You probably have considered or considering getting a Sphynx cat but just aren’t sure what to expect. Here is a detailed guide to help first time Sphynx owners get an inside look of what to expect, by outlining the Pros and Cons of having a Sphynx cat. With inside information, challenges and advice from Sphynx cat owners.
Sphynx cats are quite a Peculiar breed with very distinctive features. These cats are not your typical domestic cats as they have different challenges and requirements that must be understood before you commit to having them as pets.
Even though they are hairless and might come across as low maintenance, I can assure you that they require more care than regular household cats. However, they do make up for it with their great personality, excellent behaviour and sweet temperament.
PRO: Highly Intelligent, Can Be Trained.
Sphynx cats are highly intelligent and can be seen by their mischievous and rather outgoing personality. These cats can be trained to do simple things as well as play games. Simple games like ‘fetch’ will be ideal to keep them active and engaged.
Their intelligence can also be seen in the manner they present themselves and the way they react to situations. Like the way they welcome their owners once the door opens and the way they are able to get your attention using vocalizations which may come across as ‘talking’.
Even though sphynx cats are not the most intelligent like the siamese breed. Bald cats, in general, are really smart, with time and abit of routine and effort. These cats can become very well equipped and acclimated to the things they are exposed to.
PRO: Friendly and Affectionate.
Sphynx cats are amongst the few cats that are easy-going, friendly and great with other pets. These cats are very affectionate and love human companionship. They are known for their dependency and friendly character as they thrive on interaction. While their appearance may deceive many they are really soft and nurturing.
Sphynx cats are completely devoted and loyal to their human counterparts. They consistently hover around their owners as they seek affection and attention. They get along with just about anyone, as well as other pets, however, they are known for getting aggressive when they feel they have to compete for their owner’s attention.
PRO: Relatively Healthy.
Sphynx cats are generally healthy and are able to live a full life. They have an average lifespan of 14 -16 years, they are also one of the few breeds who are known for living the longest. While in some cases some are overcome by sickness and disease and eventually die much sooner, while other sphynx can life beyond 16 years even up to 20years.
Although the breed doesn’t have any genetic diseases they are prone to certain conditions such as Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy which affects the heart as well as hereditary myopathy which can be passed down.
For this reason, it’s required that you consult with reputable breeders who are willing to share health history. Genuine breeders also offer guarantees on several health issues in order to protect the lifespan of the breed. In this way, you will have peace of mind knowing your sphynx is healthy and well.
PRO: No Brushing Which Means No Shedding.
In actual fact, sphynx cats are not completely hairless as they do have a fine layer of hair which can hardly be seen. Sphynx aren’t like other cats who display long plush coats in fact their skin is exposed. The lack of coat means no brushing is required. No need for a brush and no stress trying to get rid of mats and tangles.
This also means no shedding and excess fur around your home and on your clothing. Which is beneficial to you as less cleaning is required and it removes the irritation of having fur covered on you every time you interact with the cat.
PRO: Reduced Allergy Risks.
While no cats are considered hypoallergenic, the sphynx cat breed is good for those who suffer from allergies. The hairless feature helps reduce dander because they don’t shed any Fel D1 protein which causes allergies. Even though this cat breed isn’t considered hypoallergenic the lack of fur makes it easier for those who suffer from allergies.
This reduces the risk of allergies as it doesnt aggrevate sufferers, therefore the sphynx cat can co-exist with their fur parents without inflammation or uneasiness.
CON: Greasy Skin Make Furniture and Bedding Dirty.
Due to the lack of hair, the Sphynx cat is left naked and fully exposed. This means that the natural oils secreted from the skin are left unabsorbed. For this reason, it’s required that sphynx cats must be bathed regularly. If not the oils on their skin together with dust and debris will imprint on every surface that their skin touch.
This means that bedding, carpets, furniture and even your clothing can become very dirty and stained. Mostly areas and surfaces where the cat usually spends its time are the places most affected. This will require regular cleaning of household belongings and regular hygiene practices for the sphynx cat. Note, some cats will secrete more oils than others typically younger cats below 1 year, therefore more dirt is attracted and more stains can be expected.
For cats that sweat a lot, the chances of making household belongings dirty is far greater. Since sweat and oils together create a wax kind of substance that is difficult to remove from fabrics especially bedding.
