Owning a hairless cat is not like owning an ordinary cat. They have their own special needs and personality. You might be asking yourself, is a hairless cat right for me?
If you’re trying to figure out if a hairless cat would fit into your home, we’ll cover some of the basics of owning this unique pet.
What Makes Hairless Cats So Different?
The Sphynx breed is a very special breed. While hairless cats have been found throughout history, the breed we see today is rather new. It has only been bred since about the 1960s. The originator of the modern breed was miraculously born to a normal shorthair cat from Toronto. With some selective breeding, we are left with today’s hairless cat.
It was found that hairlessness is a recessive gene, so many typical cats can still be bred with a hairless cat, but there is no promise of getting hairless offspring. There have also been other hairless cats who have been bred in other parts of the world. As the gene pool for the breed becomes larger, the more stable the breed becomes.
Special Needs of a Hairless Cat
While the breed is very unique, they also have unique needs. Owning a hairless cat is not quite like owning a regular cat. If you’re looking to buy a hairless cat, you should take a look at whether or not you can meet their special needs.
While most cats seldomly need to be bathed because they can clean themselves, the Sphynx will need weekly baths. This is because the Sphynx doesn’t have hair to distribute the skin’s oils. They will also lick themselves like a normal cat, but their saliva doesn’t have any fur to saturate. This means their saliva stays on their skin and evaporates. Their skin then is left with remnants of their attempt at cleaning.
If you do not clean your Sphynx weekly, you’ll likely find reddish, oily spots all over the house. This is their skin’s natural oil and is not very pleasant to look at. And because they have no hair, you should be bathing them with a medicated shampoo. This will keep their skin free of bacteria and other pests. The good news is that most hairless cats are okay with baths, so they shouldn’t fight too much.
Hairless cats are just that: hairless. This includes their ears. Cats, dogs, and even humans have tiny hairs in their ears to help keep out dirt and debris. A Sphynx does not have hair in their ear canal. This means that an owner needs to take the time each week to clean their ears.
Actually, weekly cleanings might not be enough. Sphynx cats combat the hairlessness of their ears by producing a copious amount of dark earwax. They produce so much that you should be cleaning their ears a few times a week. Without this cleaning, their ears will actually produce enough wax to close their ear canal.
A Sphynx will also need to have their nails clipped at normal intervals. The good news is that clipping their nails is easiest done after bath time. The water will help soften up their nails and make them easier to trim. Just be sure not to trim too short, otherwise, you’ll hit the quick. This is the sensitive vein that runs through the cat’s nail. If you clip that, the cat will be in pain and will bleed.
Keeping Your Hairless Cat Warm
Another interesting need for hairless cats is the need for extra warmth. The modern Sphynx may have come from Toronto, but they still need to be kept warm. They don’t have a natural coat of hair, so they lose body heat much faster than other cats. They actually combat this by having a natural body temperature that is about four degrees warmer than other breeds.
Hairless cats can still use a warm boost though. This is why many companies produce clothes that are specifically tailored to hairless cats. As a rule of thumb, if you are cold in your home, the cat is assuredly cold as well.
Final Thoughts about the Sphynx
If you’re considering getting a hairless cat, you might be in for a treat. The Sphynx is known for acting almost more like a dog than a cat. They will meet you at the door when you come home from work. They’re loving and affectionate.
If that sounds like fun, the Sphynx might be a great breed for you. You should however keep these things in mind if you are asking if a hairless cat is right for you:
- Can you keep up with their grooming needs?
- Can you deal with their health issues?
- Do you have allergies to cats?
A lot of people think that because the Sphynx is hairless they are also hypoallergenic. This is not the case at all. Cat allergies are actually produced by a certain kind of protein that the Sphynx also produces.
As long as you can deal with a hairless cat’s special needs, it might just be the playful, energetic breed for you.