How to Feed the Sphynx – a Hairless Cat with a Mighty Appetite?
In 1960’s Toronto, a shorthaired cat named Elizabeth gave birth to the kitten that would take his place in history as the progenitor of the Canadian Hairless breed, later called the Sphynx.
This unusual kitten was named Prune – a reference to the smooth, wrinkled appearance of his hairless body. After his owners recognized the breed potential of a kitten who looked like an alien prune, this kitten’s birth lead to a decade of selective breeding. Eventually, the world’s first natural litters of hairless cats were born and the Canadian Hairless cat was a reality.
Sphynx cats don’t have thick fur coats like most cats do, but are instead covered in a fine, soft fuzz. Some describe them as feeling like a warm peach to the touch. A few Sphynx cats are born with almost completely bare skin. These are described as “sticky bald” and feel a bit rubbery to the touch.
Their lack of fur makes the Sphynx a cat who can’t resist a fireplace or blanket fort – it’s not unusual for these cats to tolerate a sweater or jacket in cold weather. Perhaps because they require more external heat than most cats, Sphynx cats are extraordinarily clingy, always apt to snuggle up with a human.
At a Glance: Best Cat Food for Sphynx Cats to Buy
Want a quick look at the products reviewed in this article? In the comparison table below, we’ve highlighted some of the most important features of each product. You’ll find more detailed information about each product later in the article.
Smalls Cat Food
|Get 25% Off Your First Order|
Stella & Chewy's Duck Duck Goose Dinner
Wellness CORE Natural Grain Free
What Are Sphynx Cats’ Unique Dietary Needs?
Like all cats, the Sphynx breed requires a species-appropriate food that nourishes them according to their natural biological needs.
Because Sphynx cats have so little hair on their bodies, a healthy, high-quality diet is critical to maintaining the health of their skin. The skin produces natural, moisturizing oils. If a Sphynx cat is not eating a high-quality diet, their skin will compensate by overproducing oils, leading to skin problems.
In addition to the need to maintain good skin health, there are a couple of things to bear in mind when choosing food for your Sphynx.
They Have A High Metabolism
Because the Sphynx cat has no fur, their metabolism works overtime to keep their body warm without the use of a fur coat. The Sphynx’s skin temperature is about 4 degrees higher than that of the average cat.
Some Sphynx guardians observe that their hairless Sphynx kitties are both more food-oriented and less finicky than their furred housemates.
Because they have such fast metabolisms and, as a consequence, almost insatiable appetites, some recommend feeding Sphynx cats multiple small meals throughout the day. This is a good idea for the active Sphynx metabolism and appropriate for cats of every breed. As predators, cats benefit from eating multiple tiny meals throughout the day.
Because it’s easy and safe to leave kibble in a bowl all day, some suggest that dry diets are best for the Sphynx. However, using dry food to constantly satisfy your Sphynx cat’s appetite is a short-sighted approach. You’re supporting their ravenous appetite, but you’re also giving your cat a dehydrating food that may fall short of providing adequate nourishment.
So, What’s The Ideal Approach?
If you have the time, give your Sphynx three or more small, moisture-rich meals throughout the day. If you aren’t able to feed your cat that frequently, two meals a day will work just as well. Choose a calorie-dense food with hearty doses of fat and protein.
They Are Prone To Digestive Problems
Compared with other breeds, Sphynx cats are more prone to various digestive problems, such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome, because they have particularly sensitive tummies and intestines. The personal stories of Sphynx owners attest to this. After reading numerous stories on Sphynx forums and other sites, it looks like something is going on in the Sphynx digestive system.
Sphynx guardians tell stories of reeking litter boxes, paws packed with poop, and repeatedly refer to loose bowels. These stinky symptoms support a connection between the Sphynx breed and digestive issues.
If you find that your cat’s waste smells unusually foul, it’s time for a change in diet. Diets packed with grains and other high-carbohydrate ingredients contribute to the amount of waste that your cat produces. With more waste comes intensified odor in the litter box.
A low-residue diet would be ideal for your Sphynx. Low-residue diets are moisture-rich and primarily contain ingredients, such as low-fat animal protein, that are easy to digest. Thus, these diets give the digestive system a break and reduce waste.
Top 5 Best Cat Foods For Sphynx Cats
Most Sphynx cats need nothing more or less than the same high-quality food you might give another cat breed.
If your Sphynx suffers from digestive issues, though, consult with your veterinarian to determine the cause and figure out a treatment plan. For example, treatment could include a dietary change to eliminate potential allergens and avoid high-waste ingredients like grains and other high-carbohydrate fillers.
You don’t need to buy a breed-specific food for your Sphynx cat. Royal Canin sells a food made and marketed specifically for Sphynx cats, but this food is a dry kibble with brewers rice as the first ingredient.
