8 Facts About Sphynx Cats

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The very term “Sphynx” takes us to the realms of ancient Egypt. It is true that cats were life-saving companions to the people of ancient Egypt and they were drawn to worship them. But, our bald beauty “Sphynx Cat” has no lineage with the Egyptian deities. These naked aliens of the feline world originated in a place thousands of miles away from the land of Pharaohs. The breed’s origin actually began in Canada in 1966, when a mutant hairless male kitten named Prune was born to an otherwise normal furred litter. The Sphynx is completely Mother Nature’s creation and due to the cats’ sleek look and resemblance to the iconic Egyptian statues of old, it got its unique name. Sphynx are the living proof that there’s more to a feline than just a fur coat. This feisty feline has the following unique characteristics of its own.

They Are Not Hairless

With their angular faces, big ears, smooth bodies and a wrinkly exterior, Sphynx might appear hairless to the naked eye but you will not spot even one that is hairless. Though they are not plush to the touch, Sphynx are actually covered by soft, downy-like, fuzzy suede that feels like leather. The skin of a Sphynx cat is patterned and colored similar to other breeds of cats. They usually do not have any eyelashes or whiskers because of which their highly expressive, almond-shaped eyes and whisker pads appear more prominent.  

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Cuddle Bugs

Sphynx cats might be devoid of fur, but not of warmth and love. They are known to be good cuddle bugs.  Although Sphynx cats do have a natural body temperature which is actually 4 degrees warmer than average cat temperatures, snuggling is a means for them to stay warm anytime they feel the need to. Sphynx cats are naturally affectionate and it’s not just the need for warmth but probably the need for attention that draws them towards their human masters. A latest study that has been published in the Journal of Veterinary Behavior has ranked Sphynx as the most affectionate cat breed.

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High Energy Cat

With a naked mole rat like appearance, people might assume that Sphynx cats are timid, dull and unappealing. But, in actuality Sphynx cats have an extremely gregarious nature filled with warmth and affection.

A Sphynx cat displays a high level of curiosity, energy, intelligence and affection for its owner. It is an extremely chatty breed that actually talks back to you and will talk whenever it can. Being energetic and mischievous, they always want to be near their owner(s). These adorable felines often act more like dogs, frequently greeting their owners at the door. Besides seeking human attention, they also enjoy the company of certain other breeds of cats (and even some breeds of dogs).

High Maintenance Pet

Sphynx cats belong to a relatively high maintenance breeds of the feline world. They require a lot of physical care and attention with a good emotional cushion. It is a neat-obsessed animal who also needs to have clean and tidy surroundings. You will have to make sure that you keep its cat litter box spic and span all the time. A dirty litter box is totally unacceptable to a Sphynx who will prefer to defecate outside a dirty box, anywhere in the house.

Sphynx coats might not be a magnet for dust particles, pollen, and other substances, but the skin still produces oil. For furry breeds, this oil helps in keeping the fur sleek but with Sphynx cats, it can form a greasy film over their bodies that builds up an unpleasant smell. Therefore, the Sphynx cat needs to bathe a lot more than the usual cat breeds. The same goes for the ears; since there are not any hairs to block dirt or dead skin cells from accumulating inside the cavities, their ears must be wiped regularly with a washcloth or cotton ball.

Cat beds are the best option for housing these cats because if you let this cat sleep on your bed, you’ll also be waking up to oil stains and unpleasant smells all over your bed.  

Indoor Cats

Sphynx cats are classified as indoor pets. The absence of a dense coat makes Sphynx skin more sensitive than other felines. Apart from the fact that they can get dirty easily, they can also get a sunburn. Without a cushioning coat, this cat breed is highly susceptible to injury. These cats feel the cold a lot in winter, and need to be protected from the scorching summer heat.  Many Sphynx owners make small coats or jumpers for their cats for cold weather, and use sunblock on them in hot weather. If possible, make a place in front of a window where the sunshine comes in to provide warmth and to give them a view of the external world.

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Fast Metabolism

In contrast to their slender bodies, Sphynx cats have heavy appetites, or you may say an enviable metabolism. They actually consume a lot more food than any other feline breed. This is actually a physiological necessity for them because as food burns in their bodies, their internal temperatures stay up. They need a high protein diet for optimal health. It is important to keep your Sphynx well-stuffed with the right food and right portion size so that it does not go to bed hungry.

Low Health Level Cats

Sphynx cats are definitely not lifetime cats. The life expectancy for this breed is only between 8 to 12 years, while the average life expectancy for other breeds can be anywhere from 12 to 14 years and even beyond. Sphynx cats are more prone to sickness than other breeds. The biggest risk to the Sphynx cat is cold. Although they feel warm, due to the absence of a fur layer, they must be provided with good snuggle spots to curl up.

Territorial & Leash Walkers

Sphynx cats are highly territorial requiring their own personal space and play area. The best way to handle this instinct of a Sphynx cat is to provide it with a cat tree that can give it enough vertical space to play in. Such a place is very important for these cats since they cannot go outdoors in the sun for too long, but also require lots of stimulation.

Another exception with this breed of felines is their likeness for walks. Though cats are not leash animals, Sphynx cats can be taken out for supervised walks without much worry.

In short, the so called hairless Sphynx, sharing their name with the Great Sphinx of Giza, have nothing in common with the stoic statue, being friendly, vocal and affectionate. They might not be appealing to some people looking to adopt a furry pal, but they are extremely adorable with their own salient characteristics.