The Sphynx Cat Breed Explained

Sphynx cat

The Basics

  • Size: medium-large
  • Weight: 6-12 pounds
  • Lifespan: 8 – 14 years
  • Appearance: hairless with a smooth coat
  • Coat colors: cream, white, black, golden, brown, and tortoiseshell, etc…
  • The tendency to shed: very low

Cats are very interesting creatures indeed.

With their appearance they leave a powerful impression on people, and among them, one species is very impressive.

These are Sphynx cats, which are very characteristic because they do not have hair.

Their appearance is unusual, and people consider them to be a newer type of cat.

In the world of cats, they dominate in their intelligence and their fun behavior as well.

The Sphynx cat is a newer breed and people say it is one of the smartest in the cat kingdom.

Besides it’s impressive intelligence, it is interesting because of it’s appearance, which reminds some of aliens, since it’s body is without fur.

People often remember and recognize them by that, but not every fur-free cat is a Sphynx cat.

History Of The Sphynx Cat

Reports from some research indicate that the hairless nature of the Sphynx cat is probably a result of natural mutation.

The first clear information regarding this breed of cat was first available in the year of 1903, from a book that referred to it as the Mexican hairless.

Thereafter, the breed resurfaced in 1950 in Paris, France after a pair of Siamese cats gave birth to 3 little hairless kittens.

With the subsequent mating of these hairless cats in the future, they ended up producing the same hairless offsprings.

Besides that, evidence of the hairless cat breed was also found in North Carolina, Morocco, Toronto and Australia in the 1960’s.

But the core history of the Sphynx cat dates around 1975 when two Minnesota farm owners came across a hairless kitten on their farm.

This cat was later paired with another hairless cat breed before being sold to an Oregon breeder.

Since then, breeders took over and began to carefully try to perfect this cat breed.

Sometimes they would out cross it it with normal cats that have haired coats, and then use the offspring to produce “better quality” kittens.

Selective breeding has been responsible for the development of a vigorous and unique Sphynx cat breed that has a wider gene pool.

Impressive Origins

Although officially born in a new age, the history of the Sphynx cat dates deep into the past.

Fur-free cats reportedly existed in Aztec times, and the ancient Egyptians also admired them.

Similar animals have appeared in places throughout history, causing controversy, unique interpretations and even fear.

Today’s hairless cats, without a doubt are not a consequence of engineering, but a natural and spontaneous genetic mutation instead.

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Physical Characteristics

These are heavy and muscular cats that have a medium to large size in general.

What is conspicuous about them is their hairless coats, which is what most people immediately think of when they hear of these cats.

However, they have a fine gossamery that can’t be seen with bare eyes at first sight.

Apart from the suede-like skin, Sphynx cats have some wrinkles around the muzzle, between their ears and around the shoulder region.

Their lemon-shaped eyes are wide and slant slightly on the upper corners. With their hairless appearance, it is definitely no easy task to see if they have eyebrows and whiskers at all.

Their ears are also large and somewhat broad, and the tips are rounded.

Also, their ears are not set low.

Another feature that stands out is the prominent cheekbones that are responsible for the cat’s regal look and elegance.

Their playful and energetic nature is powered by the high metabolism they possess. (1.)

In addition to that, this breed of cat has longer hind legs compared to the front legs, plus a slightly long and tapered tail.

This cat has legs that are very strong and muscular, even if it may not look like it at first glance.

It is characteristic that the front legs are shorter than the back ones and they are also spaced apart but in a slight shape.

The long and thin toes on the paws of the cat gives it a special elegance.

The pads in the area of the paws are thick, so these cats often give the impression that they are gently drifting over some soft clouds as they walk with grace.


Many people think this cat would be much nicer if it had fur, but we would say that the lack of fur gives it a special charm.

However, although it’s skin is not covered with fur, this cat has tiny fluffy hairs that cover it’s body, so it’s skin is considered similar to an antelope.

If you pet these little animals, you will feel as if you are petting some kind of soft cloth and it is unbelievably soft to the touch.

According to the experiences of some cat fans, it is often said that when you pet it you will feel as if you were touching a warm peach.

Their Skin color can be different shades and it can vary in nine colors.

No Whiskers and No Eyelashes

Tiny hairs can also appear on the ears, legs or tail as well.

What distinguishes the Sphynx from other cats is that in most cases they do not have whiskers or eyelashes on them.

Some subspecies can have whiskers, but purebred Sphynx cats do in fact not have them.

It should be noted that their distinct muscle definition and the deep chest area are vital for their survival and their highly versatile nature.

Personality And Temperament

A Sphynx cat is people oriented so it definitely loves human attention and care.

