Lively, Gentle, Affectionate – and Hairless
Jon Crimes - Last Updated on December 18th, 2021
What you Need to Know about the Elf
If you've ever wanted a pet that looks like some of the most legendary movie characters then you're in luck. The Elf cat is a big-eared, small to average-sized breed with a quizzical expression and a personality to match.
This cat reminds us of Yoda from Star Wars.
The Elf is not actually its own breed. Instead, it has been developed from a Sphynx cat with a 'new trait'. This change from the Sphynx is due to the crossing with an American Curl. This has given the Elf cat curly ears and an even more distinctive look than the Sphynx breed.
Appearance Matters. What does an Elf look like?
The hairless Elf cat is not entirely hairless!
If you're familiar with hairless cats, they don't have fur, but they do have a very fine covering of down. This makes them feel as though they've got a fine covering of chamois.
This 'chamois' is nearly invisible to the eye so that the cats appear as though they have no fur.
Soft and warm to the touch, the Elf is a surprisingly sturdy cat that likes to be handled. The ears are curled, which gives the cat its Elfin appearance, and the eyes are open, large, and intelligent.
As a kitten, their skin is generally loose and wrinkled. As they grow, the skin tightens a bit but will stay quite loose throughout their life.
Elf cat colors
Sometimes called the Elf Sphynx cat, this breed can have coats in pretty much any color.
It's the same with the eyes as well. Eye colors can be many colors ranging from green to gold and anything in between. Some Elf cats will have eyes of different colors as well, such as one blue eye and one brown.
Can you get an Elf cat with fur?
You can find an Elf cat with fur but this will be in the form of short fine hair. This can be present on the scrotum (males), tail, ears, nose, and feet. The rest of the body hair is either absent or in the form of a soft down.
Whiskers are generally short and sparse if present at all.
It's all Personal. The Elf Personality
Described as lively, sweet-tempered, eager to be handled, and intelligent. The Elf apparently takes after its parent breeds of the Sphynx and American Curl breeds.
It’s also likely to be very suitable for families with other children. Both the parent breeds have proved to be very friendly with children providing they are old enough to be respectful and gentle to the cat.
This rare breed will also take some of the other character traits of its parent breeds. Expect them to be active but also affectionate, and very friendly.
Elf cats love to be social, outgoing and will adore human attention.
One word of caution though, they can get up to all sorts of cat 'antics'.
If something is within their reach, they'll quite happily play with it. Also, they love to climb! If you don't want them to get to something on a shelf within jumping distance, move it somewhere higher.
Caring for your Elf
With hardly any hair and very delicate skin, Elf cats need protection from the sun, especially in the summer. It's not unusual for its parent breeds to require sunscreen to protect against skin burning, this is also required for the Elf.
The Elf is described as a 'low maintenance cat' and needs very little actual grooming.
As with similar breeds, a regular wipe down is all that's needed. And an occasional bath of course.
One thing to be aware of is that hairless cats can sometimes have very oily skin.
If you find that your Elf has exceptionally oily skin then bathing might need to be more frequent to avoid clogged skin pores.
And skipping baths can be problematic for another reason. If you don't bathe your pet regularly, they might leave an oily residue on your furniture and clothing.
Of course, shedding won't be a major problem but you might get a small amount of fur being shed from small areas of the cat.
As with all cats, there will be some grooming activities to build into your Elf grooming routine.
- Nails. Check these regularly and trim if required. Being adventurous climbers, you don't want your Elf to have long nails and damage furniture. Also, their claws can develop a waxy buildup which will need to be cleaned off.
- Eyes. Wipe away any natural discharge with a soft damp cloth.
- Ears. Check for dirt and remove gently with another soft damp cloth. Avoid putting anything in the cat's delicate ear canal.
- Teeth. Brush teeth with a vet-approved toothpaste to maintain good oral hygiene.
Starting these routines with young kittens is a great way to get them used to what you need to do.
Are Elf cats hypoallergenic?
No cats are truly hypoallergenic. But with hardly any hair, the Elf will be a better choice than many short or long-haired breeds if you have allergies.
The Health and Happiness of your Elf
Being a new breed, the health of the Elf cat, and any potential genetic problems are not fully understood. With the Sphynx breed having a history of heart problems, the American Curl was used in the creation of the Elf.
The American Curl has very little in the way of genetic health problems. It's hoped that this combination of parent breeds should help the Elf to have few genetic health conditions.
Breeder sites also describe the Elf as being very 'agile and social'. This is another indicator that the health of the breed might be good. The biggest health problem the Elf cat might be susceptible to is also very common with all hairless breeds.
Their skin is very delicate and can be injured when playing or 'fighting' with another cat. Without hair, they can be affected by hot or cold weather. Sunburn, in particular, should be avoided.
What is the Elf cat lifespan?
The lifespan of the Elf cat has been based on its parent breeds and in particular the American Curl. The Elf should expect to have a long average life expectancy of between 15 and 20 years.
Feline History. Where does the Elf come from?
In 2004, two women from two catteries had a particular vision for a cat breed that didn't exist yet. Rather than being secretive, Karen Nelson of Falmari and Kristen Leedom of Quendi Cattery shared their ideas with breeders.
This resulted in significant success and a new breed of cat was born.
The Elf breed is a hybrid of the Sphynx and the American Curl. In some cases, breeders are starting to add the Highlander as an outcross.
They have begun to be shown in The International Cat Association's show halls. Although not yet accepted, there is hope that that will eventually be accepted as a new trait of the Sphynx.
Questions people often ask about Elf Kitten
+What is an Elf cat?
+Are Elf cats hypoallergenic?
+How much is an Elf cat?
+Where to Find the Best Elf Cat Breeders?