The Sphynx cat is a medium-sized cat known for its hairlessness and wrinkled skin. It has large ears and a muscular body that is somewhat regal. These are remarkable cats because you can see the bone structure due to their lack of fur. Furthermore, their skin is loose and causes a wrinkle effect on the cat.
Sphynx are loving, friendly, and affectionate cats who enjoy playing around, communicating, and entertaining you and other family members. This cat breed is also the perfect definition of an indoor pet because of its good behavior. Feel free to train your Sphynx to do almost anything because of its high intellectual levels.
Often described as a dog like cat, the Sphynx breed is an excellent choice for new cat owners who have time to spend giving this hairless beauty love and attention. Sphynx cat care is surprisingly simple, their skin needing the most attention as a hairless cat breed.
Sphynx Cat Breed Overview
- Origin: Canada
- Another name: Canadian Hairless cat
- Height: 8-10cm
- Length: 13-15inches. From the head to the tip of the tail.
- Weight: Female: 5-8lbs, Male: 8-12lbs
- Skin color: Black or ebony, blue or gray, blue, brown, cameo, cream or beige or tan, cream, golden, lavender, lilac, mink, pointed, red or orange, silver, tabby, and white.
- Life expectancy: 8-15 years.
- Eye color: Widely varies.
- Pattern: Solid, smoke, shaded, bicolor, tricolor/calico, tabby, tortoiseshell, ticking, or color point.
- Cat Association Recognition: Cat Fanciers’ Association (CFA), the American Cat Fanciers Association (ACFA), and the International Cat Association (TICA).
- Appearance: At first glance, the cat is bald and has wrinkled skin, large ears, and big eyes. The boning structure pops out, making it appear muscular with a triangular head. The color of the cat is, however, determined by the pigmentation of the skin. Some Sphynxes have short hair around the ears, nose, tail, and toes.
Other Visible Features
You should be able to observe these features in your pet:
- Body: The body is medium-sized and has a muscular-boning structure. The neck is also medium, round, and muscular. The chest is barrel-shaped, and the torso is medium as well. Sphynxes have longer front legs supported by muscular shoulder blades.
- Ears: The ears are enormous with a broad base. The Sphynx ears usually resemble bat ears (open and upright). Similarly, the ears begin close to the eye level (from one side of the base to the other).The interior of the ears has fine hairs (that are slightly visible).
- Eyes: The eyes are prominent and very wide. The eyes are horizontally lemon-shaped. They align from one end of the ear’s base to the other.
- Head and face: The head is narrow and triangular, with visible protruding cheekbones. It forms a curve towards the whiskers. Also, there is a distinctive barrier around the nose. Its skull is round and flat. The neck is powerful and medium in length. Some Sphynxes have fine whiskers, while others have broken or no whiskers (depending on the phenotypic traits/level of breeding).
- Skin: The cat has fine hairs or no fur at all. However, short hair can be present around the tail, toes, nose, and ears. The skin is wrinkled in some areas. This skin color symbolizes the coat color that would have been. Furthermore, their skin is soft and warm.
- Legs: The medium-sized legs are muscular and robust, whereas the back legs are longer than the front legs. But all the legs are equivalent to the whole body.
- Paws: Sphynxes have five webbed front and back toes. The paws are cushion-like, thick, and knuckled.
- Tail: The tail is slightly slim, flexible, and tapering. It is long and looks like a whip, though proportionate to the cat’s body.
- Personality: In a nutshell, this cat breed is outgoing. This is because of its energetic, playful, and curious nature. Sphynxes enjoy sitting on your lap and even perching on your shoulder. They will do almost anything to be closer to your side.
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History and Fun Facts About the Sphynx Breed
- Country of Origin: Canada
- Other Names: Canadian Hairless Cat
- The breed appeared in the hit movie Austin Powers as Mr. Bigglesworth.
- The species is also the cat that Rachel owned – Mrs. Whiskerson – in the sitcom Friends
- All cats have wrinkled skin; usually, it’s covered in fur, and you can’t see it.