CON: Needs Clothing To Regulate Body Temperature.
Sphynx cats are known for their unique appearance due to the lack of fur. This missing feature leaves the cat more exposed to external forces such as sunlight and rain. Therefore the skin has little to no protection and will require clothing if outdoors. The cat will also need a suitable feline-friendly sunscreen to prevent sunburns.
In cold weather, the cat won’t be able to fully regulate their body temperature and will need assistance keeping warm. The use of clothing like a simple tee or a fleece jumper can add a layer of warmth to help retain the cat’s body temperature. While cats clothing can be cheap, good quality clothing is expensive and a few are needed for regular use. This is another expense that must be considered before you decide on getting a sphynx.
CON: Very Expensive.
Sphynx cats are quite a rare breed as they are considered exotic. For this reason, they are high in demand and are very expensive since it takes a lot more work to breed. They require special care, medical practices and testing for illnesses and hereditary conditions.
A Sphynx cat from a reputable breeder can cost anywhere from $ 1500 to $4000 depending on the quality, colour and lineage of parents. Some sphynx can cost up to $6000 which is quite expensive. On the other hand, you can get a fairly cheaper sphynx kitten from backyard breeders, but their quality and health aren’t guaranteed.
CON: Requires Regular Baths
One of the most time-consuming requirements of owning a Sphynx cat is bathing. Due to the lack of hair, body oils are produced and left on the cat’s skin fully exposed. This acts like a dirt magnet attracting dust and debris, therefore more dust is caught on there skin. As a result sphynx cats get dirty very often and brown patches will be visible on the cat’s skin, especially cats that are light in colour, therefore regular baths are required as well as other cleaning practices to keep the cat clean.
On the other hand, darker shades of sphynx cats camouflage dirt really well and they don’t require bathing very often. A simple wipe would be sufficient to remove excess oils and dirt. However, depending on the condition of the cat, you can decide whether to bath or wipe your sphynx, as bathing still remains the best cleaning method.
CON: Requires A Specific Diet.
Sphynx cats have sensitive stomachs and fast metabolisms, to compensate for this they require a special diet. This should involve mostly raw food with canned foods and wet food on certain days. The foods consumed should be nutritious without additives and fillers.
Most sphynx owners opt for the raw food diet since its nutrients are retained. This results in major improvements to their physical appearance and overall health. This means that normal cat food won’t be ideal but can be used in conjunction with raw food. The only problem with raw foods is that it takes more time to prepare and can be expensive.
CON: Skin Care Routine.
Due to the hairless feature of sphynx cats, their skin is fully visible and exposed. It’s prone to drying out, inflammation, sunburns and general oxidising from external elements. To combat this a regular skincare routine is needed to keep their skin soft and healthy.
This involves weekly bathing and wiping with the use of a good non-fragrant shampoo that’s feline-friendly. At times the cat’s body will feel greasy and you may be required to use a degreaser.
To hydrate the skin you need to use an organic lotion or natural oil to prevent dry skin. This should be followed by removing blackheads with the necessary products. This routine can be costly as multiple products are used which contributes to the high maintenance of the Sphynx breed.
Challenges Of Owning a Sphynx Cat.
- Can be costly to maintain over time, since they require special care which can be expensive.
- Bath times are very difficult at the beginning when the sphynx isn’t used to the cleaning routine.
- Sphynx ears and paws must be cleaned regularly and properly since these areas collect the most oils which is difficult to remove if build up occurs.
- Can be very dependent as they love attention.
- Requires more care then other household cats.
- Requires yearly medical checkups to improve their lifespan.
- Cannot be in areas where its too hot or too cold.
- Limited Outdoor visitations as their skin is sensitive and prone to sunburn and inflammation.
- Sphynx cats are way too smart and this makes them curious and very fidgety.
- Fast metabolisms mean that they get hungry often and more food is required.
- The sphynx breed is very active and will require interactive toys to keep them occupied. Apart from this, you need to be able to keep up with the high pace and high energy levels.
Now that you have a glimpse of how it feels to have a Sphynx cat, you really need to think through all these factors and requirements before you commit to adoption. These cats are pretty high maintenance which may scare you, but they will reward you with their loyalty, companionship and warm gently personality. They are unique and if by now you aren’t put off, the Sphynx cat is the perfect breed for you.