It is social, mischievous, and active.

It’s highly intelligent nature, as well as playfulness, means that you will enjoy having it around your home, unless you don’t like such things of course.

If you love frequent cuddling sessions, then this cat is a great cuddle buddy without a doubt.

Sphynx cats are known to be a bit “talkative”, so if you do get yourself one you should be prepared for a few chats here and there.

These felines get very attached to their human and they are very sensitive, intelligent and cheerful as well.

It comes as no surprise that in 2016 it was declared the eight most popular cat breed in the world.

It is often said that the temperament of a Sphynx cat is perfect because they have so many interesting traits.

Scientists often jokingly say that they are a combination of a cat, a dog and a small child.

The reason for that is it’s behavior which is incredibly unique.

These cats have a dose of charm in their behavior, and the very same mystery that is present in all types of cats is very present here as well.

They are very interesting because they are so cheerful, so by performing various acrobatics, they will always manage to make you laugh and even remind you of a cheerful monkey at times.

They are also considered fine and cuddly.

For that reason, people equate their appearance with the child’s behavior.

They enjoy the attention and love of their owner and bond with him very quickly in most cases.

When you are at home, they will probably follow you every step of the way and talk to you in their special cat language.

They love to play and show no signs of aggression during the game mostly.

These cats often know how to remind their owners of a dog, because they follow them around waving their tail around and the loyalty they possess.

They love cuddles and enjoy when they feel loved and protected.

Sphynx cats will not like to be left alone at home on any occasion. They will suffer in those situations because they are very emotional.

The more people around it, the happier this cat tends to be, because it’s love for people is huge.

They are often curious and tireless, but that is also characteristic of cats regardless of their breed.

Caring For a Sphynx Cat

Caring for Sphynx cats is quite challenging but also easy if you understand their needs.

Naturally, cats normally produce oils on their skin just like we humans do.

However, a hairless cat such as this one isn’t able to wick any excess oil from it’s skin as it lacks fur.

This means that the oil will eventually accumulate and clog the cat’s skin.

Sphynx cats are not cats that you should keep out of the house because their place is exactly where you are.

If you thought to care for these cats did not require much time and attention, you are mistaken.

Although they do not have fur like other cats, they require a lot of care.

It is characteristic for them that they are prone to excessive sweating, so wipe their skin as often as you must with wet wipes that are intended for wiping a baby’s skin.

So, how do you care for a Sphynx cat?

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Skin and Ears

  • Weekly baths using warm water is important for clearing off excess oil from the skin.
  • For an effective cleaning process and development of healthy skin, make sure that you use a hypoallergenic and contaminant-free pet shampoo.
  • Carefully clear all the shampoo from your pet’s skin to minimize the chances of skin irritation.
  • Always use a clean and soft towel to effectively dry the cat’s skin to ensure that it doesn’t get too cold.

You should note that a poor cleaning process will be devastating to your cat’s skin, so it is of utmost importance that you do this right and thoroughly.

Don’t try to rush it, and take your time as it is important.

For instance, you must be gentle when cleaning the dry skin to avoid bruising it.

A gentle pat with a towel should be sufficient and you don’t want to rub it harshly.

Routinely use antibacterial soap for cleaning to prevent any breakouts of blackheads and acne as well.

Often take a look at your Sphynx cat’s ears as well.

Without fur, they can’t block debris from entering the ears or wick out any wax or dirt as easily.

So, use cotton balls and an ear cleaner for pets to clean the ears very carefully and minimize the chances of infections by doing so.

The delicate skin of a Sphynx cat is very sensitive when it is exposed to sunlight, so you should take care of it when you take it outside.

Since the skin of the cat can turn black very quickly in the sun, in most cases some kind of skin burn can occur.

There are protective creams for their skin available on the market, so that would be great protection and prevention if you want to take your little buddy outside for a bit in the good weather.

Their eye care should also be done occasionally.

For that process, a cotton swab will serve you best, the same one that is used when removing make-up.

This will help prevent the development of various infections in the area.


Regular trimming of the nails is important as well.

This helps to prevent the cat from easily getting stuck on things such as carpets, clothes and blankets for example.

Nobody likes finding their beloved cat hanging on their expensive curtains wriggling around stuck…

Due to their lack of fur, they don’t have something protective to cover their claws.

This means that they will quickly grow long and exposed.

To protect them from accidentally scratching rough surfaces(or you), that may lead to them developing wounds, you should regularly trim their nails gently.

Train your little kitty while they are young to get used to nail clipping, then it won’t seem like such a big deal and it will make the whole thing much easier for everyone.

