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Sphynx

The Egyptian Hairless

Sphynx

Shane Sykes - Last Updated on January 28th 2021

All you Need to Know about the Sphynx

The Sphynx (aka the Egyptian Hairless)is a rare breed of cat, and it is pretty fair to say that it is most famous for its hairlessness. 

While the Sphynx is not the only hairless breed of cat, the Peterbald and Elf breed are also cute naked cats. They are by far the most popular.

Nevertheless, this furless cat is probably the most divisive of all breeds. But with its very outlandish and original looks, it has developed a devoted following and a growing number of enthusiasts, including those who would like to know more before choosing a cute Sphynx kitten.

Sphynx

Appearance Matters. What does a Sphynx look like?

Is the Sphynx cat completely hairless?

Well, let's get to it. Is this truly a bald cat!

The Sphynx, while it looks to be a completely naked cat, is not truly hairless.  

Stroke them, and you will notice that they feel like chamois leather. This is because they usually have a light covering of down. This ‘vellus hair’ is very thin and barely noticeable, but it is usually there on this not a quite bald cat.

What is the breed standard of the Egyptian Hairless?  

They have a noticeably narrow, wedge-shaped head. Their body is sturdy and strong and capped off with enormous ears. 

Though maybe not the most appealing look, the proper standard requires a round ‘pot’ belly. 

The skin is very wrinkled, but this is true of most cat breeds. The whiskers and eyebrows do not have to be in any fixed form and can be full, broken, or even none existent.

The webbing on a Sphynx cat's paws is very noticeable. But don’t be alarmed. This Is very normal. It is just more visible in this breed because of the lack of hair.

Mature Sphynx cats weigh anywhere from eight and fifteen pounds.

What Colors do Sphynx cats come in?

A strange question you might think for a hairless cat! But actually, and somewhat bizarrely, their skin is the color that their non-existent coat would be!

There is actually little limit to the colors they can have, which include:

  • White
  • Black
  • Blue 
  • Red
  • Cream
  • Silver
  • Golden
  • Cameo
  • Tortoiseshell
  • Blue-cream
  • Brown

And these colors come in different patterns too, such as….

Solid color, tortoiseshell, bicolor, tricolor/calico.

Blue and black Sphynx cats are amongst the most popular, and the calico hairless cat pattern is much sought after. If you choose a calico Sphynx, you will be most envied!

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It's all Personal. The Sphynx Character

Are Sphynx cats dangerous?

The Sphynx cat personality will surprise you! 

This is an active, happy, loyal, and surprisingly affectionate cat. This is not the moody bald cat it is made out to be. But a popular myth that really persists is one of the angry or grumpy Sphynx cats!

It may be that their unusual, angular face has given the impression of ‘evil’ or ‘aggression’. But actually, the Sphynx cat is a gentle breed that loves attention.

Social, friendly, and curious, they tend to be fine with strangers, often immediately friendly, and also good with other animals, including dogs. So for a multi-pet household, this cat often works well.

Are Sphynx cats good family pets?

As you may be starting to guess, the answer is yes! Especially if your cute Sphynx kitten is well socialized early, they will be happy with all members of the family.

In fact, they are better suited as family cats than as companions. This is because being very lively and playful, they get bored easily. The only time a hairless cat may act out is if they are really bored, and you are ignoring them.

Workaholics, be warned! They do demand regular attention and can be mischievous if left alone too much. This furless cat is not ideal for a home where they are left alone a lot. 

Sphynx

Caring for your Sphynx

Are Sphynx cats really hypoallergenic?

This is the big question that people always ask. The simple answer is. NO. Sorry about that!

You might expect a hairless cat to cause no problems in allergy-prone people, but this is not really the case.

It is not actually the fur that causes most allergies, but saliva and sebaceous glands. While a hairier cat may produce more saliva while grooming itself, the Egyptian cat often produces this secretion as much as other cats. They just don't drop it all around the house via hairs. 

However, people who are allergic primarily because of the cat fur, not the secretions, have found a Sphynx is much, much better for them than a regular cat.

How often should you give a Sphynx cat a bath?

More than any other cat, this breed needs a good splash and scrub.

Being a cat that doesn't shed means their skin is more exposed to dirtiness. Oils that the hair normally absorbs end up lingering on their skin instead.

A weekly bath is ideal, and thankfully most hairless cats get used to them quickly. If you find your Sphynx isn’t a fan, then a quick dunk and lather, and dunk again will do just as good. 

Are Sphynx cats high maintenance in their grooming needs?

A hairless breed might be thought to be much easier to care for, right? Wrong! There are still a few jobs to do.

First up, ears…

They haven’t really got hair in their ears to catch and protect them from impurities, such as dirt, oils, and wax. So these build up more than in other breeds. Clean the ears weekly before bath time is ideal. 

They also get accumulations of oils and muck under their nails. So all around, the nails need a good scrub when bathing, and weekly nail clipping ain’t a bad idea too.

Sphynx

The Health and Happiness of your Hairless Cat

Is the Sphynx cat a healthy breed?

This is a more robust, healthy breed than many think. Lack of hair may make them look bony and frail, but they are not that delicate.

In their very first days and weeks, a young Sphynx kitten has to be well cared for to avoid infections due to the minimal hair. But no decent breeders would home their kitten until at least twelve weeks of age when the immune system is ready.

One thing to be very careful of is not to let them sunbathe too often, as a lot of sun can make them prone to skin cancer, just like us humans.

The Sphynx cat lifespan is around 15 years, about average for a cat. So that is plenty of happy years together. 

Feline History. Where does the Sphynx come from?

The Egyptian Hairless cat somewhat illogically originated in Mexico but was close to extinction by the 1800s.

The modern Sphynx began with one kitten named "Prune," a hairless cat born in 1966 to non-hairless parents. After numerous struggles to get the breed going, two hairless kittens, Epidermis and Dermis, were born in the mid-’70s, and from there, this cat began to take off across the United States and then worldwide. 

So while an ancient breed it kind of is, it is very much a recent riser in popularity.

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