Sphynx Cat: The Ultimate Guide to Their History, Types, Characteristics, Temperament, And Care

The Sphynx cat is a hairless feline that has recently become quite the popular house pet. Let’s go over absolutely everything you need to know about the Sphynx before you decide whether or not to purchase one.

What's the nature of the breed?

The Sphynx cat is a very loving and energetic type of cat. These cats absolutely love being around people, playing with the best toys, getting attention, and just messing about in general. They are said to be quite smart and inquisitive, and they love to explore.

For some quick facts about Sphynx cats, check the video below:

They absolutely love puzzle and teaser toys that require them to solve some kind of problem and they are always on the lookout to get the attention from anyone who will give it to them. These cats do require lots of attention and they do great with people, kids, and other pets alike.

Origin and history of the breed

Although the Sphynx cat might sound as though it has its origins in Egypt, it does not – quite the opposite in fact. This breed of cat is not very old and got its start in 1966 in Toronto, Canada. There was a litter of domestic shorthair cats, and one of the kittens had a genetic mutation which resulted in it being hairless.

If you did not know, the Sphynx cat does not really have fur or hair at all. The hairless kitten was then bred in a way to continue their hairless look, and this the Sphynx cat was created, and was just recognized in 2002 as eligible for competitions and shows.

Physical standards of the breed

Health and possible diseases

Generally speaking, Sphynx cats are fairly healthy animals. They suffer from a couple of health issues, or at least many of them can. One of these is urticaria pigmentosa, which causes crusty sores on the skin, a result of being hairless.

Furthermore, they may also develop sunburn if left in the sun for too long, once again, a result of being hairless. Also, these cats may suffer from hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM), a hereditary heart disease which is known to affect this breed. Other than that, they have relatively few health issues that you need to be concerned about.

Grooming

You might think that because the Sphynx cat is hairless, that it does not require grooming, but the opposite is the case. In fact, they may very well require more grooming than a cat with fur. The reason for this is because their skin easily dries out, you need to apply moisturizer to them regularly, even so much as every single day.

You will also need to provide your Sphynx cat with weekly baths using a moisturizing shampoo to prevent greasy marks on your furniture. You might also want to use baby wipes in between baths to keep them clean. In terms of bathing, start at a young age so they get used to it.

You should also clean their ears out weekly using cotton balls and a mixture of water and cider vinegar. Additionally, these cats can suffer from dental disease, so daily tooth brushing is also a must, but weekly is better than nothing at all. The Sphynx cat is fairly high maintenance.

Height and size

The Sphynx cat is a relatively large cat and its shoulder blades can be as high as 20 inches, making it one of the larger domesticated cats you can purchase. They are big, and they have fairly hard and muscular bodies. It’s not like they are narrow per se, but their long build makes them look fairly slender. They have big wedge-shaped heads, with massive ears, and lemon-shaped eyes.

Weight

Your average Sphynx cat is going to weigh around 10 pounds, but can weigh anywhere from 8 to 12 pounds. They might have a long and tall build, but heavy they are not.

Activeness

Sphynx cats are indeed quite active. They require a lot of attention and are always getting into trouble or shenanigans, usually with the purpose of getting the attention of an owner.

They love to scratch and bite at toys, they love exploring, and have a high level of energy in general. They absolutely love getting and giving attention, especially when it comes to playing with friendly kids.

Hypoallergenic

In terms of being hypoallergenic, Sphynx cats are not hypoallergenic and they can cause allergic reactions. However, in the grand scheme of things, because they don’t really have any hair, and therefore do not deposit dander and hair everywhere, they are often recommended for people with allergies. No, they are not the best option for allergy sufferers, but much better than most cats with fur.

Lifespan

Sphynx cats do not get particularly old, at least not when compared to other cats. Their average lifespan is between 8 and 14 years, with 10 or 11 years being the age which most of these cats live to.

It is thought that their genetic mutation may have something to do with the relatively short lifespan of these cats, at least when compared to others.

