Cats rank at the top of the list next to dogs when it comes to domesticated animals. Most people love kitties, and many animal lovers go to extreme lengths to ensure the overall well-being of their purr-fect pet. But one feline which is more in the love-them-or-hate-them category than others is the Sphynx.
Not only is the sphynx different from other kitties in terms of appearance, but it is the only cat that is paralleled with dogs in terms of disposition. Thus, many cat parents find themselves floundering when it comes to caring for these oddballs. Numerous misconceptions exist about Sphynx cats.
So, do sphynx cats have whiskers? Sphynx cats can have whiskers, although the majority of them are entirely hairless. The lack of whiskers may account for Sphynx cats overestimating the size of openings and getting stuck or not being as perceptive of their surroundings.
These hairless kitties may not have a fur coat, but the upkeep of a Sphynx is far from simple.
Why Do Sphynx Cats Have No Hair?
Hairlessness occurs in cats through genetic mutation. But that’s not what happened to produce the Sphynx. You see, Sphynx cats were developed as a breed through selective reproduction. With their high cheekbones and enormous eyes, these bat-eared kitties stand out in a crowd of cats.
Yet, when you take a closer look at a sphynx, you’ll realize that the Sphynx cat isn’t entirely hairless. The body of the sphynx cat is covered with fine, downy hair, quite like a peach. These rather peculiar physical traits in the sphynx did not occur as a quirk of nature.
In the early 1960s, breeders from Europe were diligently trying to breed a hairless feline. But, in the 1970s, in Canada, the Sphynx cat that we know today emerged. The earliest ancestors of the sphynx cat went by Dermis and Epidermis, hailing from Minnesota, USA. And, Bambi, Punkie and Paloma from Ontario, Canada.
Because this is not a natural trait, Sphynx cats can have some minor challenges in life. For example, despite their lack of whiskers, their instincts still tell them they can rely on that sixth sense.
Not having whiskers can sometimes make it harder for them to read their surroundings and they can even get stuck in openings they thought were large enough to fit them.
Beyond this, they have a harder time regulating their temperature and some caring Sphynx parents will even knit them sweaters for the winter. They also have no fluffy armor protecting them from other cats, or even the sun.
Another interesting feature about the sphynx cat is that they are known as the dogs among cats. They are super friendly, very sociable, and easily trained. While in appearance they look like wrinkly towels or little pink goblins, most people seem to agree that this trait is actually strangely endearing.
So, what is it about these cats that scare potential parents away?
Indeed, you must have heard that keeping a sphynx is not an easy task. Unlike common breeds of cats, the Sphynx cat requires far more grooming than their fluffy cousins.
Why Do Sphynx Cats Need More Grooming?
Sphynx cats do not have hair, and most don’t even have whiskers, but almost all have very fine downy hair. As the fine hair covering the sphynx cat is almost always short and barely visible, the sphynx is termed hairless. It is the lack of a fur coat that makes grooming the sphynx more frequently all the more critical.
You see, the fur coat of cats absorbs all the oils that the skin produces in other breeds of cats. Not to mention, the hair on cats also guards against most of the debris cats tend to attract by hiding in nooks and crannies.
But, the sphynx has no hair. It gets smelly due to the oil reserves that tend to gather around the skin if the cat is not given regular baths, attracting more dust and grime.
No, it isn’t genetic for your cat to stink. You have to bear in mind that because Sphynx cats have no hair, and they too love to play around in dirty places like all cats, they have more filth hanging onto them.
Hence, they don’t need daily hair brushing but do require frequent bathing. And, if you haven’t been giving your feline the attention it deserves, then it will stink.
Sphynx cats are more susceptible to weather changes too. Too much sun can cause a sunburn on your Sphynx cat’s skin, and too much of a temperature drop can mean that your cat will fall ill, as they do get cold quite quickly.
Hence, covering your sphynx with extra layers during winter is a must. And, it is just as essential to give your sphynx cat regular baths and proper moisturizing during summers.
A bath at least once every week is vital for sphynx cats. Also, every day or on alternating days, moisturizing with organic coconut oil is necessary for skin health and your cat’s overall well-being.
Do Sphynx Cats Get Fleas?
Yes, of course the sphynx cat can get fleas. They love to hunt around, go and snuggle into dark and dirty places, and love to explore the outdoors. So, they are just as likely to get fleas as any other kitty. But, the advantage of having a hairless feline is that you’ll be able to see the fleas.