If you are unable to do it yourself though, then you can always simply take it to the vet for clipping.

It is better to to that actually, instead of trying it yourself if you don’t know what you are doing.

Comfort and Warmth

During the colder months such as fall and winter, these cats need warmth and comfort.

So, ensure that your pet has a cozy bed and enough soft blankets to keep them warm and comfortable.

There are also cute and comfy cat clothes that you can dress your cat in, but do make sure that they are clean and regularly washed to avoid skin infections.

One thing you need to know is that fur is important in regulating the internal body temperature.

For instance, it helps to wick out sweat during the hot summer months.

So, for a hairless cat breed such as this, regulating body temperature in summer and hotter months can become a bit difficult.

It is recommended that they are not given canned food in the winter if it is not reheated.

To cool them off, install fans or an air conditioner.

Alternatively, you can buy some cooling mats and make sure that your windows are open during the day for enough air circulation.

Generally, you need to change your home environment constantly depending on the season, to make your little friend as comfortable as you can.

Our little animals depend on us, and it is our duty to always keep their needs and well being in mind and as a priority in our lives.

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Sphynx Cats Health Problems

They are strong breeds of cats that have very few health problems thankfully.

Research and studies show that they don’t have a lot of genetic predispositions.

However, this doesn’t mean that these cats don’t suffer from some health complications, like most living things do.

Some of the potential health problems that can affect Sphynx cats include:

  • Frequent sunburns: they don’t have fur so letting your cat out, especially in summer means that they will be prone to sunburns.
  • Hereditary Myopathy: It is a medical condition that normally results in some difficulties when it comes to walking and muscle weakness. In case you get a good vet, then your cat can comfortably live with this condition which is good news.
  • Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy: it is a heart problem that cats often suffer from and so it is a common issue that’s found within the Sphynx cat population as well. The heart problem usually leads to the thickening of the heart muscles, leading to breathing problems as a result. However, you can considerably improve the quality of your pet’s life by taking it to a well experienced vet to help you out. (2.)
  • Respiratory issues: they commonly affect young sphynx cats. Because they lack skin hair, the kittens quickly pick up respiratory issues, especially lung infections. For your kittens to adapt and enjoy the surrounding environment, make sure your home is clean, and constantly take them to the vet for checkups.
  • Ocular infection: it is an eye problem that is also quite common in cats. However, you can treat it by using eye drops and other forms of eye therapy. Don’t try to fix it yourself though, seek out some professional help.
  • Digestive problems: This breed is also prone to gastro-intestinal issues but you can manage and cure most of them with the right treatment.
  • Urticaria Pigmentosa: it is a skin condition that is characterized by red and itching unpleasant bumps. It should be noted that they are also prone to acne at times due to their skin being in constant contact with the elements. To manage any skin issues, ask your vet to recommend some of the best creams that can help prevent acne breakouts. Additionally, don’t expose your cat to a harsh and dirty environment.

You need to understand that this cat breed may sometimes display it’s medical symptoms quite differently due to the lack of any fur.

So, you need to frequently take your cat to an experienced vet who has a strong background in dealing with cats, especially pure breeds.

Apart from the above-mentioned health issues, it is also good to understand that Sphynx cats are prone to dental issues sadly.

Generally, they have terrible teeth so they need frequent dental cleaning and sometimes the vet may be forced to do teeth extractions.


Hairless cats are often said to be an ideal choice for those who love cats but are allergic to them.

Is it true that these cats are hypoallergenic?

Yes, hairless breeds of cats are a better choice for people allergic to cat hair.

But not all hairless cats are hypoallergenic because of allergens in the fur but also in the sebaceous glands of the skin itself.

However, there are scientific studies that state that socializing with hairless breeds of cats sometimes has the effect of desensitization, ie. getting used to lower doses of allergens to reduce or completely overcome the allergy to cat hair.

Do Sphynx Cats Make Good Pets?

Statistics on a scale of 1 to 5:

  • Energy level: 5
  • Level of playfulness: 4
  • Relationship to other pets: 4
  • Attitude towards children: 4
  • Independence: 1
  • Maintenance required: 5

Considering all the above characteristics, attention, care that this cat requires, yes it is a monumental choice for a pet.

Sphynx cats do love attention in all forms and their owners very dearly, so if you want a pet that is sociable and loyal, you will not regret getting this type of cat.

Unlike other cats, you will not have a problem with the usual shedding of fur that cat owners seem to constantly be struggling with, but you should be involved in their skincare.

This is a breed that has an average to a long lifespan, so if you opt for it, you will have a long term friend with you.

As we already said, you will never get tired of it for sure.