Remember: Being hairless doesn’t mean that the Sphynx doesn’t require the same high-quality nutrition that every cat deserves.
Smalls Cat Food
Sphynx cats demand a low-residue diet and Smalls delivers, with an ingredient list that focuses on natural, human-grade meats as the first several ingredients. Very small amounts of green vegetable are included, mimicking the digestive contents found in natural prey.
High moisture plus a complete spectrum of added nutrients round out the list. Smalls cat food is grain-free, supporting sensitive Sphynx digestive systems. Simply complete a questionnaire about your cat, and Smalls formulates your pet’s food to order before delivering it fresh to your door.
Finely Ground Chicken with Bone, Chicken Heart, Chicken Liver, Chicken Gizzard, Chicken Egg, Goat’s Milk, Water, Eggshell Membrane, Herring Oil, Mixed Tocopherols, D-Alpha Tocopherol
|Crude Protein||45% min|
|Crude Fat||15% min|
|Crude Fiber||3% min|
- Real human-grade meats are the primary ingredients
- No fillers, such as wheat or corn
- Three flavors, including turkey, beef, and chicken
- Made to order, so you can feed your Sphynx cat the diet they need and prefer
- Priced above average market cost
- Must be kept cold until mealtime
Stella & Chewy’s Duck Duck Goose Dinner Grain-Free Freeze-Dried Cat Food Review
Nourish your Sphynx’s active appetite with this high-energy blend of bone-in duck, goose, and turkey.
This freeze-dried food harnesses the species-appropriate nourishment of raw meat and organs while eliminating the pathogens that might hitch a ride. Because it’s freeze-dried, the food is shelf-stable and safe to handle, making it a more convenient choice than raw food.
The recipe is 98% poultry, organs, and bone. The rest of the recipe includes probiotics to support your Sphynx’s digestive health, along with additional vitamins, minerals, and amino acids.
Duck With Ground Bone, Turkey With Ground Bone, Turkey Liver, Goose, Turkey Gizzard, Pumpkin Seed, Potassium Chloride, Sodium Phosphate, Choline Chloride, Dried Pediococcus Acidilactici Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus Acidophilus Fermentation Product, Dried Bifidobacterium Longum Fermentation Product, Dried Bacillus Coagulans Fermentation Product, Taurine, Tocopherols (Preservative), Dandelion, Dried Kelp, Zinc Proteinate, Iron Proteinate, Vitamin A Supplement, Vitamin E Supplement, Niacin Supplement, Copper Proteinate, Riboflavin Supplement, Sodium Selenite, D-Calcium Pantothenate, Biotin, Manganese Proteinate, Thiamine Mononitrate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Folic Acid, Vitamin B12 Supplement.
|Crude Protein||40% min|
|Crude Fat||30% min|
|Crude Fiber||5% min|
- Harnesses the nourishing power of raw meat
- Made with a slim ingredient list
- Formulated with probiotics for digestive health
- Made without fillers, grains, and other high-waste ingredients
- Made without any of the top cat food allergens
- Freeze-dried food requires rehydration before serving
Wellness CORE Natural Grain Free Smooth Turkey & Duck Canned Cat Food
The dry version of this food is recommended by Catological as one of the best foods for your Sphynx kitty. This Wellness CORE food is primarily made from meat ingredients, is rich in highly-digestible protein, and is free from grains, potatoes, corn, soy, wheat, and artificial ingredients.
The inclusion of omega-3-rich salmon oil helps to keep your Sphynx’s skin supple and minimizes inflammation in the body, while a trace of yucca schidigera extract may be able to minimize stool odors.
Turkey, Pork Liver, Turkey Broth, Duck, Cranberries, Guar Gum, Ground Flaxseed, Potassium Chloride, Choline Chloride, Taurine, Cassia Gum, Xanthan Gum, Dried Kelp, Chicory Root Extract, Yucca Schidigera Extract, Alfalfa Meal, Salt, Iron Proteinate, Zinc Proteinate, Thiamine Mononitrate, Vitamin E Supplement, Copper Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate, Sodium Selenite, Niacin Supplement, d-Calcium Pantothenate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin Supplement, Vitamin A Supplement, Biotin, Potassium Iodide, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Folic Acid.
|Crude Protein||12% min|
|Crude Fat||8% min|
|Crude Fiber||1% min|
- High meat content with muscle meat and organs
- Made without corn, soy, and wheat
- Features turkey, pork, and duck, none of which are top allergens
- Grain-free with no simple carbs or artificial ingredients
- Contains alfalfa meal, a high-protein filler
Instinct by Nature’s Variety Original Grain-Free Real Duck Recipe Natural Wet Canned Cat Food Review
Duck is a high-fat meat, making it perfect for your Sphynx’s high energy needs.
