Our Pets

13 Things about sphynx cats you need to know

So The Hubby and I have two cats. They are Sphynx cats, so not your average run of the mill cats. This leads to a lot of stares, rude comments or people thinking they are being funny. People have called them gremlins or used the “why is your cat inside out” joke from Friends. I have learned to shrug it off for the most part. But I would be lying if I said it didn’t bug me. But in any case, if you’re here then you want to know more and that makes me happy. I honestly believe the sphynx breed is the best cat breed out there. So let me try to answer any questions you may have and show you why I love them so much.

First a little history on the breed

First, let’s begin with a little history on the Sphynx breed or as it is known scientifically, Felis catus.  It originated in Toronto, Canada (amazing eh?) back in 1966 when a hairless kitten (named Prune) was born to a black and white domestic shorthair.   Then in 1978, a cat breeder in Ontario found three hairless kittens on the street in her neighbourhood.   There was yet another occurrence in Minnesota, where there was an occurrence of hairless kittens. These kittens were born to domestic shorthair barn cats.  Two of these females, Epidermis (1975) and Dermis (1976) helped to lay the foundation of the breed.

sphynx cat

What do sphynx cats feel like?

A question that comes up all the time is do sphynx cats have hair? The answer is both yes and no. Take our two for instance. Miss Kitty always has a velvety fuzz, that occasionally gets longer and then falls out again. On the other hand, Lion-o doesn’t have a lick of hair on him (other than his nose and ears) and never has. He is what is known as a “sticky-bald”.

Can they get sunburnt?

Yes, they can! The lack of fur means that Sphynx cats can easily get sunburnt. This is another reason I would never take ours outside. So you must make sure that they don’t get exposed to too much sun.

Do they have whiskers?

It depends. Miss Kitty doesn’t have any and Lion-o has a few short scraggly ones. But I have seen pictures of Sphynx cats with quite a few but for the most part no they don’t. But like with just about everything about the Sphynx there isn’t a single yes or no answer!

Can sphynx cats get fleas?

Yup, yup they can! All that is needed for fleas is to have a warmblooded animal. So the fact of not really having fur doesn’t make a Sphynx cat immune. What it does do, is make the fleas and any bites easier to see.

Are Sphynx cats hypoallergenic?

There are no truly hypoallergenic cats, including the Sphynx. A lot of people with allergies react to cat saliva and skin proteins and these guys still have both of those. The fact that they don’t have typical fur and don’t shed in the normal way, may make them more tolerable for certain people. However, if you react to the oils on the fur, they may actually be worse as they can easily deposit oils on your skin or other surfaces. They also do still produce dander.

How do they stay warm?

Now that we have established that they don’t have much if any fur. You may be wondering how they stay warm. Or maybe you saw a picture of one wearing clothes. I would say their number one method of choice is lots and lots of snuggles! They are huge cuddle bugs! But they do naturally run about 4 degrees warmer than other cat breeds. This also leads to them eat A LOT. And don’t forget that what goes in must come out. So they also poop…like a ton! We make sure to feed our guys a very highquality cat food to make sure they are getting all the nutrients they need.

We did get them some outfits but for the most part, we don’t put them on. As I mentioned they run around like crazy, getting into everything and I worry about them getting caught on something and hurting themselves.

We do have loads of cat houses, blankets and beds around so they can easily snuggle up somewhere (usually together) to stay nice and toasty.

sphynx cat

Why are sphynx cats so awesome?

It’s hard to put exactly into words how different they are from other cats.  These are not the cats of the cats vs dog memes, where the dog is loving and the cat is plotting your demise or judging you.  These guys are often referred to as “puppy-cats” given their LOVE of being with people. Like at all times, no matter what (you think) you need to be doing they have other ideas.  They have a tendency to greet you at the door when you come home from work, which I love!

Miss Kitty will follow me from room to room, and even comes when I call.  Lion-o, on the other hand, loves The Hubby and is happiest when he is nuzzling in his beard or causing a ruckus somewhere in the house.  They are known for being extroverts, with boundless energy, curiosity and intelligence, my two definitely live up to all these characteristics of the breed.  

