Though the Sphynx may look alien and otherworldly to some, those who get to know them can seldom resist their charm. The extroverted Sphynx loves their naked, wrinkly self, and they’re pretty sure you will too. Affectionate, inquisitive, and extremely intelligent, they’re an undeniably engaging roommate.
Also known as the Canadian Sphynx, this breed’s hairlessness occurred naturally. The Sphynx breed started with a Canadian kitten, named Prune, who was born to a black and white domestic shorthair in 1966. The natural mutation was discovered again several times in the 70’s, in Minnesota and again in Canada. These cats became the foundation for the breed.
Though the Sphynx’s hairlessness may make them seem low maintenance, care for this feline is actually fairly involved. Because they lack the hair that would normally absorb body oils, oil tends to build up on the skin. Dirt and dust is more likely to stick to them for this reason, and they’re also prone to feline acne. Sphynx’s should usually be bathed weekly. The lack of hair in the ears also causes debris and wax to accumulate, so ear cleaning should be part of the weekly routine.
Contrary to what many think, the Sphynx is not a hypoallergenic cat. Allergies are triggered by a protein found in saliva and oil produced by the sebaceous glands, not hair. For this reason, those with cat allergies may actually react worse to contact with this hairless breed. There have been some anecdotal claims of allergy suffers not being triggered by their Sphynx cats, but this may be the result of desensitization to the allergen, or because a frequently bathed Sphynx may have less of the protein present at any given time.
Appearance / health:
A naturally hairless breed, the Sphynx is a medium sized cat, muscular – not delicate, with a broad chest and a sturdy frame. The Sphynx also has a distinctly round abdomen, unrelated to the cat’s body fat. The legs are sturdy, medium in length with rear legs slightly longer than the front. The Sphynx’s paws are oval shaped with distinctly well-knuckled toes and thick paw pads. The whip-like tail is slender, tapering to a fine point.
Atop the Sphynx’s muscled and rounded neck sits a somewhat wedge-shaped head, slightly longer than it is wide, withy rounded contours. The top of the head is rounded with a flat forehead and prominent cheekbones which define the eyes and give the face a chiseled look. The Sphynx has a strong, rounded muzzle, prominent whisker pads, and a strong chin. The nose forms a fairly flat plane from forehead to nose tip with only a slight stop at the bridge of the nose. It’s impossible not to notice the Sphynx’s very large and upright ears. Large, lemon-shaped eyes have a slight upward tilt and come in all eye colors.
Though the Sphynx appears hairless, it is actually covered in an almost imperceptible, very fine, suede-like down. Short, fine hair may be more visible on the nose and the backs of the ears. The Sphynx has loose, wrinkly skin, especially between the ears, around the muzzle, and around the shoulder blades. They may or may not have whiskers, and when whiskers are present, they are often sparse or with the appearance of having been broken off.
The Sphynx’s skin bears the pigmentation that would indicate fur color, and they may come in a variety of patterns and colors, including solid, tabby, tortoiseshell, bicolor, and pointed. Colors include black, blue, red, cream, chocolate, lavender, cinnamon, fawn, and white.
The Sphynx does have a few health considerations. Kittens may particularly susceptible to respiratory infections, and special care should be taken to keep them warm. All ages of Sphynx are prone to skin cancer if exposed to too much sunlight, and a Sphynx spending prolonged time in the sun should wear sunscreen. The breed also has a somewhat higher incidence of heart disease, including hypertrophic cardiomyopathy and mitral valve dysplasia.
Behavior / temperament:
The Sphynx is an extremely affectionate cat, people-loving and extroverted. At cat shows, the Sphynx doesn’t seem to mind the attention it draws, basking in the spot light. They are easily handled, and love to be snuggled – the Sphynx no doubt adores you, but they also adore your body heat! The Sphynx is eager to follow you throughout the day, “helping” with your daily tasks. They don’t like being left alone for long, and most Sphynx will be delighted by having a feline companion to cuddle with.
Don’t think that the Sphynx is just a lover: this is also an energetic, athletic, and intelligent cat. They have no difficulty reaching the higher spots in the house, and may choose to do their supervising from such lofty perches. A Sphynx should be given lots of opportunities to play and climb, as a bored Sphynx is clever enough to cause some mischief. They may also particularly enjoy teaser toys and puzzle games. However, the Sphynx is particularly vulnerable to temperature extremes, sun damage, bug bites, and other outdoor hazards, so they should never be outdoors unsupervised – they’re pretty amenable to being leash trained. Lots of indoor climbing furniture or a covered outdoor enclosure would be just purrfect for the Sphynx.
The Sphynx needs places to cuddle up and stay warm. They’ll appreciate deep beds and cuddly caves, and don’t be surprised if their favorite sleeping spot is under the covers with you!
loving breed, personalities, kindest beings, unique wonderful pet, adorably cute cats, affectionate breeds
extreme cold, strange looking cat, bathing, weekly baths, severe sunburns, chilly night
heat pad, reputable breeder, ear cleanings, high protein diet, toe nail clippings
Great diet to prevent and treat bladder stones
I highly recommend Hill's Prescription Diet c/d wet food for treatment and prevention of bladder stones. Bladder stones in cats are predominantly composed of either struvite or oxalate minerals. They can be very irritating and lead to pain while urinating, obstruction, blood in the urine, and infection. The c/d diet is formulated to alter the bladder environment to make it unfavorable for stone formation. C/d also comes as a dry kibble. The wet version is recommended because the extra moisture helps to dilute the urine, which reduces inflammation and pain. Oxalate stones always require surgical removal. After surgery, Hill's c/d diet can be used to prevent recurrence. Struvite stones may also be surgically removed, but can also be dissolved without surgery if the cat is placed on a strict c/d diet. Once the stone is dissolved, the c/d diet should be continued to prevent recurrence. The c/d diet is very safe. If you have multiple cats, it is usually okay for all cats to eat this diet. It is only available with a prescription from a vet and is somewhat expensive. In the end it will save money by greatly reducing the chance of bladder stone recurrence. .
From M Teiber DVM 60 days ago
Not the right breed for everyone...
Let me start by saying that I am an animal lover and especially a cat lover. However, the Sphynx presents a unique challenge due to the significant lack of hair and potential health problems associated with the breed.
There are positives, however, that come with the breed as well. Our cat was very loving and kind and seemed to understand (at least better than our other cats) that bathes were a necessary part of keeping him healthy. He also was very playful and loved spending time with games and even played "fetch" with us.
Sadly, this breed has a history of medical issues associated with it that caused some problems for us. Oils can build up on the skin and cause dermatology issues due to the lack of hair. This meant bathing him once a week and, as already mentioned, he seemed to handle this well. However, it is time consuming and also involved cleaning his ears. And while we did not have any issues with our cat, they do have a history of heart disease as well.
Sadly, we did not have the time with our work schedule to continue to take care of our Sphynx after a year. We ended up giving him to a friend who not only had the time and energy but also the experience of working with a Sphynx.
I believe that given the right circumstances (namely not having five other cats and several dogs) we would have loved to have kept our Sphynx. My recommendation would be to go into ownership with the knowledge that there are several significant time consuming activities and health issues to consider. This is not the kind of cat that can be left to it's own devices sans feeding time. But in a loving home that has the time and abilities to take care of it properly, this is a lovely cat to have..
From jarodmt Mar 9 2014 4:28PM