Sphynx is the name of this breed that appears to be naked, not sporting the typical fur coat of other breeds. This hairlessness was originally a genetic mutation and then the cat was bred to consistently produce hairless offspring. 

Interestingly, the lack of fur does not make them hypoallergenic, as it is the skin dander that causes a reaction in some people. Note that this cat will not require brushing, but a weekly bath is instead required. Overall, its needs are few, having medium exercise requirements.

This is a highly energetic and social breed. Your cat will constantly be doing things to attract your attention as it does enjoy giving and receiving affection. Sphynx are loyal and enjoy spending time with adults, children, families, strangers and other pets. 

They do not like to be left alone for long periods of time. This breed does well as indoor cats, as they do not have fur to protect them from extreme temperatures. In fact, they do like to have moderate to warm temperatures year-round.

a Sphynx cat laying on the bed

Sphynx Information

  • Average Height: 8 to 10 inches
  • Average Length: 13 to 15 inches
  • Average Weight: 7 to 14 pounds
  • Coat Type: None / Extremely Short
  • 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: Not required as they are hairless but they need a weekly bath
  • Sensitive to Touch: No
  • Excessive Meow: Moderate
  • Good 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
  • Suitable for First-Time Cat 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
a Sphynx cat looking intensely off to the distance

Physical Appearance of a Sphynx

As mentioned already this cat is hairless, which is something that you’ll notice immediately when you see it or touch it for the first time.

Their ability to grow hair depends upon the hormones of the cat and the climate the cat stays in. The most common colors for the coats 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 the body with kittens having heavy wrinkles that gradually fade away as they grow. 

The 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.

Temperament of a Sphynx

Sphynx cats are highly sociable and energetic cats. They are loyal to their owners and are very affectionate towards them. You will also find them greeting you when you come home. They will always be doing things just to get your attention. It could be following you around the house or just sitting on your shoulder.

They are also intelligent and playful. The cat is outgoing and can easily build strong friendships with strangers, or other pets as well. Sphynx cats love companionship and do not like being left alone. Their curiosity could get them into trouble when they are left alone which is something you may want to avoid. 

Training a Sphynx

These cats are intelligent and easy to train. As long as you have a litter box that gives them some privacy, and is big enough for them to comfortably fit inside you should have no problems with them using it.  Just remember to keep it clean as this is the main reason why a cat may not use the litter box.

You may see a few accidents in the beginning but do not punish them. Give them praise and treats whenever they use the litter box. This will help them to understand what kind of behavior is expected of them. 

To take care of their scratching habits, set up scratching posts around the house. Whenever you see them scratching your furniture or any other object, pick them and take the cat to the nearest scratching post. This will take care of their scratching habits and also prevent damage to your furniture. It may take time for them to get used to it in the beginning but 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, observe their behavior.  If the new cat is doing things that the other pets don’t like, you should step in and tell them no.  You want to do this before an existing pet tells the new one for you.

Clicker training is becoming more popular now. 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 will do it more frequently.

a Sphynx cat laying on the bed

Their Compatibility with Children

The Sphynx cats are excellent companions for kids. They love being around people and are always very affectionate towards others.  This explains why children enjoy playing and being around the cats. 

As long as the children behave well with these cats, the cats will be happy to spend most of the day playing or just being around children. The Sphynx cat loves children who behave kindly and respect them. 

a Sphynx cat looking off into the distance

They can bond easily with children of all age groups. When you get the cat home, introduce them to your children one at a time. This will help the cats to know them better. 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 temperatures are ideal for them. 

They still love warm temperatures. You can let them enjoy the sunshine coming from the windows and doors inside your home. This will keep the cat warm and happy. But because their skin does not have the necessary protection they are more prone to have sunburn than other cats. To prevent this do not let them lay in the sun for long periods of time. 

As you might imagine these cats lose body heat very fast.  One option 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 during this time.  It would not be a bad idea to set aside some blankets for them, or even a heated blanket.