Now, the case of the ‘hitch-hiker’ flea is common even for indoor cats. The hitchhiker flea is a phenomenon where a random flea climbs onto a warm body from quite literally anywhere and finally settles onto a pet to lay eggs.
Hence, your cat may get a flea from simply being out for a walk, being around other animals, or even around people who own animals. But, the upside of having a furless baby is that you’ll spot a flea on your kitty much faster.
Also, there are several things that you can do to deal with fleas. Some injections are available at vets to prevent flea infestation in your pet. There are oral medicines that are administered to kitties for flea prevention as well.
Or, you can use the good-ol’ flea collar that works like a charm to keep away bothersome, blood-sucking creatures.
To appease your curious soul, there’s a list of frequently-asked queries answered to help you out in taking better care of your beloved non-fluffball.
Why Are Sphynx Cats So Expensive? Is It As Expensive to Keep One?
Many people feel that adopting a Sphynx cat is too much responsibility and costs an arm and a leg to keep. But, just because Rachel from ‘Friends’ gave up her darling pet to cut down on her expenses doesn’t necessarily imply that you can’t have a sphynx around your household.
Sphynx cats are purebred, and they are also expensive to adopt, as they are rarities. But, no, the upkeep of a sphynx is about the same for any feline, except you have to give them a regular bath and moisturize them daily with coconut oil.
You see, Sphynx cats don’t require as much in the way of money as time and effort. So, if you have other cats in your house, you can certainly keep a sphynx.
Also, you need to keep them out of the harsh sunlight and have an added layer on them in winter. But, apart from these essentials, the sphynx cat is like any other cat, only friendlier.
Do Sphynx Cats Need Lotion?
Sphynx cats do need moisturizing, but there are no specific branded lotions that are necessary to keep your cat’s skin healthy. Many vets do not even recommend baby products for cats.
You see, sphynx cats have just that layer of skin and are more susceptible to toxicity than babies. So, the best thing to use to moisturize your adorable kitty’s skin is to go for organic coconut oil.
Moisturizing every alternate day and using cat wet wipes to clean away any grime off your cat is going to go a long way in keeping your feline healthy and happy.
Do Sphynx Cats Need Sunscreen?
While sphynx cats are just as likely to get sunburns as humans, you should never try to put your own sunscreen on your cat. While you may have no reaction to your sunscreen, it may irritate your cat’s skin and cause bigger problems.
There is no sunscreen products designed specifically for cats. And, let me ask you this. Have you ever seen a sphynx cat just wandering about the neighborhood? Probably not.
That’s because sphynx cats don’t do so well as outdoor cats. In the summer, their skin can burn, and in the winter, they’ll freeze because they don’t have any insulation to keep themselves warm.
Not to mention, fur acts as a kind of armor for cats. If a sphynx gets into a tussle with another neighborhood cat, they could be facing serious injuries without this protective barrier most cats have naturally.
So, skip the sunblock and just keep your kitty safely indoors or let them out every once in a while for no longer than 15-20 minutes at a time if they’re having fun in the sun.
Do Sphynx Cats Like To Cuddle?
Some may equate these unbelievably cuddle-worthy sphynx cats to naked mole rats. But, nothing can be further from the truth. Sphynx cats are often affectionate and have great personalities. Their natural hairless state does not make them slimy or oily to touch in any way. They aren’t cold to the touch either.
Sphynx cats feel warm to touch even more than other cats. Many sphynx cat parents claim that their cats always come around to greet them when they come back from work. They are also known to be quite pleasant, as they do not react aggressively towards other animals.
And, when it comes to cuddles specifically, the sphynx loves to snuggle into their guardians more than other cats. It is a habit that becomes more pronounced when the winter season comes around.
Do Sphynx Cats Get Blackheads?
Unfortunately, sphynx cats do get blackheads due to the oil that the skin secretes and their hairless nature. But, it isn’t a problem that persists if you take care of it promptly.
You have to wash the area affected with antibacterial soap that your vet recommends. Apply a drop of witch hazel to the spot with a cotton ball. You can then wash off the area, and your sphynx cat will be clear of blackheads in no time.
Adopting a Sphynx cat is a responsibility, but not much different than keeping any other breed of feline. Just some extra love and care from your side will be enough to ensure you have a happy kitty on your hands. And that’s all it takes to be sure that your cat lives a long life too.
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