At first glance, you might think Sphynx cats are low maintenance compared to their fellow long-haired friends. But no fur to brush or vacuum up doesn’t mean less care, in fact Sphynx are some of the highest maintenance cats out there. In addition to their temperature sensitivity, their exposed skin makes them sensitive to dirt, oil, moisture, and other environmental factors. They also happen to be one of the more social breeds, meaning they like attention or companionship with other animals around the house. Beyond that, they come with all the other trouble associated with relatively rare breeds of cat.
Just like humans, cats produce oil that is usually absorbed by their hair or fur. Without something to absorb the oils, Sphynxes are more prone to buildup than other types of cats. While this isn’t your typical emergency health issue, it can lead to acne, outbreaks, or sensitive skin (not to mention one uncomfortable cat). It’s best to do a warm, weekly water bath to keep your Sphynx clean and happy. Your vet may recommend specialized shampoos for hairless cats to help keep their skin healthy, but as with any skin, it’s a good idea to rinse carefully and avoid excess shampoo drying and causing irritation.
Be sure to take special care of any spots where dirt or oil might hide. If your Sphynx has a few skin folds, unwashed ears, or cat toe jam, it’s probably a good idea to wash those areas carefully too. With a lack of hair anywhere, the small crevices between toes, in folds, and around the ears can be particularly at risk for irritation and build-up.
Whenever you apply moisture to a Sphynx, make sure you do a thorough pat-down after to soak up any excess. Since they don’t have a coat of fur to keep them warm it’s important to keep them dry.
A lack of fur doesn’t just mean a few extra baths, it means no build in heating system as well. While other animals enjoy a warm coat of fur, Sphynx cats have to find other ways to warm up. It’s important to keep them in mind when the colder months roll through so you can provide them any extra heat they might need.
Sphynx tend to be pretty social cats, and part of that might be their need for warmth. Not emotional warmth, more like a big, human-shaped heatrock. Sphynx may seek out human companionship or the company of other cats and house pets as a means of seeking warmth. Additionally, they have a fairly high metabolism and appetite, which can lend to a sort of internal warming process as they’re regularly burning more energy for warmth or activity.
One way to ensure your furless friends stay warm is by providing a number of cozy spots around the home for them to curl up in. Fleece blankets, or heated beds if possible, are perfect for keeping your Sphynx happy. Depending on their temperament, some Sphynx may be open to clothes of some type (sweaters, jackets, etc). Of course, not all will love the extra layer, so it’s important to pay attention to how your cat reacts to clothes. If they’re stressed out or clearly not comfortable with something like a sweater, it’s best not to force them to wear one if it’s not absolutely necessary.
While it might seem like you can avoid this dilemma by living with your Sphynx in warm stretch of the world, you might have to think again. While they are incredibly prone to the cold, Sphynx also lack the fur coat necessary to block out the sun’s rays. That means they’re susceptible sunburns just like we are. Beyond that, without an insulation layer, they might have trouble regulating their body temperature in the heat. While they don’t want to be cold, they do need to be cool to avoid overheating. And again, being outside tends to expose their already exposed skin to the dirt and stuff outside.
Sphynx cats are a special breed but the high maintenance comes with high reward. These cats are known to be one of the friendliest breeds with rambunctious personalities. Once you get accustomed to their soft skin in place of fur, they’ll be your new favorite cuddle buddy.