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Sphynx cat FAQ

Q: Are Sphynx cats hypoallergenic?

A: No, not completely. People with allergies are not allergic to cat hair. They are reacting to either cat dander or saliva.  In either case the person with the allergy may still have a reaction, though it can be lessened by making sure the Sphynx in question is bathed often in a hypoallergenic shampoo. The newest treatment plans are to introduce small amounts of the allergen in to the person. Sphynx are perfect for this. In most cases a person’s reactions will lesson and even go away completely after 6 months to a year.

Q: What is the average life span of a Sphynx cat?

A: Sphynx cats will live as long as any other breed typically 15-20 years as they don't have a lot of genetic issues, one of the oldest living cats was a sphynx who was rumoured to be 32 at the time of his death.

Q: Do Sphynx cats need baths? And how often?

A: Yes they do. Most sphynx cats require a bath approximately twice a month, though some need more and some less. Our cats gets a bath once every two weeks and their ears and nails cleaned/trimmed weekly. Just like humans some Sphynx get dirty faster (like children).

Q: Do Sphynx cats get sunburns?

A: Yes, if left in direct sunlight for too long sphynx cats will get sunburns and “tan”, turning darker in colour. Sunscreen is recommended if they will be exposed to the sun. They have very sensitive skin so check around for products that will be safe for the kitten. 

Q: Why are sphynx cats hairless?

A: Actually sphynx cats are not hairless. They have a thin down all over their bodies, some more than others. Their hairless appearance is caused by a genetic mutation that causes their fur not to grow in. Most Sphynx grow thin hair on the tail, face, ears around the genitals and on or around the feet. 

Q: Should I put sweaters on my Sphynx cat?

A: That is a complicated question. The answer is yes IF your Sphynx cat will tolerate it and if you feel that he or she is cold and will benefit. If you’re cold so is your Sphynx. If your Sphynx cat will not tolerate clothing then no, I do not recommend it.  It really depends on the cat. Cats will still preen while wearing clothing. This means that they will ingest fibres from the clothing. Natural cotton or a smooth surface material is safer.

Q: My Sphynx cat likes to ride on my shoulder. Is this normal?

A: Yes. We've know of many Sphynx cats that often ride on the shoulders of their humans. They like any high spot. They will either jump up or climb up your legs to get there. Keep their nails trimmed and warn new people. They love to climb up people that they have never met. Give the humans warnings ahead of time.

Q: What kind of pet would be a good companion for my Sphynx cat?

A: Sphynx cats get lonely if they don't have someone to play with, so another cat is a good idea. Another Sphynx cat is recommended but if you can't find another Sphynx, perhaps another cat of a similar energy level, such as a Cornish or Devon Rex. Sphynx will make friends with any other animals. Dogs and large breed birds are popular choices. 

Q: My sphynx cat chews on his nails, sometimes it looks like he's trying to pull his toes off. Is this normal?

A: Yes and no. Chewing on their claws is a way for them to clean themselves . Maybe you are not cleaning his nails as often or as well as you could? Are you cleaning them weekly and getting most of the black stuff off? If you are cleaning them properly and he is still chewing on them, then rub the nails gently after bath time to see if any extra nail comes off. As Sphynx cats (or any cat for that matter) ages their nails thicken, if too much nail is remaining it could be causing discomfort. Leaving thick nails untreated can cause damage to the nail bed. Use vinegar or purple magic ear solution around the nail bed edges. If neither of these things stop the behaviour, but he isn't injuring himself I would assume it is just a behaviour he enjoys, if however, he is drawing blood or has a limp or a sore take him to the vet .

Q: Do Sphynx cats get cold?

A: Yes. If you took off your clothes and wandered around your house you might be cold as well. Make sure your Sphynx cat has some blankets and a heated bed to curl up in. They also love to be near space heaters or anything that generates heat such as tops of microwaves, fridges, or televisions. Turn up the heat! Our cats live in temperature controlled space at 80 degrees. Some Sphynx will even grow hair to protect their vital organs if cold. 

Q: Is it okay to let my sphynx cat outside unsupervised?

A: No. Sphynx cats don't have hair, so they are very susceptible to heat and cold, letting your Sphynx cat outside is like letting your toddler outside naked. Even if your Sphynx cat seems to want to go outside, do not allow it unless they are wearing a harness and leash or you have a safe enclosed space. I cannot stress this enough. Too many Sphynx cats get stolen when allowed outside, or get disoriented when the temperature changes and wander away from home in search of more comfortable conditions. Please, do not let your Sphynx cat outside alone! Some clients build an outside enclosure or cover in a deck to allow safe outside time for their cats.

Q: Are there differences between the behaviour of a male sphynx cats and a female sphynx cats?

A: Yes and no. Females can become drama queens even if they are fixed, refusing to get along with other females. They have more of a history of disliking their own gender. If you intend to have more than 1 female cat in the house it is best to introduce the new cat prior to your female Sphynx turning 2 years of age. Neutered male Sphynx are very cuddly and seem to tolerate other cats of either sex. Either sex can become territorial about anything that they feel is ‘theirs’. This includes toys, space or their humans. This is a training issue.  Just like humans Sphynx have individual different and unique personalities all their own!

Q: I'm having a baby, can I still have my Sphynx cat?

A: Of course you can! Some old wives tales will tell you that cats are dangerous to babies and will suck out the breath and kill them. This is just not true. Though cats will lay on or with children and should be supervised, they are unlikely to kill the child, they are just curious and wanting to cuddle and feel the heat of the new addition. Sphynx cats are usually VERY good with children as they act much like a child. They have great tempers and tolerate children more than any breed I have ever seen! They are also recommend for people with disabilities. 
-However, it should be noted that certain bacteria can collect in the litter box of a cat that can be harmful to a pregnant woman so while pregnant woman can own cats, they shouldn't change the litter boxes (or should wear dust masks while doing so, and wash their hands immediately afterword). So have your partner do the litter box cleaning for a few months.-

Q: Do Sphynx cats like water?

