Are you considering adding a Sphynx to your family? If so, you’ve come to the right place! Sphynx are an incredibly unique and special breed of cat that can make a wonderful addition to any home.
Sphynx cats are known for their hairless appearance, which makes them stand out from other breeds. Sphynx are the cat breed that looks like they’re naked. They don’t have a typical fur coat like other breeds. This hairlessness was originally a genetic mutation and then they were bred to consistently produce hairless offspring. They have large ears, big eyes, and a wrinkled face that give them an almost alien-like look. Despite their unique appearance, they’re still cats at heart and love to play, cuddle, and explore.
Interestingly, their lack of fur does not make them hypoallergenic. It’s the skin dander that causes a reaction in some people and not the fur. They don’t need any brushing, but a weekly bath is needed to keep them clean. Overall, their needs are few, with medium exercise needs.
Sphynx cats are extremely loyal and loving. They are also very smart and enjoy learning new tricks. They are very playful, and will often jump into your lap when you sit down. They are a highly energetic and social breed. Your cat will constantly be doing things to get your attention because they enjoy receiving affection. Sphynx are loyal and enjoy spending time with adults, children, families, strangers and other pets.
Sphynx cats are extremely loyal and loving pets. They’re extremely affectionate towards people and will often follow their family from room to room. They are also very smart and can learn games quickly. They are very playful and enjoy playing with their family.
They don’t like to be left alone for too long. This breed does well as an indoor cat, because they don’t have fur to protect them from extreme temperatures or the dangers of the outdoors. They like to have moderate to warm temperatures year-round, which is why they do so well in homes.
Sphynx cats are relatively low maintenance when it comes to grooming. They don’t need regular brushing or bathing like other breeds of cats. However, they do need to be kept clean and free of dirt and debris, so regular baths are still recommended. Additionally, Sphynx cats can be prone to skin problems, so it’s important to keep an eye on their skin and take them to the vet if any issues arise.
Sphynx cats are a great choice for first-time pet owners, because they’re relatively low maintenance and easy to care for. They’re also very social and loving animals that will bond with their owners quickly. If you’re looking for a unique and special pet, a Sphynx is definitely worth considering.
- Average Height: 8 to 10 inches
- Average Length: 13 to 15 inches
- Average Weight: 11 pounds
- Coat Type: Short length
- Coat Appearance: They have a hairless coat that is suede-like and oily
- Coat Colors: White, black, red, lavender, and chocolate
- Grooming Needs: Medium
- Shedding: Low
- Brushing Requirements: None, but they need a weekly bath
- Sensitive to Touch: No
- Excessive Meow: Moderate
- Tolerance to Heat and Cold: Cold no, heat yes.
- Good Pet: They are outgoing and adorable, so yes!
- Safe with Children: Yes
- Good with Other Cats: Yes
- Good with Other Pets: Yes
- Suitable to live in an Apartment: Yes
- Good for Less Experienced Pet Owners: Yes
- Exercise Needs: Medium need
- Weight Gain: Medium
- Health Concerns: Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, hereditary myopathy, Urticaria pigmentosa, and some dental conditions.
- Allergies: None
- Average Life Span: 8 to 14 years
Physical Appearance of a Sphynx
As mentioned already this cat is hairless, which is something that you’ll notice immediately when you see it for the first time.
The most common colors for their skin are white, black, red, lavender, and chocolate. This color is visible in the pigment of the skin and also on any hair that grows on their body.
The Sphynx cat has a medium-sized body with a broad chest and rounded abdomen. They have strong muscular legs with oval paws and long toes. Their tails are long and pliable that somewhat looks like a whip. They have wrinkles on their body. Kittens have the most wrinkles that gradually fade away as they grow.
This cat has a wedge-shaped head that is longer than wide. The cheekbones are prominent with a short, narrow nose. They have big ears and large lemon-shaped eyes. Though it is rare, some cats can have hair on their eyebrows and whiskers. Their ability to grow hair depends upon the hormones of the cat and the climate the cat stays in.
Temperament of a Sphynx
Sphynx cats are highly sociable and energetic cats. They are loyal to their owners and are very affectionate towards them. Because of their affection for attention it’s normal for them to greet you when you come home. They will usually be doing things just to get your attention or to be played with. They have been known to follow family around the house or just sit on someone’s shoulder.
They are also intelligent and playful. The Sphynx is outgoing and can build strong friendships with strangers, or other pets without much effort. Sphynx cats love companionship but they do not like being left alone.
They are a curious breed and this can get them into trouble if they are left alone for too long. If you know you need to leave them alone it’s always a good idea to give them a toy to play with.
Training a Sphynx
These cats are intelligent and easy to litter box train. You’ll want to have a litter box that gives them some privacy, and is big enough for them to comfortably fit inside. As long as you can do that you should have no problems getting them to use it. Just remember to keep it clean because this is the main reason why cats stop using the litter box.