The Attention a Sphynx Needs

These cats need a lot of attention. They love families and really enjoy playing games with people. Cuddles and lap time is what helps to keep them happy. They are very fond of their owners and some even like to sleep next to them. You will often find them crawling under the warm covers of your bed or blankets.

Sphynx cats always need companionship and enjoy playing with other pets. Because of their personality it is recommended that you not leave them alone for many hours. 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 you will come to know if you 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, small games work the best for them. They are great at playing games like hide-and-seek, mouse on a string and others. You can also give them toys or other small objects to play with. This will take care of their physical health. Introduce them to other pets in your home. They will bond easily with them. 

Health Issues

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 is a commonly found cardiac disease in them. It happens when the muscular walls of the heart thicken, impacting the efficiency of the heart. Sometimes, it can also lead to symptoms in other parts of the body.  

Lethargy, loss of appetite, difficulty in breathing, and inability to exercise are visible symptoms of the disease. Cats with this disease can have a life span between a few months to several years.

Hereditary myopathy is also a genetic disease that they can have. This is a neurological condition that leads to muscle weakness by affecting the transmission of signals from the nerves to the muscles. If you see your cat feeling weak or acting abnormally take them to a vet to get them checked. Early diagnosis can help to reduce the impact.

Sphynx can also have a dermatological condition called Urticaria pigmentosa. It causes scaly spots or patches on the skin. This disease is not serious and antihistamines are commonly prescribed by the vet to remove the itchiness on the skin. 

Like most cats, Sphynx too is prone to dental diseases. You should take care of their dental health to prevent them from having dental diseases. More on this in the next section.

a tired Sphynx kitten laying on a blanket
Sphynx kittens looking over a chair

Bathing, Coat, and Cleaning

The hairless coat of the cat does not require regular brushing. However, some cats can have light amounts of hair on some parts of the body. You can brush them every other week to remove loose hair. 

They do need to be bathed once every week. This is important because their skin tends to become oily. Giving them a bath every week will help to keep your furniture free of oil. Use a baby or animal shampoo to softly bathe them. You can also use a conditioner along with it. While bathing them, check their paws, skin, and other parts for visible signs of infection or redness.

You should apply a lotion on the skin once every week to prevent the skin from turning dry. Take care of the wrinkles on their body while bathing them or applying the lotion. Start giving them weekly baths right from the time when they are young so that it is something they will expect. 

Brush their teeth once a week. This will lessen the chances of getting dental diseases. Take them to the vet once every six months to clean their teeth. 

Like other cats, the Sphynx cats may also have teary eyes. Use a moist cotton cloth to wipe the area around the eyes. This will keep it free of stains. Their nails should be trimmed once a week.

Check their ears each week. If there is any dirt or excess wax, remove it using a soft cotton ball. Only clean the visible part of the ears. Take them to the vet if there is any redness or signs of infection in the ears. 

Feeding A Sphynx

The Sphynx cats should be served between ¼ cup and ½ cup of high-quality dry food. This should be divided into two meals during the day. The exact amount will depend upon the activity your cat does and the age of the cat. 

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. Consult your vet to find out if the food that you serve has the necessary nutrients.

Unlike other cats, the Sphynx does not have fur on the body to insulate them. This results in a more rapid loss of body heat. Because of this heat loss their bodies have a high metabolism. To take care of this you might want to serve them treats and snacks throughout the day. This will help to take care of their daily dietary needs.

Related Questions:

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. This gives emotional support to the owner. They will often make funny sounds, cheering up most people who hear it.

a large pile of multi colored cat food

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 for this reason, many offspring that were born had a slight amount of fur on their body.

Are the Sphynx Cats Hypoallergenic?

No. Many consider that as the Sphynx cats do not have fur, they are hypoallergenic but they still produce dander. Dander are small pieces of cat skin that can get airborne or stay on your blankets, floor, or clothing. This dander is responsible for causing allergies in some people.

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