Sphynx Cats
Breed Profile and Cat Facts

Sphynx Cats, aka Canadian Hairless cats, are unusual cat breeds with personalities that are unmatched in the cat world!

This is the best known of the hairless cats but it may surprise you to know that there are other 'nude' cats like the Peterbald, the Don Sphynx, Russian Levkoy and the new hairless dwarf cats.

Contrary to popular belief, they are not hypoallergenic cats and they do require a fair amount of grooming.

chocolate mink bi-color Sphynx cat

Diva Moon Catz Tjoklit Sous  | chocolate mink bi-color Sphynx | owner W Strauss & E Smith, bred by C Scheepers | © Theresa Fouche

What the Sphynx cat lacks in hair, they more than make up in personality!

This domestic cat breed has had to endure many insults - alien cat, freak of nature, wrinkled raisin.

People who have had the honor of owning, breeding and living with this very unique and special cat, think very differently. Our first meeting with this cat made us fans....for life!

a special nude coat

Whilst many describe the Sphynx as hairless, this is not entirely true. Most of their body is covered in a fine 'down'. Sparse hair is found on their tails, paws and face.

Their skin feels like natural chamois or suede and some people say it feels like a warm, fuzzy peach. The skin on the legs, body and head is wrinkled, but elsewhere it is taut.

The 'coat' color is seen in the pigment of the skin and all patterns and colors are accepted.

Black cats generally look dark gray and white cats look pinkish. Colors range from white, black, blue, red, cream and patterns range for classic tabby to mackerel, spotted and patched.

Exposure to the sun intensifies the color. Sphynx cats are very sensitive to sunlight, and exposure should be avoided to prevent sunburn.

Spandau Domino Dance | owned and bred by Wilma Hyman | © Theresa Fouche

sphynx features

The Sphynx is a heavy cat with a sturdy bone structure and well developed muscles. Its body is medium sized with a rounded rump and belly and a broad barrel-shaped chest.

Its legs are in proportion to the body, with the front legs being slightly shorter than the hind legs.

Another distinctive feature are the paws, which are oval-shaped, with thick paw pads (looks like they are walking on cushions) and long finger-like toes, which they put to good use.

The Sphynx has a slender, long whip-tail often described as a 'rat' tail. It may have a tuft of hair on the end which is often described as a 'lion' tail.

Its head is slightly triangular in shape, with a flattened forehead and prominent cheek bones.  The muzzle is short, broad and rounded and whiskers are either absent, sparse or very short.

The cat's ears are very large and upright and whilst the inside of the ears are hairless the back of the ears may be covered in light down.

This beauty has large, lemon-shaped eyes and the color generally corresponds to the coat color.

blue Sphynx cat

Moon Catz Nuschka | blue Sphynx kitten | owner J A Steyl  |breeder Charon Scheepers | © Theresa Fouche

info for potential sphynx owners

ideal home | ideal family

Sphynx cats are indoor cats. They are very sensitive to cold, heat and humidity.

When they are allowed outdoors, it should be for a limited time and sun protection is required.

On a mild overcast day, your Canadian Hairless may welcome some limited, supervised time in a safe, enclosed escape-proof garden.

They prefer a home where they have companionship a great deal of the time and they need a loving, caring, patient and committed family.

The Sphynx gets on well with other cats and cat-friendly dogs.

sphynx personality and temperament

The Sphynx has a personality that is as unique as its appearance.

They are demonstrative cats, affectionate, warm, friendly and loyal (to the point of being possessive). It likes nothing more than to curl up on your shoulder whilst it gently strokes your cheek.

This doesn't mean that they're boring - not for a minute. They are vocal, lively, playful and above all else mischievous.

They love to perform silly antics and of course they love to be the center of attention.

They are very sweet tempered, totally non-aggressive cats. 'Lovers not fighters' and it's for this reason that their humans need to take extra good care of them and protect them.

They love to cuddle.

We asked owners to describe their cats and most of them said, it's quarter child, quarter monkey, quarter dog and part cat! What more could you want!

They make great companion cats for the more mature family and they prefer gentle play. 

sphynx care

Sphynx cats are medium-high maintenance cat breeds. Contrary to popular belief, your cat will need weekly grooming.

Natural oils are secreted by the skin and as it has very little hair to absorb these oils, you will need to sponge your cat down at least once a week. This removes dirt and oils and prevents the skin from becoming sticky and also prevents any skin conditions.

A bi-monthly bath is also recommended.

Their ears produce excess wax which needs to be wiped clean. Do not prod in your cat's ears with any sharp objects or cotton buds (Q-tips). 

We have prepared a special guide for hairless cat care and grooming tips.

black harlequin Sphynx cat

Spandau Yasmin | black harlequin Sphynx | owner Sue Eddey, breeder Suzette van den  Berg  | © Theresa Fouche

sphynx health concerns

They are healthy cats, but some Sphynx Cats do suffer from hereditary health problems like:

  • HCM - Feline Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy - a common heart disease in cats. Make sure you adopt your Sphynx from a reputable breeder who does regular screening for this disease.
  • Anesthetics can be fatal to your Sphynx! Cats with liver or kidney conditions are at greater risk. Take a look at this Blog: Gimmies Fishes.
  • This cat only has 2 heats per annum and sadly the neonatal mortality is high - for this reason Sphynx kittens are expensive and rare.

To keep your cat healthy, an annual visit to the vet for vaccinations, de-worming teeth cleaning and a general check-up is advised.

All cats need to be vaccinated against infectious feline diseases and cat health insurance is always recommended.

hypoallergenic cats

The chapter on hypoallergenic cats provides in depth information on this subject and why we say that the Sphynx is not a non-allergic cat breed.

diet | average weight of the sphynx

There are specific commercial brands that produce cat food for hairless cats.

The breeder will normally provide you with diet guidelines and the best cat food for your new Sphynx cat or kitten.

Note: In winter Sphynx require a high calorie diet to keep their body temperature slightly above normal. Your cat needs a healthy, well balanced diet and it's important to feed your cat the very best food you can afford.

You also need to provide your cat with fresh drinking water every day.

The Average Weight

A healthy cat should weigh anywhere between 3.5 - 7.0 kg (7.7 - 15.4 lbs)

life expectancy of the sphynx cat

The Sphynx has a long life expectancy of 15 years or more.

sphynx kittens

Sphynx with her kittens courtesy of Jeanette Breedt

Related Pages:

Sphynx History

Sphynx Pictures

Sphynx Breeders

To Sphynx Cats Page

Return to Domestic Cats


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