You may see a few accidents in the beginning but it’s best not to punish them. Give them praise and treats whenever they do use the litter box. Positive reinforcement will help them understand what kind of behavior is expected of them.
Like most cats, they do enjoy scratching their nails on things. If you like your furniture looking new it’s a good idea to set up one or two scratching posts around the house. Whenever you see them scratching your furniture or anything else, pick them and take the cat to the nearest scratching post. A scratching post will give them a place they can scratch anytime they have the urge and prevent damage to your furniture. Like teaching them anything, it may take time for them to understand the purpose of the scratching post. If you stick with it eventually they will learn.
If you already have pets in your home then there are some basic steps to take to teach the new cat how to interact with the existing pets. After you’ve introduced the new cat to each pet, watch their behavior. If the new cat is doing things that the other pets don’t like, you should step in to interrupt the behavior. If you want your current pets to accept the new one it’s best to do this before an existing pet gets too annoyed.
Clicker training is becoming more popular now. We have an entire article that shows you how to train your pets with clicker sounds. Basically you make a noise with the clicker when the cat does something which is considered good behavior. It will let them know that this is something that you like and hopefully they will continue to do it.
Their Compatibility with Children
The Sphynx cats are excellent companions for kids. They love being around people and are always very affectionate towards others. Their great personality explains why children enjoy playing and being around them.
As long as the children behave well with the Sphynx, the cats will be happy to spend most of the day playing or just being around children. The Sphynx loves children who behave well and don’t abuse them.
They can bond quickly with children of all age groups. When you first bring them home, introduce them to your children one at a time. One child at a time will help your cat to become familiar with each child without too many new things happening at once. Gradually you will see the cat cuddle and find other ways to express their love to the children.
Best Climate for a Sphynx
Moderate to warm temperatures are best for this cat. Because they lack fur, they cannot tolerate cold temperatures. They are an indoor-only cat and normal room temperature homes are ideal for them.
They still love warm temperatures. You can let them enjoy the sunshine coming through the window inside your home. Like most cats, they will absolutely love laying in the sunlight. Remember that their skin does not have any fur to protect it from the UV rays, they are more at risk for sunburn than other cats. To keep them from getting sun burns try not to let them lay in the sun for too long.
As you might imagine these cats lose body heat very fast. One option some owners have for the colder months is to get them used to wearing cat sweaters. They are also much more likely to want to snuggle with their family in the colder months. It would not be a bad idea to set aside some blankets for them, or even a heated blanket. Some cats even like to crawl under the bed sheets during the day for extra warmth.
The Attention a Sphynx Needs
Sphynx are a needy breed and need a lot of attention. They love families and really enjoy playing with people or other pets. Cuddles and lap time is what helps keep them happy. They are very fond of their owners and some even like to sleep next to them. It can be a bit strange to wake up with them crawling under the blanket while you are sleeping.
Sphynx cats always need companionship and they enjoy playing with other pets. Because of their personality we recommend that you not leave them alone for longer than you need to. If you have a family that is busy with work and does not have enough time to spend with the cat, then this cat is not for you. They need a good amount of attention and affection each day.
The cats have been known to talk to their owners. This is something some owners discover if they are not giving them enough attention. They are known for making a number of sounds just so that you will give them some attention.
For exercise, regular cat toys are good for them. They enjoy regular cat toys like mouse on a string or cat lasers. There are thousands of great toys or other small objects to play with. Play time will take care of their physical health. To help their mental health, being around people is nice, but there are puzzle games that you can give them. The puzzle toy will keep them busy while you are gone and help distract them from the fact that they’re alone.
Sphynx are generally healthier than most other cat breeds. Apart from certain skin and eye-related conditions that most cats have, these cats have only a few other diseases, all of which are generally considered mild.
Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM)
Feline Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM) is a common heart disease that affects cats. It’s associated with the heart muscle thickening, which can result in impaired cardiac function and potentially life-threatening complications such as congestive heart failure, blood clots, arrhythmias, and sudden death.
HCM is a disease inherited in some cat breeds, including the Maine Coon , Ragdoll, and British Shorthair. It can also occur in cats without any known genetic predisposition. Male cats and older cats are also more commonly affected.
Feline hereditary myopathy is a rare genetic disorder that affects a cat’s muscles. It’s caused by a mutation in the gene responsible for producing a protein called myosin. This protein is important for muscle function. When it’s not produced correctly, it can lead to muscle weakness and wasting.
Symptoms of Feline Hereditary Myopathy
Symptoms of Feline Hereditary Myopathy may include:
- Muscle weakness
- Difficulty walking or jumping
Affected cats can also have trouble standing up from a lying position or climbing stairs. As the disease progresses, muscle wasting can become more noticeable, particularly in their hind legs.
Urticaria Pigmentosa is a skin condition that affects both humans and animals, including cats. It’s also known as mastocytosis, which refers to the abnormal accumulation of mast cells that occurs in their skin and other organs.
