Sphynx Breed Guide
Middle Age: 13 years
Life Span: 15 to 20 years
Sphynx cats are probably one of the most recognizable cat breeds, even if you know nothing about cats. This is because of their “nakedness,” or lack of fur. Their skin actually has very fine hair, kind of like human skin, but they look naked and wrinkly.
A History of Sphynx Cats
Sphynx cats, like other purebreds, are the result of selective breeding and are a younger breed than other mainstream kitties. Their origin dates back to the early 1960s when early breeding started in Europe. But the contemporary Sphynx we know and love today actually came from Toronto, Canada and was bred mostly in the 1970s. Today, breeders recognize two main lines of mutations – one from Minnesota and one from Canada.
Sphynx Cat Size and Physical Appearance
In addition to their hairless bodies, Sphynx cats have other notable characteristics that differentiate them from other cats. They are on the larger side of domesticated cats and have slender, athletic bodies. Because of this, they love to have fun and do best with owners who have time to play. Sphynx cats are also characterized by their large, pointed ears. These ears give the kitties an elf-like look and are the reason why Sphynx cats continue to win over hearts all over the world.
Although Sphynx cats don’t have fur, they still have the skin coloring of where the fur would be. This means that Sphynx cats come in many different patterns, including color-pointed, bi-color, tortoise, and more. And in fact, Sphynx cats aren’t completely hairless. They actually have short hair on their skin, similar to what humans have, and can have long whiskers like other cats.
Sphynx Cat Personality & Temperament
Sphynx kitties aren’t just extraordinary in terms of looks, they also have great personalities. These cats are athletic, alert, agile and are a constant source of fun for any owner lucky enough to have this breed. Maybe because of their oversized ears, or maybe because of their love of antics, they are often called “elf-like.”
Even though Sphynx cats are playful, they aren’t the best pick for families with young children or other animals. They prefer their alone time and love to be the center of attention with their owners. Although they aren’t the most affectionate breed, they are known to greet their owners at the door and follow them around the house like a puppy. And they love lounging, whether it is in a cat tower or on your bed.
Common Sphynx Cats Health Problems
When they come from a reputable breeder, Sphynx cats are actually very robust cats and live a long and healthy life. There are some common health problems associated with this breed, though, including temperature concerns, excessive body oil, and hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (or HCM).
Generally, cats use their hair to protect them from outside threats, extreme weather, and other concerns. But because Sphynx cats are virtually hairless, they must be treated with an extra level of care.
You may notice your Sphynx kitty seeking out warm spots, such as under the window or in the covers, and if you live in an area with harsh winters you will want to take this into consideration. The same also goes for hot weather because Sphynx cats can get sunburned. Don’t leave your Sphynx cat outside unattended for too long and always monitor his temperature and behavior.
Excess Body Oil
Some people might be interested in Sphynx cats because they think they are hypoallergenic and don’t require grooming because of their lack of fluff, but this isn’t necessarily the case. Sphynx cats require regular maintenance because they can accumulate excessive body oil. This oil is usually absorbed by a cat’s fur, but since Sphynx cats don’t have this luxury they have to be cleaned of their oil. Also, the oil is often what people who are allergic to cats are allergic to, not the hair.
Not specific to Sphynx cats, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) is the most common heart condition in cats. This disease causes the walls of the heart muscle to thicken and can cause the heart to increase in size. This is a genetically inherited condition, and a good breeder can check their lines for this condition.
But it is something to always be on the lookout for, even if your kitty has a clean bill of health. HCM ranges in severity and can be treated with supplements, herbs, and other natural remedies.
Sphynx Grooming Needs
Like mentioned earlier, even though Sphynx cats are hairless, they still require regular grooming. Their body oil will build up and because this is normally managed by a cat’s fur, it will be up to the owner to take care of. You can groom your Sphynx cat by giving him a gentle bath using baby shampoo.
Their large ears will also need to be cleaned to keep them looking fresh and to prevent ear infections. Lastly, like with all cats, adequate dental care is key. Make sure to regularly brush your kitty’s teeth and schedule dental cleanings when needed.
Are Sphynx Cats Good with Kids?
Generally, Sphynx cats are good with kids and other animals. They are extremely intelligent and curious, though, and this sometimes gets them into a little trouble. If you are planning on adding a Sphynx cat to your family, make sure everyone knows how to treat him with respect and care. They are a very loving breed and benefit from companionship, whether that is from you, your children, or another Sphynx kitty.
Sphynx Exercise Needs
Sphynx cats are an active breed and love to play. They are extremely curious and can often be found checking out what’s around every corner. That being said, they need a lot of attention and playtime to be happy. They should be primarily indoor cats, which means you and your family will enjoy a lot of stick toys, fetch, and cuddles.
Health Issues Associated with this Breed:
- Skin Issues