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The Sphynx Cat

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Both pet lovers and owners often associate cats with cute, furry animals of small to medium stature and are quite taken aback with the appearance of the Sphynx cat. While some might find its particular countenance interesting while rather unattractive, others will surely be enchanted with their overall aspect.

One of the most eye-catching and unique cat breeds, the Sphynx cat, came into existence in 1966, after a domestic cat gave birth to a hairless kitten in Toronto Canada. Discovered to be a natural genetic mutation, specialists from North America and Europe have been carefully breeding Sphynx cats to normal coated cats and back to hairless cats for over thirty years. And all of this in order to achieve a genetically sound cat with a large gene pool and hybrid vigor. Their life expectancy is from 9 to 15 years.

 

Best known for its unique appearance, the Sphynx is often mistakenly considered as a totally hairless cat breed, although that is not always the case. They are actually covered with a fine gossamery down which one can hardly feel or notice by simply looking. And, because of this, their skin is often compared to warm suede. And prices for a Sphynx kitten sound just as complex, since breeders generally ask for 1000$ for one such feline.

Yet many are eager to pay a steep price for a loving cat and this cat is just that! The Sphynx adores attention and will not miss an occasion to climb on your lap. It is also common for it to greet people at the front door, as excited as any dog. You will often find your Sphynx eager to entertain as it is a highly active pet that loves doing acrobatic tricks and climbing on all sorts of surfaces or furniture around the house.
Not only are they lively and energetic, they are also quite talkative. They especially love to communicate with their owners, constantly relegating them with chirps, squeaks and whines. They’re repertoire is endless and they are not shy in expressing their feelings.

These cats prefer to be on warm, soft surfaces rather than on the ground or floor. It’s very common to find them sleeping with their owners under the blankets as they perpetually seek warmth. And while they love sitting on your lap, they are not big fans of being carried or of being vigorously petted.
Although many do bond well with other companion animals, these cats are not overly fond of sharing their owners with other cats or dogs. It’s not the best breed choice for a household that has small children either.
And while they love to play outside, it’s not recommended to leave your Sphynx unattended out of doors for any long period of time since their curiosity often lands them in dangerous situations.

Overall, the Sphynx is known to be an inquisitive, intelligent and extremely friendly breed that is unusually people-oriented.
Most people think that having a Sphynx as a pet will tremendously facilitate the process of caring for it due to its lack of hair, but they could not be further away from the truth. Just because your cat does not pride itself with a long furry mane does not imply that it does not require special attention. While most cats absorb body oils through their fur, the Sphynx has a difficult time maintaining the oil on its skin in balance. It actually has no natural way of doing this due to its lack of fur. Oil marks on the furniture are the least pressing issue you will have to deal with if you do not take proper precautions in the grooming process. If you do not groom your Sphynx regularly there could be actual health issues to contend with such as severe skin problems.

The first step in avoiding this is bathing your Sphynx at least once a week. Most Sphynx kittens are already acclimated with the process by their breeders, who take great care in bathing and cleaning them as often as a few times a week. Having a Sphynx who is not unfamiliar with constant baths is an important aspect to consider and that is why it is quite useful to ensure yourself that its breeder has dealt with this aspect beforehand. There are cases in which a cat’s natural instinct to fear or avoid water resurfaces, but it does not mean that you can’t accommodate your Sphynx to constant baths in time. Depending on how oily and dirty your cat gets also influences the number of baths it should take during a week. You could manage by simply limiting yourself to one single bath per week, but there could also be cases in which 2 or 3 might be necessary and there is nothing wrong in doing so.



Avoiding excessive sun exposure is another aspect that you should take into consideration if you want to protect your Sphynx’s skin. A bit of sunbathing won’t do any harm and it will only enhance its skin’s natural color by a certain degree, but it is advised to monitor such activities due to the risk of sunburns. Think of it as a similar process to the one that people with white, sensitive skin face when they stay out in the sun for too long.

This breed also has sensitive eyes and ears, so these parts of their bodies should be carefully washed and cleaned as well. Since their ears do not have hair to protect the ear canals, dirt can easily collect inside. In addition, the amount of earwax a Sphynx produces is significantly higher than in regular, hairy cats and this can also be a cause of an ear canal blockage. As long as you are willing to thoroughly clean a Sphynx’s ears a couple of times a week, there shouldn’t be any complications.

Therefore, a sensitive person who shies away from an unsightly task is not exactly the perfect owner for this breed; so think twice before deciding that the Sphynx is the cat for you.

In regards to health problems, the Sphynx does not present any particular aggravating issues. Overall, it is a hearty and powerful breed that is not exposed to many health conditions and, compared to other breeds, there are fewer issues to worry about.

However there are some breed-specific health issues worth mentioning:

  • Respiratory issues in kittens due to lack of hair
    • Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy
    • Hereditary myopathy, affecting muscle function
    • Sensitive digestive systems

Believe it or not, Sphinxes eat bigger quantities of food than your average domestic cat. An adult Sphynx weighs between 6 and 12 pounds but they are always seeking something to snack on. Thanks to their fast metabolisms they require more consistent meals. And this in turn can be very costly.
Another peculiar fact is that they are also warmer than other cats. While most cat breeds generally have the same temperature, the Sphynx is about 4 degrees warmer than the norm. And while there are countless rumors flying around mentioning that this cat breed is hypoallergenic, the truth is that they are not. Sphynxes still produce Fel d1, the allergenic protein in cat saliva and skin secretions that causes your eyes to grow itchy and red.

All in all, there are quite a few things to take into consideration for those who are tempted to live with a Sphynx cat. This is not a cheap breed to take care of and they require a lot of attention. Not only do Sphynxes hate being alone, but they also need a higher degree of care than most cats. It’s true that you won’t have to worry about shedding or fleas, but there are other tasks you would have to deal with, some of which are rather unpleasant. So think things through and make sure that you can provide the necessary conditions before buying a Sphynx kitten.



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