They are very energetic and acrobatic cats, they literally get into everything. Forget pushing stuff off tables, these guys are pulling things out of closets (seriously, I’m not kidding).

They are on top of and inside of EVERYTHING (that was why we invested in a Catastrophic Creation for them)!  I still want to get them a cat wheel (no I’m not crazy, well maybe a little). They are just so energetic, they love to jump and climb. They just adore their cat house and cat condo. One minute they are eating my (safe) houseplants and the next they are on top of the refrigerator. But I wouldn’t change it for the world.  While a lot of people (according to what I see on Instagram) take their sphynx cats outside. I wouldn’t recommend it and would never take mine out. It just isn’t worth the risk.  That meant I had to bring the outside (well plants at least) to them. So I made them an indoor cat garden (I will post a link to my DIY soon).

How are Sphynx cats with other pets?

This is hard to answer. Generally, as a breed and given how affectionate they are I would say you have a better chance of a Sphynx cat getting along with other pets than a different breed of cat. But then each one is different and may or may not like any given pet or person. Miss Kitty loves anyone and everyone human or animal. Lion-o is much more selective. He is not fond of Bacon (our dog) and he hangs pretty close to The Hubby at all times.

They definitely do not like to be alone, that was one of the reasons we got two. That and we were hooked after we got Miss Kitty. So it is always good for them to have a buddy if you are going to be away at work all day.

Do they need baths?

This is probably one of the most contentious questions amongst Sphynx owners. They do produce oils which, due to the lack of fur, can then find their way onto clothes, carpets….any surface really. The Hubby gleefully calls them KFC-cats.  When we first got our two I gave them a bath about every three weeks. Some people bathe every week. After doing some research I found more and more people saying they stopped bathing their babies and they were cleaner! So now I give them a quick rinse about every six months or whenever they are really dirty.

If you do wash them then make sure to use something gentle like unscented baby shampoo. You can also give them a once over with an unscented baby wipe.

Do Sphynx cats smell?

Yup, but I’m pretty sure if you sniff any animal they are going to “smell”. If you’re curious if they smell awful or something like that then I would say no. People joke about them smelling like mushroom soup or a potato. That just means it’s time to wash or wipe them down. But I really wouldn’t say our two smell of much at all.

sphynx cat

Why do Sphynx cats get blackhead?

Yup…like perpetual teenagers these guys are prone to blackheads. It varies cat to cat, Miss Kitty gets loads on her chin but Lion-o doesn’t get any there, but he does get them on his tail. It can be caused by a sensitivity to plastic, so it is always a good idea to only use stainless steel or porcelain food and water bowls for them. Also, their skin is completely exposed to the environment so it is easier for any dirt and debris to clog their pores.

Why are Sphynx cats so expensive?

They are not of your run of the mill breed and the price does reflect that.  Keep in mind that a cheap sphynx is NEVER a deal. You will most likely pay the difference in cost 10x over (or more) in health issues. So do yourself and your new baby a favour and go to a reputable breeder.  

Do they have health concerns?

Now onto the actual health-related issues.  The first is the greatest fear of any sphynx owner, a genetic disorder known as hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. It is more commonly known as HCM, and it is one of the most common diseases in cats. The sphynx breed just happens to have a much higher rate of occurrence of the disease than other breeds.  Due to this, there are currently studies being undertaken to try and determine the cause.  

The disease causes a thickening of portions of the heart, specifically in the wall of the left ventricle.  It is generally suggested that any sphynx owner take their cat to a certified cardiologist. This visit should happen yearly, in order to have them scanned for HCM. 

It is also important to make sure that the plants in your home are safe for your kitties. Check out my post on how to make an indoor cat garden for instructions and on 10 cat safe plants you can grow indoors (that also help clean the air).

sphynx cat

With all of that said, we love them both and would love another one. Hopefully, this information is helpful and answers any questions you have about this breed. If you have any other questions then drop me a comment below and I will get back to you. If you have a sphynx I would love to hear about your baby!  Oh and one last thing, I swear they poop more than any other breed of cat on the planet! One thing that I found that is a big help, is a decent litter box. I have tried the luuup litterbox , the rolling one but my favourite by far is the Cateco litterbox and its made in Canada so yay.

What is your favourite breed of cat?