Origins of the Sphynx Cat
Because of impulsive mutations, most hairless cats, like the Bambino, Donskoy, Minskin, and Peterbald, have been around for centuries. Nonetheless, the Sphynx was discovered in 1966 through the genetic mutation of a domestic short-haired cat and a hairless male cat in Toronto, Canada.
Today, other kittens have been born through selective breeding across the globe. In some countries, Sphynxes have been traced to 1975 from two kittens in Minnesota.
In 2002, the Cat Fanciers’ Association officially accepted the Sphynx as a breed before other cat associations later accepted the breed.
Sphynx Cat Care Guide
Sphynx are dog-like cat breeds. They will meet you at the door when you arrive. Nonetheless, they require much attention compared to other cat breeds.
They will often follow you around wherever you go in the house. The cat enjoys snuggling with you and being close to you constantly. They make good cuddling buddies. Pay attention, though, as they can be mischievous if you do not give them enough attention!
If you plan to stay away from home for long hours, you should leave your Sphynx with toys to entertain them. These cats love ping pong balls, stimulated hunting games, and other furry toys. Avoid leaving this breed alone for too long because they do not do well in isolation. Have interactive play sessions with your Sphynx whenever you are free.
Sphynxes also love climbing trees and playing around. They are known to execute monkey-like aerialists on the bookshelf, doorway, on-top-of cabinets, and on top of curtains. Therefore, installing a cat tree at home is advised.
Remember that Sphynxes have no fur to protect them from the harsh cold. They can become chilled during winter. So, always keep your house warm or cover them up with “hairless cat sweaters” during the cold season. Notice how your Sphynx will sprawl out in different spots at home to get some warmth from the sun.
How to Care for a Sphynx Cat
The Sphynx skin texture resembles the porous Chamois leather. It has fine hairs that require occasional grooming, unlike its other furry relatives.
So, a Sphynx requires skin, dental, ear, eyes, and nail care.
A Sphynx is one of the few breeds that require regular bathing and moisturizing to protect their skin. After bathing your cat, use cat-friendly oil-free lotion to moisturize its skin. It would help if you used wipes to eliminate any greasy spots on the cat’s skin.
Nail Clipping and Trimming
It is important to clip your pet’s nails every 2-3 weeks, especially if your pet is always around you. Cutting the nails prevents accidental scratches while you are interacting with your pet. Always use clean or sanitized clippers to get the job done.
How to trim a Sphynx Cat claws:
- Put the cat on your lap to make them feel more comfortable
- Hold the paws as you cut the nails. But Do not cut close to the paw
- Use treats as positive reinforcement while trimming the nails
It is necessary to brush your cat’s teeth regularly to prevent dental health complications.
Always use kitty toothpaste and a soft brush. Also, ensure your pet is comfortable and always provide treats to make the job stress-free.
Use a damp cloth to wipe the eye corners of your cat. This helps eliminate any discharge from the eyes and avoid any eye infection.
Dampen cotton balls with warm water and gently wipe the interior of the ears to remove dirt and excess wax.
Tip: Remember to inspect the ear regularly to avoid wax and dirt from building up.
Litter Box Maintenance
Sphynxes are majestic pets. They do not like filthy litter boxes. Hence, always change the litter frequently to prevent your cat from using other soft locations around the house as “toilet spots.”
Ensure the litter box is clean to make your Sphynx bathroom sessions comfortable.
Diet and Nutrition
Your cat’s nutrition depends on its age and health status.
However, Sphynxes eat a lot because of their high energy and metabolism rate.
Feed your cat meat and milk-based nutrition to boost its health. Also, Sphynxes occasionally require a high-calorie/fatty diet because they have no fur. Calories help in providing the necessary heat to the cat’s body.
Always ensure their meals contain fat, proteins, and sufficient carbs. Try to provide kitten or cat food with chicken, fish, tuna, meat, and dairy products.