Caring Difficulty

Sphynx cats are hard to care for. They need a lot of maintenance to stay healthy. They require weekly baths with moisturizer, daily moisturizing of the skin, if you put them in the sun, they should have sunscreen, and you need to ensure that their ears are clean, that their claws remain clipped, and much more.

They need a lot of attention from people and they love to play a lot, plus they have a tendency to get their claws into everything. It’s also recommended that you always keep the litter box as clean as possible, as they are pretty picky when it comes to litter box hygiene.

It is also recommended that you keep your Sphynx cat purely as an indoor animal.

Where to get a Sphynx Cat

Sphynx cats are not all that common around the world, but you can find certified breeders. They are prevalent in Canada and the US, as well as some parts of Europe.

You can find breeders around the world, but they are not high in number. Due to the health and skin issues which they can suffer from, you want to ensure that you go to a legitimate and certified breeder when purchasing one.

How much does a Sphynx Cat cost?

Sphynx cats, due to their special look and rarity, are also quite pricey. Expect to pay at least $1,800 for a kitten, or depending on the breeder and location, up to $2,500 per kitten. These are not cheap animals to purchase.

Choosing the right type of Sphynx Cat

To be fair, there are no different types of these cats. Yes, there are other hairless cats, but not other types of Sphynx cats. With that said, you do have a variety of patterns and colors to choose from.

The most important thing to look for is that you get your cat from a certified or trustworthy breeder that will provide you with the proper papers. You may want to inquire about the family history of the cat, especially in relation to genetics and predispositions for disease.

Responsibilities to consider in the care of a Sphynx Cat

What do they require?

As mentioned before, these cats require a lot of care. Weekly baths, daily moisturizing, weekly ear cleanings, monthly claw clippings, eye wiping, and more are all things you need to do. You need to give them lots of attention, toys, and if they go outdoors, they even need sunscreen too.

Do they need a certain level of care and attention?

Yes, the Sphynx cat needs a lot of attention. Their nickname is the “look at me cat,” which is because they are attention hungry and always want people to play with them.

They are highly social animals that do not like to be bored, inactive, or alone. They need a lot of care and attention, in more ways than one.

Characteristics of Sphynx Cats

Behavior

These cats love attention, and their behavior is dictated by it. They want to play and they will follow you around the home ceaselessly in order to gain your attention.

They want to be involved in everything and anything you are doing. Thankfully they are fairly friendly and well-socialized.

Pattern

These cats can come in all kinds of patterns and colors. They can be solid colored, tortoise, bi-color, calico, shaded, smoky, tabby, shaded, and have other patterns too. In terms of color, they come in a whole lot of those too.

Affectionate

The Sphynx cat is very affectionate, even overly so. They always want to be with people and they love attention from anybody and everybody.

They don’t mind sitting in a lap or being picked up on occasion, but they are not huge fans of these things. Something they definitely enjoy is a nice belly rub.

Dog/child-friendly

These cats are very sociable and they do fine with kids and pets. Keep in mind to teach your kids to respect the cat, as they can get annoyed if kids are too rough with them.

Intelligence

Sphynx cats are highly intelligent, curious, and inquisitive. They love playing with toys, especially those which pose a problem or resemble a puzzle of sorts.

Energy

These are high-energy cats that are always on the move, playing, doing something, and want to be the center of attention.

Maintenance

As we have covered in depth above, yes, these are very high maintenance cats that need a ton of care and attention.

Types of Sphynx Cats

There are other hairless cats out there, but there is only one type of Sphynx cat.

Color and Pattern

They can be solid colored, tortoise, bi-color, calico, shaded, smoky, tabby, and shaded, and can come in colors such as White, black, blue, red, cream, silver, golden, cameo, tortoiseshell, blue-cream, and brown.

Conclusion

If you don’t mind having a high-energy, highly social, and inquisitive cat that is always on the move, one that needs a lot of care and attention, the Sphynx cat might be right for you.