A: While it is true that most breeds of cats don't like water at all, Sphynx should be raised having been bathed regularly and will learn to tolerate water. Some Sphynx even enjoy their baths. The key is to get your sphynx cat into the water early but not right as soon as you get them home. It is important to bond with your cat and ease into the steps with them, the more your cat trusts you, the less stressful it will be...literally. Slow and easy for training. Many Sphynx learn to love their bathes and will even get into your bath with you.

Q: My sphynx cat has eye crusties, is that normal?

A: Yes, some eye goo is normal, but if it's accompanied by swelling or yellow, green or red, it is abnormal and your sphynx cat should see a vet. Clear or dark brown eye goo isn't usually anything to worry about since without eyelashes sphynx produce eye goo to keep their eyes clean.

Q: My sphynx cat is always hungry, how often should I feed him? I don't want him to get fat!

A: Most adult cats should eat twice a day, but sphynx cats have higher metabolisms than other breeds so they do consume more food. Some cats prefer to eat small portions throughout the day, and some prefer to eat at the same times everyday so it's about finding out what your sphynx wants. Never leave bowls of food out during the day ‘free feeding’. This can lead to obesity if the cat over eats. Kittens under five months should eat approximately three times a day since their little bodies are still growing. Try giving health snacks in between feedings such as raw whole mini chicken wings. Sphynx are a lean cat. The term ‘pudgy’ such never apply.

Q: I'm a vegetarian, and I really don't approve of eating meat so it makes me sad to think that when I feed my sphynx cat (name removed) meat. Can I feed her a vegetarian diet like mine? 

A: While we respect your choice to be a vegetarian. No, you can not feed your cat a vegetarian diet. Cats are obligate carnivores and must have meat to remain healthy. Cats require at least twice as much protein as dogs for basic health maintenance. Proteins are made of amino acids such as taurine, which is vital for the prevention of blindness and some heart diseases. Cats get their necessary taurine from muscle and organ meats. Furthermore, the fat in meat provides cats with linoleic acid, which cats cannot produce on their own. Linoleic acid assists in the production of red blood cells and helps with bodily functions such as blood clotting. Meat is also a cat's only source of vitamin A, which is also important for normal bodily functioning. Feeding a cat a vegetarian diet would be like feeding a horse meat. We can’t change nature.

Q: My Sphynx cat loves chicken. Can I give him the bones to chew on?

A: Absolutely! Cats are made to digest raw bone. Never serve any cooked, microwaved or smoked bones. Cooked or microwaved bones will splinter in his mouth or get caught in his gut causing perforation and serious life threatening damage. However if the bone is raw you can feed any bones. Poultry is recommended.

Q: Is catnip bad for my cat? Someone told me it's like a drug.

A: Catnip is completely harmless herbs. 70% of cats will react to catnip and enjoy it. Do not introduce catnip to young kittens but once they are past the age of 9 months it’s fine and makes them happy. Try growing your own.

Q: Why does my sphynx cat knead me, with her claws?

A: Just like purring, kneading is a sign of happiness. Cats have scent glands in their paws. Kneading is a way of marking you as theirs. Purring usually accompanies kneading and adult cats normally knead when sitting on a favourite person's lap or settling down to sleep. This os often accompanied by drooling. The more your cat is drooling, the happier he is.

Q: My Sphynx tries to suck on my neck or ear lobe. Was he weaned too early?

A: Suckling is a hereditary trait. Many Sphynx (and some other breeds) enjoy suckling as a pacifier. Adults who pacifi often pass it on to their babies. Some will even suckle on themselves or make little pin holes in their bedding by sucking on it. 

Q: What is the best harness for a sphynx cat. I want to take mine outside.

A: Since sphynx cats are hairless, harnesses made of soft fabric on the inside, next to the skin is best so as to not irritate their skin. A regular harness with soft fabric wrapped around it can also suffice. I prefer not to use harness at all. I use a regular leash and collar for walks. 

Q: Can I toilet train my Sphynx?

A: Yes! You will need to use a regular litter box until you kitten is large enough to straddle the toilet safely but once big enough Sphynx are reasonable easy to train to use the toilet. Keep in mind that your toilet seat will sometimes be wet so use the guest bathroom. lol. If using a litter box here are some tips. Never use clumping kitty litter. They can lick it off of their paws and ingest it causing internal issues. I use natural wood pellets. There is no ugly litter scent and it’s easy to clean. Cats need to feel safe when doing their business. Contrary to popular believe using a closed in box is not always best. An open litter box situated where they can see any trouble coming is best.

Q: I am going away. What should I do about my Sphynx while I am away?

A: Sphynx bond very closely with their humans and find it stressful when you are way. The best choice is to take your Sphynx with you. They love to travel. However if this is not possible having someone come into your home to care for your cat is the best option. Try to find someone that the cats knows or have your caregiver start coming to visit prior to your leaving. Cats can act out when they are stressed. New behaviours such as not using a litter box, being grumpy, scratching or biting themselves or furniture may appear while you are away or once you get back. Be patient and let them know that these behaviours are not acceptable. Make sure that your caregiver does not just come in and feed and go. Sphynx must have company. If you must take your cat to boarding place, choose one that is for cats only. Many have open rooms that are very homey. The homier and the more comfortable the better. Insist that your own raw diet be fed and take a familiar blanket for them.