Categories: Sphynx Cat

Sphynx cat health concerns

Sadly the Sphynx cat has many serious health concerns. I have been updated about the health of this cat breed very recently and I’m frankly shocked and disappointed. All the books that I have on the health of purebred cats do not mention the extensive and serious health concerns of this breed, which I refer to below.

My source of this information is highly reliable: Kirsten Kranz, Director, Specialty Purebred Cat Rescue who is also a Sphynx cat owner.

Photos copyright Helmi Flick.

I will take the liberty in quoting her verbatim in the interests of complete accuracy and cogency:

“….I’m very familiar with breeds as you can imagine. I did want to point out that your section on Sphynx really needs to be updated. This is NOT a healthy breed…not by a long stretch.

I’ve personally had them for as long as I’ve been running this rescue and can tell you that over 90% have heart problems including murmurs and HCM.

In addition, most have bad teeth, skin problems can be an issue and GI [gastrointestinal – stomach and the intestines] problems are far from uncommon. Unfortunately breed information pages on the internet do NOT tell the true story of this breed and as a result we have all kinds of people wanting to adopt the few we get in every year because they are “cool”.

They are cool but they are also money pits, which is often why we get in the ones in rescue that we do. Even considerate breeders who do echoes on their breeder cats to try to encourage healthy kittens are not really making a dent.

A year ago I adopted a kitten from a breeder who was doing regular heart scans and my boy STILL has a grade 4 heart murmur and HCM at barely a year and a half old. Plus bad teeth and food allergies. It’s been a very heart breaking find. Breeds that outcross to Sphynx such as “dwelfs” and so forth are NOT immune to heart problems as well and often have their own set of issues.

People need to know exactly what they are potentially getting with these cats.

If you are interested in this cat breed, and a lot of people are because they are trendy (‘cool’ as Kirsten mentions), I am sure that you will find Sphynx cat health concerns shocking. The description is of an inherently unhealthy purebred cat and frankly it should put most people off adopting this cat because as Kirsten says they are a “money pit”.

Not only, therefore, does this cat breed hurt the cat owner financially it is also immoral to breed a cat which is inherently unhealthy because the cat will be ill and therefore he or she will suffer. Breeders are breeding suffering.

Ross D Clark DVM – Medical, Genetic and Behavioural Aspects of Purebred Cats

Dr Clark in his book about inherited conditions and diseases in purebred cats refers to two recognized medical problems:

Alopecia universalis. He says that this is the name of the hereditary disorder that the Sphynx are bred for. In other words it is what gives this cat its trademark appearance: no hair.

Spasticity. He says that this is an inherited neurological condition found in Devon Rex and Sphynx cats. It appears to be an autosomal recessive trait. The cat cannot chew and swallow normally due to their spastic condition. They often die of aspiration pneumonia.

Notably, he does not, refer to the high prevalence of heart conditions suffered by the Sphynx cat as experienced by Kirsten at her rescue organisation.

A lot of people who want to adopt this cat are unaware of these Sphynx cat health concerns. This page has been written to enlighten people. I thank Kirsten for updating me.


They refer to: respiratory issues in kittens, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (a heart disease also seen in Bengal cats by the way), predatory myopathy which affects muscle function and sensitive digestive systems.

P.S. The modern Siamese also fails the health check.

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Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 71-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in a many jobs including professional photography. I have a girlfriend, Michelle. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare.

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