This cat is very cheerful and loud, and loves to meow around and explore. Although they can find a source of entertainment on their own, they still prefer to involve their owners in the game.

They are not good pets for people who are busy or do not have too much time, because they require attention and play.

They love to be held and petted and are not a breed that likes to be as independent as many other cats.

These cats have a sensitive digestive system that usually reacts to medications, changes in food, or if the cat changes the environment somehow.

Like all other cats, the Sphynx cat needs to be vaccinated regularly.

Give it love and you can be sure it will reciprocate, and give all the love back to you tenfold.

Best Diet For Sphynx Cats

This feline mainly needs foods that contain high animal proteins.

Their appetite is very large, and this cat eats a lot more than other types of cats really.

Since the Sphynx does not have hair that would help regulate it’s body temperature, it’s metabolism will play this role.

They are not considered picky cats and therefore enjoy food like real gourmands.

So, you need to feed it food varieties such as beef and chicken.

Most pet owners usually say that feeding their cats some varieties of raw food usually improves their appearance and health significantly.

Generally, the best diet considerations of Sphynx cats should involve high amounts of meat.

They are mainly carnivores hence it is important to limit their fiber intake.

A well balanced diet should involve macro nutrients from the following food varieties:

  • Raw chicken kidney, hearts and liver
  • Raw chicken bone meat for instance thighs and chicken drumsticks
  • Salmon oil
  • Oat bran
  • Vitamin B complex
  • Vitamin E, and water of course

Choosing the Right Food for Your Sphynx Cat

The right food should contain the right ingredients your cat needs to flourish.

These cats are known to have a higher metabolism than other ones.

So, you need to feed it the right amount of food to make sure it stays happy and satisfied.

A good nutritional balance is ideal for preventing health complications and supporting general wellness.

Also read: The different types of cats.

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Protein Content

Protein is very important when it comes to keeping the cat full for longer.

Generally, you need to give your sphynx cat a moderately adequate protein diet.

Natural foods are the best sources of proteins and you can get this from your local pet shop with relative ease.

Most vets recommend a 35% to 45% protein diet when it comes to cats.

However, there are certain factors that may interfere with the cat’s protein intake and they include:

  • The level of activity – how active is the cat?
  • Does it have underlying health complications?
  • Is it pregnant?

Fat Content

Healthy fats are good for the absorption of vitamins such as D, A, E and K.

They normally provide a very convenient and powerful source of energy.

This is especially true if your cat has a high metabolic rate.

It is worth noting that fats are responsible for the transportation of nutrients across the cell membranes and they are also essential components in the formation of cell membranes.

Pretty interesting, huh?

While foods with fats are more tasty, the fats are also vital in the formation of certain hormones such as estrogen and testosterone.

It is also believed that eating these healthy fats can help to control or treat inflammation.

Healthy fats can be found in food varieties such as:

  • Poultry, pork and beef
  • Corn oil and soybean
  • Fish oil


When it comes to carbs, make sure that you effectively balance it with the right protein content.

Make use of a good kibble protein rotation in addition to a low-carb diet.

This is important for the support of a healthy immune system.

A high-protein diet is important for the development of lean mass. On the other hand, a low-carb diet is important in minimizing the risk of certain health issues, especially as the cat grows older.

Be critical when you are choosing food because it is important to choose varieties that help to support the immune system and digestive health.

It is also important to avoid certain food varieties, and that is because they can cause more harm than good really.

Some of the items that you should put away from your cat include:

Overall, there are loads of food varieties that your Sphynx cat can enjoy, but not all of them.

All you have to do is understand what is safe for your cat, what it likes and then consistently put that in it’s diet.

Also, make sure that you buy food products from legitimate sellers to avoid the risk of your cat eating any harmful toxic chemicals and such.

This way, your pet will remain healthy and happy for many years to come and you will be able to enjoy it’s company for longer.

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Pros and Cons

Are you considering getting yourself a Sphynx Cat?

Well, it is now important to really understand the benefits and disadvantages of having this type of cat breed.


  • They are loving cats that offer fantastic support and companionship. If you are looking for a fun, curious, energetic, and outgoing companion then you should consider these animals.
  • Sphynx cats are smart and you can easily train them, just make sure that you start the training at an early age while they are still young.
  • They interact well with other pets, especially dogs and that is why they are called family-friendly companions.
  • A healthy breed of cat with fewer genetic complications. They rarely have or suffer from any complex hereditary complications which is nice. (3.)
  • It is easy and fun to dress and style them up. Their hairless coats mean that you can easily play around with different colors and patterns as you try to find the best clothes for them to keep them warm. They can quickly turn into a mini fashionista in your home.
  • This is a rather rare breed of cat that allows you to become a part of the elite Sphynx cat owners club, that is if you actually have a cat like this to begin with. You can create wonderful relationships in this club with lasting long term benefits. Sphynx is a popular breed that is now in high demand due to it’s rare hairless nature and features. The cats are now recognized globally and are certified in the US. If you have a chance, make sure that you join some of it’s special groups in order to raise good community awareness.


