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Sphynx Cat

Bald but beautiful, the Sphynx cat is an outgoing and loving feline.

The Sphynx cat was developed through selective breeding of cats who had a naturally occurring genetic mutation leading to hairlessness in Canada in the 1960’s. 

They can come in any cat colour or pattern which is reflected by the colour of the skin. They are a muscular, medium sized cat with large ears and eyes and have a life expectancy of 10 to 15 years. They have wrinkly skin and may have very small or absent whiskers. 

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Cat Breed Facts & Characteristics

Origin

Canada, 1960’s 

Size 

Height 20 to 30cms, Weight 3 to 5.5kgs

Weight Range

 3 to 5.5kgs

Colours

All cat colours and patterns 

Life expectancy

10 to 15 years 

Coat

Maybe hairless or have very fine hair

Temperament 

Sociable, playful, loving

Exercise requirements

High

Best suited for 

Households with time to give them plenty of company 

Apartment Friendly

Yes 

Personality

Sphynx are famous for their sociable personalities and love of human company. They make a great choice for families with children and tend to get along well with other pets. They are best suited to a household with time to spend with them. Playing and climbing are pastimes that Sphynx cats love well into adulthood, so make sure you’ve got plenty of cat toys available and get ready to enjoy play time with your Sphynx. Keep your Sphynx safe by housing them indoors or in a suitable cat friendly enclosure.

Grooming 

The Sphynx is famously bald or has very fine peach fuzz hair. Being hairless may sound like a maintenance dream, but without fur, oily deposits build up on the skin meaning that regular bathing is often necessary with a gentle, cat friendly shampoo. The skin folds need particular attention as oils and moisture may deposit in the folds. Regular ear cleaning is also important as the ears tend to accumulate wax and debris quickly, predisposing them to ear irritation and infection. Keeping up with yearlong parasite control will help keep your Sphynx tick and flea free.  

Feeding

When choosing a food for your Sphynx, select a premium food appropriate to your cats age and life stage. Follow the recommended feeding guides on the food appropriate to your pet's size to help avoid obesity and ensure your fur baby gets appropriate nutrition. Always ensure your Sphynx cat has a constant supply of fresh water available and consider providing them with a water fountain, as many cats prefer to drink moving water.

Common Health Concerns 

As noted previously, the Sphynx is susceptible to skin and ear problems such as infections and allergies. Check the ears, skin and wrinkles regularly and monitor for signs of redness, discharge and scratching. If you are concerned your cat might have a skin problem, contact your Vet for advice.

Feline Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) is an inherited disease in Sphynx cats. In hypertrophic cardiomyopathy the heart muscle becomes abnormally thickened, impairing heart function. 

According to PetSure data from 2020, the five most common reasons for a Sphynx cat to visit the vet (excluding for routine visits like vaccinations) are as follows:  

Rank

Condition

Average cost for single treatment
(average pet insurance claim amount)

Highest cost for single treatment (highest pet insurance claim seen for this condition)

1

Gastrointestinal diseases

$280

$2,115

2

Ear infections

$153

$1,119

3

Skin conditions (including infections, allergies)

$261

$1,732

4

Heart conditions (including cardiomyopathy, heart failure, heart murmur)

$401

$1,592

5

Eye conditions – such as uveitis, corneal ulcers and conjunctivitis

$202

$2,611

Disclaimer: Reimbursement for these claims would be subject to limits, such as annual benefit limits or sub-limits, benefit percentage, applicable waiting periods and any applicable excess. Cover is subject to the policy terms and conditions. You should consider the relevant Product Disclosure Statement or policy wording available from the relevant provider.

Most popular Sphynx names

According to PetSure data from 2020, the most popular names for Sphynx cats were

Most popular names

  1. Yoda
  2. Fluffy
  3. Chico
  4. Clyde
  5. Delilah
  6. Frank
  7. Freya
  8. Fudge
  9. Henry
  10. Leo

Most popular female names

  1. Clyde
  2. Delilah 
  3. Freya
  4. Little
  5. Lucy
  6. Luna
  7. Winnie
  8. Yoda
  9. Ziggy

Most popular male names

  1. Fluffy
  2. Yoda
  3. Chico
  4. Frank
  5. Fudge 
  6. Henry
  7. Leo
  8. Nacho
  9. Nelson
  10. Rupert

Did you know?

The genetic mutation that results in the Sphynx cat's hairless appearance occurs in the same gene that results in the Devon Rex’s curly coat. 

Where can I get a Sphynx cat?

Your local animal shelter or rescue organisation is the best place to look for a cat as shelters generally have many cats looking for loving homes. It may be possible to find a Sphynx through a breed specific rescue. 

References

  1. The Cat Fanciers Association, About the Sphynx, Accessed on 11/01/21
  2. Wikipedia, Sphynx, Accessed on 11/01/21
  3. UC Davis Veterinary Medicine, Sphynx and Devon Rex Coats, Accessed on 11/01/2021

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Kylie Mitchell is a veterinarian with over 17 years experience in animal health and welfare, including in the veterinary and pet insurance industries

She has three rescue cats (Noah, Bei Bei and Meeka), four very old cockatiels and a pond-full of fish.

Kylie's pets

Noah
Noah
Bei Bei
Bei Bei
Meeka
Meeka