With feline urticaria pigmentosa, small reddish-brown or yellowish-brown papules or nodules develop on their skin. These lesions can be itchy and can be uncomfortable to your cat. They can appear anywhere on their body, but are most commonly found on their head, neck, and limbs.
The exact cause of feline urticaria pigmentosa is unknown, but it’s thought to be related to an overproduction of mast cells. Mast cells play a role in their immune system by releasing histamine and other compounds in response to an allergen or injury.
Periodontal disease in cats is a common problem affecting their gums and teeth. It’s caused by the buildup of plaque and tartar on their teeth, which leads to bacterial infection in the surrounding gum tissue. The condition can result in pain, inflammation, tooth loss, and other serious health complications if left untreated.
Symptoms of Feline Periodontal Disease
The symptoms of periodontal disease can be subtle and could go unnoticed until the condition has progressed to a more advanced stage. Some common signs to look out for include:
- Bad breath
- Red, swollen or bleeding gums
- Drooling or excessive salivation
- Loose or missing teeth
- Difficulty eating or reluctance to eat – Pawing at their mouth or face
- Swelling in their face or jaw
If you notice any of these symptoms in your cat, it’s important to take them to the veterinarian for a dental examination.
Bathing, Coat, and Cleaning
Because the Sphynx is hairless they don’t need to be brushed. While they are a hairless breed, some cats can have small amounts of hair on parts of their body. You can brush them every other week to remove loose hair if it becomes an issue.
While most don’t need to be brushed, they should be bathed once a week. Bathing is important because their skin tends to become oily. Giving them a bath every week will keep oil from building up on their skin. The baths will also help keep your furniture free of oil. Baby or animal shampoos work great on their skin. While bathing them, check their paws, skin, and other areas for visible signs of redness or infection.
We recommend applying a baby lotion to their skin once a week to prevent it from drying out. Remember to get in between their wrinkles while bathing them or applying the lotion. Start giving them weekly baths soon after bringing them home so that it is something they get used to.
Brush their teeth once a week. This will lessen the chances of getting dental diseases. Take them to the vet once every six months for a check up and to have their teeth cleaned.
Like other cats, the Sphynx cats may also have teary eyes. A moist cotton cloth works great to wipe the area around the eyes. Wiping their eyes when you see any buildup will keep their face free of stains. Their nails should be trimmed once a week. It’s usually best to trim them before you give them a bath in case they decide they don’t like their bath.
Every week it is important to check their nose, paws, and other areas of your cat while brushing them for signs of redness or other infections. If you see any signs of infection, call your vet immediately.
Feeding a Sphynx
We recommend that you feed your Sphynx between ¼ to ½ cup of high-quality cat food that is split between two meals. The exact meal size will depend upon the activities that your cat does during the day. A high energy cat who spends a lot of time playing will need more food than a low energy cat who prefers to relax.
Sphynx don’t have a tendency to gain weight so you can feed them a little extra if they’re still hungry. Monitor their activity level and how much you feed them and don’t feed them table scraps or people food.
The food that you feed should contain taurine which is an essential nutrient that every cat needs. It is an amino acid that nourishes the brain, eyes, and also helps to improve the immune system of the cats. Consult your vet to find out if the food that you feed them has the necessary nutrients.
Unlike other cats, the Sphynx does not have fur to insulate them. Their hairlessness leads to a more rapid loss of body heat. Because of this heat loss their bodies have a higher metabolism than other cats. If you notice that they always seem hungry you might want to slightly increase the amount of food you give them. Another option is to give them treats between meal times.
Can They be Therapy Cats?
Yes. Since they are friendly and outgoing they are considered great therapy cats for both people with illnesses and those who need emotional support. They always try to be around you and have your attention. Their personality and need for attention helps people forget about problems. They are known to make funny sounds while being pet, cheering up most people who hear it.
What Causes the Hairlessness of the Sphynx cats?
Sphynx cat is considered the first hairless cat breed. The Sphynx was a result of a genetic mutation. When the first hairless cat was born in Toronto in 1960, the owner of the cat realized that it was a unique cat.
This led to the owner trying to reproduce the cats which resulted in the eventual creation of the Sphynx breed. The gene for hairlessness was considered recessive and because it is recessive, many offspring that were born have a small amount of fur.
Are the Sphynx Cats Hypoallergenic?
No. Many people believe that the Sphynx cats are hypoallergenic because they do not have fur, but they still produce dander. Dander is small pieces of cat skin that are responsible for causing allergies in some people. If you want a hypoallergenic cat then you’ll need one that doesn’t shed much skin like the Siamese, or several other less common breeds.
Maryna is an animal expert that has had dozens of animals in her life over the years. She has never found an animal that she didn't love immediately. It seems like every year she finds kittens that have been abandoned by their mom and she nurses them to health and finds homes for them. She contributes her vast knowledge about animals and family pets to our website and we're forever grateful to have her working with us. She's also an amazing graphics designer and has designed all of the social media images that we use across all platforms.