The Sphynx is a unique breed of cat that originated in Canada and is easily recognized by it’s lack of fur. Sphynx are known for their inquisitive personalities and are often referred to as “velcro-kitties” because they prefer the company of their humans.
In addition to the obvious lack of a fur coat, the Sphynx also often lack eyelashes and whiskers. They are also known for their medium to large ears, sturdy bodies, and long wispy tails. Their skin is the same color their fur would be, if they had it, and they are available in most of colors and patterns of a typical furry cat, including solid, pointed, van, tabby, and calico or tortie.
Sphynx are medium sized cats with surprising heaviness for their size. Female Sphynx cats typically weigh between 6 and 8 pounds, with males being slightly heavier at 8-11 pounds.
Sphynx owners often describe their cats as “part cat, part monkey, and part dog”. They are very active, alert, playful and often mischievous. Sphynx cats are also recognized for being very outgoing and affectionate. They are very social cats, and most often prefer to have another animal companion to keep them company while their human is away. Sphynx are considered one of the smartest breeds of domestic cat and can be easily trained to perform commands and walk on a leash. They make great companions for both children and adults and tend to get along well with other animals.
Contrary to popular misconception, the hairless cat actually requires more grooming than a typical coated cat. Body oil, that is normally absorbed by the fur, tends to build up on the skin and they require regular bathing. How often a Sphynx should be bathed relies a lot on the genetics of that particular cat, but every 2-4 weeks is typical. Sphynx that have been groomed since kittenhood are generally very easy to bathe.
They also tend to build up more earwax than most cats. This is also a result of not having any tufts of fur in the ears. Ears should be cleaned often to prevent buildup and infections. Sphynx toenails will also collect a lot of dirt and oil and must be wiped clean.
Sphynx cats are recognized as being a healthy and robust breed. However, due to their lack of fur, sunburn is a very real concern and Sphynx should be kept indoors and wear protective clothing or sunscreen when outside.
The Sphynx breed also has incidences of the genetic heart disease, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM). Reputable breeders have all of their breeding cats examined yearly by a board-certified cardiologist as a measure to help prevent the spread of the disease.
As long as they are kept indoors, Sphynx will typically get along well in almost any home environment. They do tend to prefer the company of other animals and prefer not to be left alone for long periods of time. Again because of their hairlessness, the Sphynx cat will seek out warm places in the home to sleep. They’ll prefer a lot of blankets to cuddle into and will prefer to sleep on their human whenever possible. They are not the breed of cat to consider if you’re looking for an aloof pet, as they will always be by your side.