The word "Sphynx" might call to mind Ancient Egypt and pyramids, but it should also conjure images of a cuddly, playful, and somewhat odd-looking cat.
That's right! Sphynx cats are perhaps most well known for their lack of fur, but they should be just as highly regarded for their big personalities and sharp, curious minds. What else should you know them for? Well . . .
Sphynx Cat Appearance
Sphynx are medium- to large-sized cats that typically weigh between 6 and 12 pounds when fully grown. They're heavier and more muscular than they appear, so take care when lifting them. Their ears are almost comically large and resemble that of a bat or a chihuahua, and their eyes are slightly slanted and wide set.
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But what truly sets the Sphynx apart is its lack of fur. It isn't completely hairless, though; it has a very short, fine, downy coat that is most often likened to suede.
Under that chic suede coat is wrinkly skin of varying colors and patterns. This doesn't mean your Sphynx was born "old," of course; they just have a little extra skin, particularly around the eyes, ears, and legs.
Sphynx Cat Personality
The wrinkles may make your Sphynx look like a grumpy old man, but this kitty is anything but. He is renowned for his intelligence and playfulness, and he's even known for being a little naughty if it means getting his human's attention. He's not trying to be mean, though; he just wants you to play with him, or maybe at least just pick him up for a snuggle. He tends to feel cold most of the time, so he's all about cuddling with his humans, other cats, or friendly dog members of the family.
Sphynx are especially friendly, even-tempered cats. If your home welcomes a lot of visitors, your Sphynx pal will be a great door greeter and backup host, as he loves people and thrives on attention. He delights in a warm, comfy spot on someone's lap, whether he's known that person for years or just 10 minutes, so your cat-loving friends will be singing his praises every time they stop by.
Special Cats Need Special Care
Sphynx cats are great companions, but like other hairless cats, they do need a little extra care compared to some other breeds. For example:
- Because Sphynx don't have fur coats, they lose body heat easily. They love to cuddle with their human companions, particularly during cold weather, but be sure to also provide your Sphynx with a nice pet sweater to keep her safe from the chill. Bonus points if it's fashionable!
- Most cats control body oil with their coats. But because the Sphynx doesn't have fur, you'll need to bathe your Sphynx about once a week to help keep her clean and prevent skin problems due to oil buildup.
- That lack of hair also puts your Sphynx kitty at high risk of sunburn and even skin cancer. If you let your Sphynx outside, be sure it's not during peak sun periods (usually between 10:00 AM and 2:00 PM) and that it's only for a short amount of time. If possible, try to restrict your Sphynx's outdoor time to shady areas during times of the year when UV radiation is not as intense.
- Sphynx cats are usually robust and no more prone to health problems than other breeds, but like can develop the same issues as other cats. You might consider a quality health-monitoring litter for early detection of issues before they become full-blown health crises.