This meat-based pate is composed of 95% duck and turkey liver, so there’s very little in this food that isn’t highly-digestible, high-quality energy for your cat. No corn, soy, wheat, or simple carbohydrates contribute to the remaining 5% of the recipe.
The food isn’t perfect. Instead of fish oil, it’s made with ground flaxseed, which isn’t an ideal source of the omega-3 fatty acids that could help keep your cat’s coat healthy and limit inflammation.
Duck, Turkey Liver, Duck Broth, Ground Flaxseed, Montmorillonite Clay, Peas, Potassium Chloride, Carrots, Salt, Minerals (Iron Proteinate, Zinc Proteinate, Copper Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate, Sodium Selenite, Potassium Iodide), Choline Chloride, Vitamins (Vitamin E Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate, Niacin Supplement, d-Calcium Pantothenate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin Supplement, Vitamin A Supplement, Biotin, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Folic Acid), Taurine, L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate, Menhaden Fish Oil (preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Artichokes, Cranberries, Pumpkin, Tomato, Blueberries, Broccoli, Cabbage, Kale, Parsley
|Crude Protein||9% min|
|Crude Fat||7% min|
|Crude Fiber||3% min|
- Contains hearty amounts of animal protein and fat to fuel your Sphynx’s active metabolism
- 95% duck and turkey liver with minimal plant content
- Moisture-rich canned food
- Grain-free with no corn, soy, or wheat
- Contains flaxseed instead of fish oil as a source of omega-3 fatty acids
Primal Turkey Formula Nuggets Grain-Free Raw Freeze-Dried Cat Food Review
If, like many cat parents, you want to feed your Sphynx cat raw food, these freeze-dried nuggets might be a convenient solution. These raw nuggets are turkey-based and don’t contain any of the most common cat food allergens.
Fresh meat, organs, and finely-ground raw bones constitute 97% of the recipe. For an obligate carnivore, these are biologically-appropriate sources of vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, and amino acids. The recipe also includes sardine oil and cod liver oil for a skin-nourishing fatty acid boost.
Turkey, Turkey Necks, Turkey Hearts, Turkey Livers, Organic Collard Greens, Organic Squash, Organic Celery, Cranberries, Blueberries, Organic Pumpkin Seeds, Organic Sunflower Seeds, Montmorillonite Clay, Organic Apple Cider Vinegar, Sardine Oil, Taurine, Organic Quinoa Sprout Powder, Dried Organic Kelp, Organic Cilantro, Organic Coconut Oil, Cod Liver Oil, Organic Ginger, Vitamin E Supplement, Mixed Tocopherols (Natural Preservative).
|Crude Protein||57% min|
|Crude Fat||23% min|
|Crude Fiber||2% min|
- Made from minimally-processed raw meat
- Freeze-dried for safety and shelf-stability
- Low in carbohydrates and made without fillers
- Calorie dense to support your Sphynx’s high energy requirements
- You’ll need to rehydrate the food before serving
Ziwi Peak Air-Dried Beef Cat Food Review
For Sphynx cats who are miserable unless they can eat throughout the day, these jerky-esque bits of dehydrated meat make a perfect supplemental meal. Because this is a dehydrated food, it’s important to pair it with something moisture-rich.
This formula from Ziwi Peak is made with simply dehydrated beef muscle meat, organs, and bones, along with tripe and green-lipped mussel. Each scoopful of this calorie-dense food delivers an energy punch unequaled by almost any other food on the market.
Beef, Beef Heart, Beef Kidney, Beef Tripe, Beef Liver, Beef Lung, New Zealand Green Mussel, Beef Bone, Lecithin, Inulin from Chicory, Dried Kelp, Minerals (Dipotassium Phosphate, Magnesium Sulfate, Zinc Amino Acid Complex, Copper Amino Acid Complex, Iron Amino Acid Complex, Manganese Amino Acid Complex, Sodium Selenite), Salt, Preservative (Citric Acid, Mixed Tocopherols), Vitamins (Choline Chloride, Thiamine Mononitrate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Folic Acid, Vitamin D3 Supplement), DL-Methionine, Taurine.
|Crude Protein||38% min|
|Crude Fat||30% min|
|Crude Fiber||2% min|
- Made from highly-digestible meat
- Minimally-processed food locks in the nutrient value of raw meat
- Protein-rich and calorie-dense
- Easy for your Sphynx to eat throughout the day
- Moisture-depleted dehydrated food shouldn’t be the only product your cat eats
About the author
Mallory Crusta is a writer and adventurecat enthusiast on a mission to make cats’ lives extraordinary. She’s one of the founders of Wildernesscat – a site for happy, healthy, and adventurous cats who are fueled by nature. Visit Wildernesscat for radically natural cat nutrition, home remedies, and lifestyle inspiration.