Do Sphynx cats make good pets?

The contemporary breed of Sphynx cat, also known as the Canadian Sphynx, is distinct from the Russian hairless cat breeds, like Peterbald and Donskoy. These cats have a narrow and long head with webbed feet. Their skin has patches of different colors, but without any fur and abstract casual markings may be found on Sphynx cat’s skin. This particular breed is very friendly, loving and energetic and craves for human attention. In contrast to the looks these acrobatic clowns just can’t take themselves too seriously. These cats love to entertain humans and follow them throughout the house just like a little puppy.

The basic morphology:

The Sphynx breed is a medium sized cat with a striking and wrinkly appearance with large ears. These cats have sleek, muscular body and triangular heads with wide-set eyes and prominent cheek bones. Apart from the hairless skin, the sphynx has large, triangular shaped ears that resemble those of a bat.  The markings and colors of the skin vary widely and come in almost any color or pattern, including solid, tabby or tortoise shell. 

Personality:

The sphynx is a very energetic cat breed and a great acrobatic performer that loves to show off different tricks for seeking attention. Their sense of humor is often at odds with their expression. These cats love to follow you around the house and involve themselves in whatever you do. They love to perch on your shoulders or curl up in your lap. The intelligent and curious nature of these cats makes them energetic and helpful. These cats are the best indoor cats and get along well with the children and other pets.

Origin:

These cats are known for generations and were reported to be kept by the Aztecs. Their breeding began in 1966 in Ontario, Canada when a cat gave birth to a hairless kitten. So the contemporary breed of sphynx cat is also known as Canadian sphynx and is distinct from the Russian hairless cat breeds like Peterbald and Donskoy. Two different sets of hairless felines were discovered in North America in the 1970s that provided the sphinx cats. The Sphynx breed found today is decedents of the three hairless kittens found in Toronto in 1978.

Nutrition:

Cats are unique for their likes and dislikes as well as their needs when it comes to the food. However, these are carnivorous and must obtain 41 types of nutrients through their diet. The nutrients vary with age, lifestyle and overall health and growing kittens need a balance of nutrients in their diet than a less active senior cat. For maintaining the ideal body condition, the right amount of food to be fed in accordance to the feeding guidelines and catering individuals must be considered involving all the dry and wet food recipes. 

Grooming:

Regardless of being hairless, the cat’s skin still needs to be clean and supple and the owner must pay attention to this need. The skin needs removing oils and secretions every week. The sticky secretions from the outer ear must be cleaned on a regular basis to prevent ear infections. Due to the body oils, regular bathing is really important and special care should be taken to limit the outdoor exposure to the sunlight length, which can result in sunburns and skin damage similar to humans. 

Sphynx cats can need more attention during the grooming session, because they develop more ear wax than other domestic cats due to absence of hairs in their ears. Ear wax, skin oils and dirt accumulate in the ears and needs to be cleaned out on a weekly basis before bath time. These cats also tend to accumulate oils and debris under their nails and skin folds due to the lack of fur, so the nails and surrounding skin folds need to be cleaned properly as well. Due to all these factors, this breed requires more grooming as compared to other domestic cats with furs. Special products for this cat have been developed.

Giving a bath to Sphynx:

There is no way of the secreted oils to be absorbed due to lack of the fur in these cats. The oils that accumulate on the skin attract dust and clog the pores which when left alone, leads to infection. Sphynx are acclimated to baths by the breeders when they are kittens. Without regular baths, sphynx leaves reddish patches on sheets, clothing, furniture and their owners. The water for bathing should be warm, not hot and use a gentle shampoo recommended by your veterinarian and thoroughly soap them with careful attention between the toes. Rinse all the soap afterwards and dry them thoroughly to prevent any risk of a chill, especially in winters.

Sphynx Clothing:

As discussed earlier, Sphynx just can’t maintain their body temperature and might get cold. In such climates, owners need to provide clothing and coats for winters that help them to conserve body heat. The average body temperature of Sphynx cat bodies is 99.5 to 102.5 F which is 37.5-39.1oC, and is much higher as compared to other cats with fur. During the colder months, or while living in tropical climes, they find themselves comfortable with clothes. Use sweaters and other clothing items to keep them warm during winters.

Cat allergies:

This cat breed is hypoallergenic and the allergies are triggered by a special protein called Fel d1, a protein found in saliva and sebaceous glands of these cats. People with cat allergies may react worse when they come in direct contact with Sphynx cats. There are reports that some people with cat allergies can successfully tolerate Sphynx cats which may be the result of desensitizing and the hairless cat gives the owner an optimism to try to own a cat leading to positive situation of their own adaptations.

Living with Sphynx cats:

These cats are strong and hardy breed with few health issues. Although they don’t have any genetic disease predispositions, they have been known to affect sphinx cats, including hypertrophic cardiomyopathy that causes thickening of heart muscles which can be detected with an echocardiogram and hereditary myopathy, a condition that affects muscle functions. This breed is sometimes prone to skin conditions like urticaria pigmentosa that causes crusty sores to form on the body. This breed is also prone to periodontal disease and should be provided with regular teeth brushing and dental checkups.

While considering sphinx cats for adoption, avoid the breeders that do not offer a health guarantee on the kittens or claims that their line is HCM-free. HCM is not a hereditary, but cats are susceptible to this heart disease and no breeder can guarantee with absolute certainty that this kitten can’t develop this particular disease. Sphynx is an active cat breed that enjoys jumping, playing or climbing as well as normal scratching. Scratching places should be provided to climb and perch along with places.

Conclusion

Overall, we believe the sphynx breed is the most wonderful pet you can have especially around your children. The love and passion a sphynx has towards its owners is like no other,  not to forget the everyday comical entertainment.

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