrinkled skin that may come in sold or mixed colors. They generally weight anywhere from 6-12 pounds, making this a medium-sized cat breed. You’ll know a Sphynx cat when you see her—she will look hairless, may have wrinkled skin on her head and other places on her body, and she will have large ears, which can be up to three inches high.

When it comes to personality, the Sphynx cat breed loves to have their humans’ attention. These kitties tend to demand and need attention and have been known to do funny things just to get a laugh. They’re knowing for being very friendly, loving kitties. Would you like a lap cat? Then look no further than the Sphynx. You’ll have a companion laying across you lap as you enjoy TV, read and more. If you like to have a kitty snuggle with you at night, this one will definitely be your companion.

Some pet parents of these hairless cats have noted that Sphynx cats seem to be more like dogs than cats. Not only do they require a lot of attention, but they’re also very energetic and curious about their environment. They are known for exploring their homes, climbing and seeking out the best high spots, going after bugs and being somewhat mischievous. Oh, and they love puzzle toys!

Spynx cats are also known for being very good with kids, dogs, and other cats. They tend to be laidback and gentle. And because they need and crave attention, these furless kitties don’t do well when left alone. If you adopt a Sphynx cat, then be prepared to give them all the love and attention they demand. If you do need to leave your hairless kitty to go to work, then it’s a good idea to adopt another Sphynx or at least another cat to keep her company. When it comes to lifespan, Sphynx cats tend to live between 8 to 14 years, though some do live longer.

Are Sphynx Cats Really Hairless & Hypoallergenic?

While they don’t have fur like most other cat breeds, Sphynx cats have something more like a coat that resembles suede. Their coat keeps them warm, just like any other cat’s coat, though it lacks the insulating fur of other cat breeds.

Many people believe these cats are hypoallergenic; however, that’s not the case. The reason is because these cats produce dander, shed dead skin cells and have the same proteins in their skin and saliva as other cat breeds. It is these proteins that cause allergic reactions in some people.

How Do Sphynx Cats Stay Warm?

Keep in mind that the Sphynx cat will require more heat than a normal kitty. This is due to their lack of a regular fur coat. In the winter, you may need to leave the heat on and leave on a higher temperature when you’re away from home. These kitties need to be kept warm. Other options to help your Sphynx fur baby stay warm include a kitty igloo, which also includes warm blankets and pillows. And be sure your feline companion has a place to sit in the sun and warm up.

While some pet parents do get their fur babies to wear sweaters and other types of clothing to stay warm, most cats aren’t very appreciative of these efforts. In fact, don’t be surprised if your hairless kitty becomes like a statue. She may also just fall over on her side, or try to hide, etc. These are all signs she’s not happy and could be stressed out. So, if your fur baby acts like this then don’t force her to wear clothing. Just make sure to provide several warm places for her to snuggle and stay warm.

Sphynx Cats Need a Lot of Care

Another believe many people have about Sphynx cats is that the breed doesn’t require much grooming. However, that’s simply not the case, even though they don’t have fur coats like other cats. A Sphynx cat requires weekly bathing; if they’re not bathed at least once a week, these fur babies can leave oily residue from their skin on clothing, bedding, furniture and more. And not only will you need to give your Sphynx fur baby a weekly bath, but she will also require her ears to be cleaned, and her nails trimmed.

It’s also been noted that Sphynx cats have some different litter box habits than other cats. For instance, they tend to not cover their poo. And their poo has been said to smell pretty bad. If they’ve stepped in their own poo, they may then leave pooey footprints on the floor, you and the furniture. Oh, and these kitties have also been known to have smelly gas. You thought your dog was bad, wait until you smell your hairless kitty’s toots!

If you can’t stand the thought of dealing with these issues, then it’s best to not adopt a Sphynx cat. Instead, you may want to think about adopting a more traditional type of cat.

Sphynx Cat’s Dietary Needs

These special hairless kitties also need a specific diet in order to keep their skin healthy. They require high-quality cat food, due to the amount of oil produced by the cat’s skin. Higher-quality kitty food doesn’t have as much oil as cheaper cat foods. Cheaper cat foods can cause the Sphynx’s skin to become too oil and lead to skin problems, ear wax and even infections.

And if your fur baby eats food with a high level of oil, then you’ll notice more grease spots everywhere your kitty likes to rest. This will include everything from the sheets on the bed, to the fabric covering on your couch and chairs, etc.

Health Issues in Sphynx Cats

As with other types of purebred cats, Sphynx cats are prone to genetic health issues. While they’re generally healthy, they are prone to some health issues including:

Sphynx cats are also more prone to skin conditions such as:

You may also find these cats have a tendency to develop periodontal disease. However, you can avoid this by brushing your fur baby’s teeth on a regular basis. While this may not be easy, if you train a kitten from a young age, they will readily adapt to this practice as adults. Avoid using a toothpaste made for humans, and instead use a toothpaste made especially for cats. If you’re not able to find the right kind of toothpaste for your Sphynx feline companion, then be sure to ask the vet for guidance and their recommendations on the right product for your kitty.

How & Where to Find a Sphynx Cat for Sale

After reading all that, if you’re still interested in adopting a Sphynx cat, then where is it possible to find one? You might start out at one of the cat associations:

These are all excellent sources where you can find reputable breeders of these Sphynx cat beauties. And this is important. You want to avoid unethical breeders who use breeding methods that can lead to genetic health issues. Instead, make sure to find a reputable breeder. A reputable Sphynx cat breeder will be able to provide you with certification that their cats are healthy and free of genetic health conditions. In additions, look for breeders who raise their kittens in the home, rather than in the kennel. Kittens raised in a home environment will be properly socialized and friendly, while those raised and left in the kennel may be shy, skittish, and afraid.

You can also check with your vet for recommendations on reputable breeders in your area. When it comes to Sphynx cat price, expect to pay handsomely for your fur baby. Sphynx cats, which are purebred, can cost anywhere from $1,500 to $3,000 and more. It’s not unheard of to pay $10,000 and up for an extremely rare Sphynx cat. If that’s a little too high for your budget, be sure to check out the pet shelters in your area. It possible to find a wonderful Sphynx cat in a rescue or shelter, one that needs a fur ever home.

We hope this article has helped dispel some of the myths of these beautiful, hairless cats. And we hope that you find a beautiful Sphynx fur baby. We wish you both many years of wonderful snuggles and love.

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Julie is a graduate of the University of North Carolina, Wilmington, where she studied Animal science. Though contrary to the opinion of her parents she was meant to study pharmacy, but she was in love with animals especially cats. Julie currently works in an animal research institute (NGO) in California and loves spending quality time with her little cat. She has the passion for making research about animals, how they survive, their way of life among others and publishes it. Julie is also happily married with two kids.

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