  • They need more attention and care, being higher maintenance than most other cats. With their distinct lack of hair, you might be tempted to think grooming and caring for them would be quite easy. This is not the case however, and they don’t have fur to wick out excess oil from it’s skin. They also can’t protect their eyes and ears effectively from dirt and dust particles which is a flaw. So, the cat will frequently pick up dirt in addition to sweat and dead skin flakes. This means that you need to clean the skin, ears and eyes often.
  • They are playful cats and can get themselves injured or hurt sometimes because of it. Generally, this is a mischievous cat breed that loves to jump on furniture, appliances, and other indoor furniture as well. Besides that, they can also get easily picked on by other pets that may end up hurting their skin.
  • Sphynx cats eat lots of food due to their high rate of metabolism. So, definitely be prepared to spend a good amount of money to feed them. On the other hand, they have a sensitive digestion, so you need to be prepared to deal with pungent and loose stools often. Because they feed mostly on raw and wet food, they may constantly suffer from bacterial infections. (4.)
  • Due to it’s rare nature, getting it can be quite costly. You will find that most breeders normally sell them at higher prices than you might be used to dealing with.
  • Some people may easily feel uncomfortable by their appearance and wrinkled skin.
  • Lastly, having a cat that gets easily affected by all the weather patterns and seasons can be demanding. If it’s in summer, you will need to protect it from excessive sunlight and heat. But during winter, they can easily suffer from hypothermia, so you need to keep them warm and comfortable. They are not free to casually go outside like other cats in this manner.

Buying One From a Breeder

Generally, they are considered as one of the most expensive cat breeds in the entire world.

If you are interested in getting this pedigree, then be prepared to part with something between 300 or 3000 dollars, depending.

Remember that the amount you end up spending depends greatly on the breeder and the “quality” of the sphynx cat.

Factors that affect the price include:


There are two main types of Sphynx cats based on quality.

A show quality sphynx, or a pet quality sphynx.

Show quality cats are like designer breeds kind of. You can even consider them as the models or beauty queens of the sphynx world.

So, they would without a say cost way more and be more expensive.

Pet quality cats are more basic in their appearance.

Cost Of Breeding

These are an exotic breed and this means that it takes a huge amount of both money and work to properly breed them.

Compared to other types of cats, they normally need special care most of the time, regardless of the surroundings. (5.)

Before a breeder sells them, they would have taken the cat through a series of screenings, vet care, blood tests, heart scans, all while not forgetting the general maintenance.


It is common knowledge that all un sprayed cats are more expensive, and this is because they can reproduce.

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So, are Sphynx cats worth it? Price Wise…

Well, this is one of the rarest cat breeds in the world.

Having them at home means that you have an outgoing, smart, and friendly companion with you at all times.

Studies show that they are some of the most affectionate pets you can find, so I would definitely say they are worth the cost.

Breeder Information

When choosing a breeder, make sure they are trustworthy and abide by the code of ethics.

They should have a health certification for the pets they have, and especially screenings for any genetic health complications.

Most reputable breeders have official websites and they are readily available to give you any additional information and answer any questions and such.

There are numerous cat associations where you can find the best Sphynx cat breeders without having to worry too much.

For instance, you can check the International Cat Association or the Cats Center Stage.

In case you are still unsure, then you can just talk to your vet for some good recommendations.

Things to Know Before Getting a Cat

  • A sphynx cat needs annual HCM scans because it is predisposed to have hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.
  • Having this pet means that you must understand it’s special skincare needs. Frequent baths with a mild pet cleanser are important. Occasionally, you will have to use antibacterial soap as well to fight off acne and blackheads.
  • You need to always regulate the temperature within their surroundings. The ideal temperature for rearing this breed is between 20 and 25 degrees Celsius. During very hot summers, you really must have the air conditioner on, and the heater on during cold winters.
  • Such a breed needs a high quality diet to thrive.

The Bottom Line

A sphynx cat can be a great addition to any family.

They are curious, social, active, and afectionate animals that can help to significantly improve the quality of your life.

Their ability to interact with other pets and socialize with kids makes them stand out, they are incredible really.

Although they are sensitive and need extra care, you will definitely enjoy having them around.


Author: Cathour

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