June 07, 2017
The Sphynx cat polarised opinion.
People love them or hate them (usually having never met one of these unusual bald cats). But, spend just a few minutes with one, most end up in the former category.
The Sphynx is a breed of hairless cat.
There are two known hairless genes in cat fancy: the Sphynx and Donskoy (responsible for the coat of the Peterbald as well as the Donskoy). The Sphynx gene is recessive (gets trumped by a dominant gene) so to be a Sphynx cat you need two copies of that gene, whereas the Donskoy requires only one, and there is only one coat type – bald!
Most people are turned away by the coat of the Sphynx, expecting it to feel reptilian, or akin to sweaty skin. In fact, the Sphynx can be very soft, feeling almost downy to the touch or sometimes even like a type of warm peach fuzz. Some have likened it to chamois. Each cat is different but all agree that they feel much nicer than imagined.
Living with Sphynx Cat (Temperament)
In being owned by a Sphynx you learn quickly that this is an inquisitive cat. They want to know what you are doing at all times and happily follow from room to room helping with daily chores --attacking the mop and leaping around on a freshly-made bed. Just generally getting in the way.
Its a rare day when you don’t accidentally trip over one! These are sensitive, dependent animals. They need human interaction throughout the day and most definitely do not suit being an only cat. Some would call them needy -- they want to be on or around you all day and will pine when alone. They adore dogs when introduced to them correctly, to the extent that they may want to trot up to any strange dog to say hello, which can be problematic...
Sphynx Breed Care
Predictably enough, they don’t need a huge amount of grooming! Devotees used to advocate weekly bathing but slowly began to realise that the more they were bathed, the dirtier they got! The bathing strips them of oils and affects the skin is natural balance. We wash our hairless cats for shows, or else roughly every two to three months. We clip their nails once a week so they don’t scratch each other playing, and clean their ears gently using a cotton pad, as wax tends to build up.
Because they burn off more energy producing heat, they do tend to eat more than the average cat. They don’t need a specific diet but as with all cats regardless of breed, they benefit from sustenance as close to their natural diet as possible. This can come in the form of balanced raw food, which is ideal as it also helps prevent weight gain and reduces the amount of oils produced on their skin. Or, a wet food without grains and cereals or high protein dry food, again without cereals or grains.
The Sphynx can be prone to obesity, so common sense is needed when feeding them. Just like us, if they start to gain weight then they are eating too much! You should be able to feel their ribs and spine although these shouldn’t be easily visible. A happy Sphynx is one at a healthy body weight. They enjoy playing and running so its not fair to allow them to become fat. People worry about the Sphynx being cold but, as long as your house is a comfortable temperature for you, then its fine for them.
Cat furniture for Sphynx
Obviously they are an indoor cat, but can easily be trained to a harness and brought out into the garden on warm days. They do get sunburnt though, so ideally should have a light shirt on and sunscreen on their ears! Like all cats, they like to climb and scratch furniture. Cat trees for Sphynx kittens are a must, and they love to get inside their beds, be they duvets, Tigga Tower cave beds or a pile of fresh laundry! And when it comes to their cat towers, they prefer hammocks and igloo-type attachments over open baskets, but as long as there is a nice blanket or bed to snuggle into, they’ll settle into any type of basket. Their favourite spot though, will be in your bed!
The Sphynx breed is intelligent and, as I said, can be trained to walk on a harness, to sit and to follow basic commands. They also quickly learn how to train their humans to acquiesce to their every whim! You will quickly find yourself used as a bus to transport your Sphynx cats from where they are to where they want to be -- they love to sit up on your shoulder and direct you around the house.
The only real health concern in the breed is HCM (Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy), which is a genetic heart condition that can be passed onto Sphynx kittens through breeding, which is why it’s very important that anyone breeding Sphynx scans their hearts annually. And anyone buying a kitten should ask for proof that the breeder is scanning both parents, as well as trying to trace the ancestral line as far as possible. Unless afflicted with HCM, the Sphynx can have a life expectancy on par with any other cat – there are reports of them living to 18 years and beyond!
This breed is definitely one of the best human friend
If you bring a Sphynx cat into your life, you are welcoming an active, monkey-like, intelligent, emotive, naughty, gluttonous purr-box that will return your love tenfold. They are something special and you really have to meet one to understand just how special. We are now owned by five Sphynx and a Maine Coon (and one poor terrorised dog). We could never imagine not having a Sphynx in our lives. They bring hours of entertainment, joy, comfort and amusement.
With ❤ form Tigga Towers Team