The Sphynx Cat: Bald and Beautiful

Last Updated on March 18, 2022 by Holly Anne Dustin

The Sphynx cat is a natural breed. The hairless “coat” of this breed results from a recessive gene mutation. Sphynx cats are not the perfect pet for everyone. Some people find their bald, naked look creepy, but they seem to be popular with celebrities right now. They need a lot of special care because of their lack of fur and outgoing “velcro cat” nature. If you don’t mind their look, these extroverts might be the perfect cat for you.

History of the Sphynx Cat

Is the Sphynx cat originally Egyptian? It might seem so. The name teases it. And their lack of fur is suited to the desert. But actually the foundation cats of today’s Sphynx breed were born in 1966 in Toronto, Canada.

The hairless “coat” is a natural mutation. Breeders have bred Sphynx cats to normal coated cats and back to hairless cats to create the Sphynx cat we know today. The American Shorthair and Devon Rex breeds are now the only allowable outcrosses. The hairless gene is recessive. Breeding a hairless cat to a furry cat will cause a litter of furred cats. When one of those furred cat breeds with a hairless cat, half the litter will be hairless.

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The Cat Fanciers Association (CFA) accepted Sphynx for competition in the Championship class in February 2002. The International Cat Association (TICA) recognized the breed in 1979.

Appearance of a Breed Standard Sphynx Cat

Body:

Sphynx are medium-sized, substantial cats. They have a broad, rounded, muscular appearance. Their legs are longer than the front when the cat is standing. Paws are oval with well-knuckled toes. The paw pads are thick, giving the appearance of walking on cushions. They have a slender, whippy tail.

Head:

They have an intelligent expression with extra wrinkling on their head. A Sphynx head is a modified wedge, slightly longer than it is wide, with prominent cheekbones, firm chin, and prominent whisker pads in a square muzzle. They rarely have whiskers, but short, sparse ones are okay.

Ears:

They have very large ears, neither low set nor set on the top of the head without “furnishings” (fur in the ears.)

Eyes:

Sphynx cats have large, lemon-shaped eyes, with a wide-open center and coming to a definite point on each side. Placement should be at a slight upward angle with at least an eye-width apart. They have a wide-eyed, inquisitive look. All eye colors are acceptable.

Coat:

The nose should be the same as a furred cat. The body coat ranges from hairless to soft peach fuzz. Sphynx cats should not look like a Devon or Cornish Rex that is molting. All colors and patterns and combination are allowable.

A fur coat is not acceptable. The hybrid furred cats that result in a Sphynx breeding can only show in the household companion cat classes. They are still registered for breeding purposes.

pair of sphynx cats
Sphynx cats really like to have a buddy to play and cuddle with

Personality of Sphynx Cats

They are outgoing, energetic and intelligent. They love being the center of attention. They require a lot of stimulation or they can become difficult to live with if they don’t get it. It is difficult to ignore a Sphynx when it wants your attention. They are vocal cats that like to chat with you.

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Are Sphynx Cats Friendly?

They are. A study in 2012 rated the Sphynx the most affectionate cat. Sphynx cats have a sweet nature. They love cuddling and resting on your lap when they aren’t working hard to entertain you. Sphynx cats enjoy each other’s company. They also get along with dogs and other cats. But they’ll choose you first, given the choice. Sphynx kitties are a good choice for families with children. It is a gentle breed.

How long do Sphynx cats live?

Typically, a quality bred Sphynx will live an average of 9-15 years.

Do Sphynx Cats have health problems?

The Sphynx overall is a healthy cat. The breed doesn’t have a lot of inherited conditions. Sphynx cats are prone to some conditions, including hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, a heart condition that can affect any breed of cat, and dental disease. The most serious problems that they face are skin conditions and skin cancer. Keeping your Sphynx cat indoors, reducing sun exposure, and keeping him properly groomed will keep him in excellent condition.

Are Sphynx Cats High Maintenance?

Yes, besides their velcro cat personality, they need a lot of grooming. You wouldn’t think a hairless cat would require that level of attention, but they do. Sphynx cats are greasy. They will smell and leave stains on your furniture unless they are bathed weekly. You’ll spend almost as much time grooming a Sphynx as you would a Persian or Ragdoll.

You must consider things like hypoallergenic cleaning products, because Sphynx cats are prone to skin irritations and rashes. Sphynx have a fast metabolism and a sensitive digestive system. They need more food than the average cat, in small meals throughout the day.

Read this post to learn more about how to care for hairless cats.

Do Sphynx Cats Need Clothes

Sphynx cats get cold, and it will help keep the grease from his fur off your sofa. Sphynx don’t need clothes, but as long as it doesn’t irritate them, they can wear them. And it is cute to see them in their little sweaters.

Are Sphynx Cats Hypoallergenic?

People assume that Sphynx cats are great options for people with cat allergies because they have no fur. Actually, they aren’t any less allergenic than a furred cat. It isn’t the fur that causes allergies; it is the dander caused by the protein in Kitty’s saliva deposited on his skin. Because their guardians bathe Sphynx cats regularly, they remove the dander. So it is possible that someone might have less trouble with allergic reactions. Or not. You need to hang out with the cat you want to purchase and see if you react.

Watch these little Sphynx kittens play and cuddle

Is the Sphynx Cat the Right Pet for You?

The Sphynx is not a beginner’s cat. You need to groom them weekly and be careful with their diet. They will get lonely if you are not home during the day and really need a friend to keep them happy. If you aren’t up for the grooming but like the personality, consider adopting a sphynx cat with fur, they make great pets!

If you want to show your Sphynx, be sure you work with a preservation breeder to choose a kitty that will meet the show standards. Expect to pay a pretty penny for a quality cat. Expect to pay 2-6k depending on age, gender, pedigree, and breeder. Be careful who you work with. Sadly, the Sphynx cat has been used, much like the poodle in the dog world, to create a variety of yet unrecognized designer breeds.

Looking for a different breed? Check our list of breed profiles here.

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3 thoughts on “The Sphynx Cat: Bald and Beautiful”

  1. At my first BlogPaws, I was surprised to meet a Sphynx from a local rescue. The cat was still a kitten and I couldn’t help but get a bit judgmental toward the people who surrendered him when the rescue workers said people don’t understand Sphynx’s unique needs before adopting them. Between that and the faulty assumption that one can’t be allergic to Sphynx, I feel bad for all these poor Sphynx cats caught in the middle. There’s one cat blogger in particular that I had a knock down drag out fight over whether Sphynx are actually “hypo-allergenic.” If bloggers can’t even get it right …

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