Sphynx Cat Health Care
Sphynxes are usually healthy cats with long lifespans. Nonetheless, they are susceptible to some everyday health problems.
Your Sphynx can suffer from oily skin conditions, dental problems, and other hereditary heart ailments. Similarly, a few Sphynxes suffer from a congenital muscle condition that weakens their body. This condition is known as myopathy. Myopathy is a genetic ailment that results from dysfunction of the muscle fibers.
Mouth and Gum Disease
Caused by food, bacteria, and other minerals slowly accumulating on the cat’s gums and causing the gums to swell.
Fortunately, you can prevent gum disease by maintaining proper dental hygiene.
The most common eye disorder in cats is conjunctivitis. Sphynxes are no exception to this. Conjunctivitis causes abnormal swelling inside the cat’s eyelids. Other eye conditions include glaucoma, cataracts, and retinal problems.
Visit the vet regularly to prevent an eye infection. Alternatively, use anti-viral lubricants and anti-inflammatory drops to resolve any underlying issues.
The other common health complications include rashes, sunburn, and fungal infections. Sunburn and rashes result from overexposure to the sun’s rays. Remember to regularly visit your vet to protect your cat from specific diseases. Vaccinations or early treatment help to detect other unforeseen conditions.
Is a Sphynx Cat Right for You?
If you want the perfect indoor companion, the Sphynx is the right cat.
Loyal and friendly, they enjoy playing with toys, and you can play chase games with them. They have high intellectual levels making it easy to learn new tricks.
Lastly, Sphynxes are great around kids, pets, and strangers. They will often entertain your guest at home with their people-oriented skills. Sphinx somehow are talkative.
Frequently Asked Questions About Sphynx Cats
Are Sphynx Cats Hypoallergenic?
A Sphynx cat is not 100% hypoallergenic. While they do not shed fur around the house, they still carry the Fel D1 protein on their skin. It is this protein that causes allergies in humans.
Do Sphynx Cats Have Whiskers?
Sphynx cats have no whiskers because they have no functioning hair follicles. This is why Sphynx cats don’t have fur or eyelashes either.
Do Sphynx Cats Smell?
Sphynx cats can develop a smell if you don’t routinely bathe them. Oil and sweat build up on their skin creating a smell similar to potatoes, or mushroom soup.
Can Sphynx Cats Get Fleas?
Fleas feed on the blood of their host animal, which can include Sphynx cats. If your Sphynx gets infested with fleas you should be able to see them quickly and treat your cat accordingly.
Are Sphynx Cats from Egypt?
Given the name, you might assume Sphynx cats are from Egypt, but they’re not. The Sphynx breed originated in Canada in the 1960’s.
Do Sphynx Cats Get Cold?
Sphynx cats will feel the cold, as they have no fur to keep them warm. As a general rule, if you are cold, your Sphynx will be too. Keep plenty of warm blankets around the home for your Sphynx to snuggle into.
What Do Sphynx Cats Feel Like?
Sphynx cats skin feels like a fuzzy peach or soft velvety suede. Despite being described as a hairless cat, they have a fine layer of fur all over their body.
Can Sphynx Cats Go Outside?
Sphynx cats can go outside for short amounts of time, in temperament weather. In the hot sun they may get sunburnt, and in contrast, it may be too cold for them in the Winter. Sphynx cats are best kept as indoor only cats.
Intelligence Outweighs Looks With a Sphynx Cat
Some people think a Sphynx is an ugly cat. But their dog-like behavior and social interaction make them beautiful indoor pets.
This cat breed is the friendliest pet you will ever find. It is usually devoted to the owner and makes a great companion at home, even for busy homes.
Sphynx appear off-putting at first glance because of how they look. But you will love and care for this cat breed if you have half a chance.
Sphynxes are also delighted with kids and love to snuggle with them. But remember to have a coat or blanket for your pet to keep him warm during colder weather.
I’m an indoor cat convert and created My Indoor Cat to help other indoor cat owners make the best choices for their cats and kittens.