Sphynx cats-10 things to know about living with hairless cats

Here are ten things to know about living with Sphynx cats if you intend to adopt one.

Love Them or Hate Them

You either love them or hate them. This rare purebred cat does tend to polarize opinion. Some people find them very attractive, interesting and of course different. To own a purebred cat which is different is an attractive proposition to many people. However, you could say that this cat breed is ugly. It is certainly an unnatural look with bum fluff for hair, almost no whiskers, large ears, visibly webbed-feet and an elongated, lanky and angular body-shape. All these elements combine to be either attractive or unattractive. Therefore, as a Sphynx cat owner you might receive some unpleasant comments. It seems that the genetic mutation causing the hairlessness ‘also appears to modify the body shape’. Apparently someone described the Sphynx as “the ugliest cat alive” and “a creature with a hairless body, a snake’s head, a rat’s tail, and ears like bats’ wings”. You decide! I quite like them.

Sphynx cats-10 things to know about living with hairless cats

Sphynx cat. Photo copyright Helmi Flick. Note the patterned skin which follows the pattern of the fur if it existed.

The Negative Genetic Mutation

You love your Sphynx but you do own a cat which really has to be an indoor cat because the genetic mutation causing the loss of hair is a mistake which would not have been replicated naturally. What I’m saying is that it’s a mutation which does not aid in survival and as a cat owner you might receive criticism for promoting such a breed. Without fur the cat is susceptible to sunburn and frostbite and unacceptable levels of heat loss in cold weather. You know: cats do have fur for a reason. Being an indoor cat there is more pressure on the owner to entertain and provide an enriched environment.

The Skin

We know that it is nice to stroke a cat. It seems that it is particularly nice to stroke a Sphynx cat. The skin feels really nice, very smooth. Perhaps the very fine hair adds to the pleasure. The lack of fur is not a problem in this regard. I have held and stroked a Sphynx. It was very enjoyable.

Chatty

Sphynx cat owners tell us that they have a tendency to be chatty. Another breed known to be chatty is the Siamese. A vocal cat is attractive to some people and perhaps less attractive to others. By and large I would say that it is an attractive trait because it helps to generate interaction between yourself and your cat. I would like to add some words about this cat’s personality. It is said that they have a sensitive and loving nature and that they are unusually sociable and affectionate. Someone described the cat as “part monkey, part dog, part child and part cat”.

Good Appetite

One Sphynx cat owner says that her cats have very good appetites. That’s a good thing. I wonder whether it is because the Sphynx cat must lose a lot of body heat, far more than the average domestic cat. In losing body heat the cat has to eat more in order to raise their metabolism which in turn helps to maintain core body temperature. This is a theory that I have. You may well disagree with me. But it may be a reason why this cat breed has a good appetite.

Sphynx Cat Care

All domestic cats produce oils which help to maintain their fur. As there is no fur, the oils will be deposited upon possessions such as your clothes and bedclothes. This is one reason why they say that you have to clean the body of a Sphynx cat regularly. This oily residue, as it has been described, is a downside and cancels out the lack of shedding.

Shedding

Of course, without a fur coat this cat is not going to shed hair although I presume that it will shed some of its very fine hair from time to time. Therefore, a Sphynx cat owner will not have to worry about removing cat hair from everywhere in their home.

Needing Company

I’m told that the Sphynx cat likes company. This means your cat will like your company. This may be because being indoor cats – as they must be – become more domesticated and closer to their human companions. This translates to giving the impression that they need your company when in fact they are bonded more closely with their human companion as they are in close proximity for greater lengths of time than normal. I suppose some cat owners might interpret this trait in a negative way by claiming the breed is demanding. I would disagree. This can only be beneficial to both cat and person.

Hypoallergenic

Some people will ask whether the Sphynx is hypoallergenic which means are they less likely to produce an allergic reaction in their human companion. The protein which causes the allergic reaction in humans (Fel D1) is in the cat’s saliva. As this cat produces saliva just like any other cat breed, he/she is not hypoallergenic.

Monkey-like

My personal experience of this cat breed is that they have a monkey-like athletic ability to climb. They appear to be intelligent, active and alert. I would argue that they are at the top end of domestic cat intelligence if you believe that domestic cat breeds do vary in intelligence. This is a positive and attractive trait. Their intelligence may underpin their need for human companionship.

P.S. There are two major hairless cat breeds: Sphynx (a Canadian discovery) and the Don Sphynx (Russian).

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