About the Sphynx Cat
If you’re looking for a friendly cat with a big personality, the Sphynx might be ideal. Bonus points if you’re hoping for a pet that doesn’t shed, as these hairless cats are either completely hairless or are covered in the barest layer of fine, velvety down.
With bold features and an intense gaze, the Sphynx may not appear to be the friendliest cat on the planet, but don’t let this kitty’s looks deceive you! The Sphynx is a gregarious, personable cat with lots of love to share with everyone, including strangers and other pets. Quick to greet their family members at the door and just as fast to hop under the covers when bedtime arrives, Sphynx cats take every possible opportunity to socialize.
Without adequate companionship, the Sphynx quickly becomes despondent, bored, and destructive. These kitties absolutely hate to be left alone, and while they’re spending time with you, they have a tendency to offer unsolicited help and advice. Loud meows can give way to unrelenting wails if you try to confine a Sphynx to its own space, making these cats unsuitable for families that don’t want a high level of involvement from their pet.
Last but not least, Sphynx cats need to be kept warm and protected from the elements. These cats can’t live outdoors where they’ll suffer from sunburn and windburn, and even inside, they look for the warmest possible place to rest. Offer a heated cat bed, and you’ll know exactly where to find your Sphynx when it’s time to play.
High-quality food is essential for Sphynx cats, as lower-quality cat food can lead to serious skin problems and cause excess oil production. Look for a brand that’s high in protein and low in carbohydrates, and that incorporates real meat or fish as the primary ingredient.
You might think that the Sphynx cat requires very little in terms of grooming; in fact, the opposite is true. These cats might not need brushing, but they do require fairly frequent bathing to remove excess oil that can lead to greasy buildup and irritation. Look for a mild cat shampoo and use warm water that feels comfortable to your own skin. These cats cannot tolerate temperature extremes at all.
Check your cat’s ears frequently, as well. If you notice debris deep inside the ear, have your vet or a professional groomer provide cleaning. Between deep cleanings, wipe away greasy residue with a cotton ball that has been moistened with a mild solution of 50% water and 50% vinegar.
At-home dental care can help keep your cat healthier for a lifetime, so consider brushing their teeth regularly. Feline toothpaste comes in flavors cats enjoy, making this task a bit easier once they know what to expect.
Sphynx cats are prone to buildup between their toes, so you should wash their paws a few times per week to help prevent infections from occurring. It’s a good idea to clip your cat’s toenails regularly, too. This routine is simplest when you start from a young age; with time, your cat will accept it without making too much of a fuss.
Sphynx cats are capable athletes with strong, sinewy muscles. These kitties get lots of exercise following their people around and playing with other pets, but they appreciate opportunities to jump and climb just as much as their furry cousins do! A comfy cat condo, a scratching post, and plenty of toys will help keep your Sphynx in great shape.
Unfortunately, Sphynx cats do have some known health issues including a tendency to suffer from heart disease including hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. In addition, some Sphynx are prone to an inherited neuromuscular disorder called congenital myasthenic syndrome (CMS).
These cats are also prone to periodontal disease, making routine cleaning essential. Skin irritation can happen with some frequency, making these cats a bit more high-maintenance than those with fur.
There are quite a few stories about the origins of the Sphynx cat. Feline geneticists believe that the Sphynx we know today might share some similarities with Aztec or Mexican hairless cats, which were last documented in the early 1900s.
The Sphynx cat breed as we know it today got its start in 1966, when a hairless kitten named Prune was born in Roncesvalles, Toronto. When Prune reached maturity, he was mated back to his mother, and another hairless kitten was born. These cats, along with a few other hairless cats of unknown origin, created the foundation for the Canadian Sphynx line.
Unfortunately, the breed had a very difficult start due to limited genetics. In the 1970s, Prune’s last two descendants – a male and female – were sent to Holland. Efforts to save the Sphynx were fruitless even though two more hairless females were sent to Holland in 1978 and 1980, where they were bred without success to Prune’s last male heir.
Breeders didn’t give up in their quest. Instead, they paired the hairless females with Devon Rex studs. Two more hairless females – aptly named Dermis and Epidermis – were found in a Minnesota barn, and were added to the Sphynx breeding program. Later, more hairless cats from Minnesota joined in, along with some from Arkansas and Texas.
After genetic diversity was achieved, many Sphynx cat breeders stopped using Devon Rex for outcrossing due to a higher rate of health problems. Devon Rex outcrosses are still seen in Europe, but other associations allow only for outcrossing with select breeds including American Shorthair, Domestic Shorthair, and Russian Blue.
Did You Know?
Sphynx cats are not hypoallergenic. Some people with cat allergies find that their symptoms worsen around hairless cats, while others find that they have no issues. If you are allergic to cats and you want a Sphynx, be sure to spend time with Sphynxes to see whether you have a reaction.
The Sphynx cat displays a wide range of markings on its skin, from solid colors to points to tabbies and harlequins.
Sphynx cat clothing is getting easier to find, as many families opt to help their pets stay warm by dressing them.
The Breed Standard
Legs & Paws
Frequently Asked Questions
How much does a Sphynx cat cost?
Sphynx cats cost between $1800 - $3000.
How big do Sphynx cats get?
Sphynx cats tend to be medium in size. A fully grown Sphynx cat might weigh between 8-16 pounds or more and range in height anywhere from about 8"- 10" inches tall.
How long do Sphynx cats live?
The Average lifespan for Sphynx is 13-14 years.