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What Are the Characteristics of Sphynx Cats?
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What Are the Characteristics of Sphynx Cats?

Charlie, Critter Culture Staff
Updated Jul 13, 2020

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Sphynx are a hairless breed of cat. They were named after an ancient Egyptian sculpture called the Sphynx, due to the similarities in their appearances. These cats come in several colors and patterns, including black, white, red, lavender, chocolate, tabby patterns, mink pattern, calico, pointed pattern, tortoiseshell, and bi-color. Their color is seen in the pigment of the skin as well as in what hair the cat has on his body.

There is so much more to this hairless breed than what meets the eye, though. Like all cats, this breed has its positive and negative qualities.

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1

Sphynx Are Hairless

hairless cats Sphynx Cats 101cats / Getty Images

While the Sphynx is considered a hairless breed, these cats do not entirely lack hair. Most Sphynx skin is covered with a fine down, giving the cat a suede-like feel. Light hair is typically visible on the backs of the ears and the nose. Sphynx may be a good choice for someone with cat allergies. These cats are not hypoallergenic, but some people find that they are not allergic to them. Others find that they are allergic to the breed but to a lesser extent.

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2

Sphynx Are Friendly

Sphynx Cats ideas cannibale / Getty Images

Sphynx love their humans and will often greet them at the door when they arrive home. These cats also welcome and accept strangers. They can often be found greeting strangers excitedly when they come to visit. The Sphynx is easy to handle, making them easy to take to the veterinarian. They also make good show cats. Because Sphynx love meeting new people so much, they often make excellent therapy cats as well.

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3

Sphynx Get Cold

cold Sphynx Cats Dixi_ / Getty Images

As mentioned earlier, Sphynx have very little hair. This means their bodies cannot retain heat well. These kitties tend to get cold easily. They are great at seeking out warm places, and they can often be found on top of laptops, computer monitors, and televisions, in sunny windows, or under blankets. A sweater helps keep the Sphynx warm. Sphynx cats tend to sleep with their humans, usually under the covers.

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4

Sphynx Love Attention

attention Sphynx Cats LightFieldStudios / Getty Images

Sphynx cats love attention from their humans, and they will do anything to get it. A Sphynx will follow her human around the house and take any opportunity to lay in her human's lap. The breed is referred to as the "Velcro lap cat," because Sphynx wants to be on their humans all the time. This may not be the right cat for someone who cannot give a cat a lot of daily attention.

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5

Sphynx Are Curious

curious Sphynx Cats ctermit / Getty Images

Some owners describe Sphynx as elf-like or childlike due to their curiousness and inquisitiveness. These kitties can entertain themselves for hours by exploring their environments. Owners should put anything that might hurt their Sphynx away where they cannot get to it. Their curiosity can lead them to get into mischief. They should not be let outdoors unsupervised for this reason.

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6

Sphynx Are Generally Healthy

healthy cats Sphynx Cats santypan / Getty Images

While every cat is an individual, Sphynx as a breed tends to be generally healthy. These kitties have a high metabolism and need to eat more than most other cats.

Sphynx have a high incidence of heart disease, including heterotrophic cardiomyopathy and mitral valve dysplasia. The Sphynx's lack of hair can also lead to a few health issues, including respiratory infections and skin conditions, such as urticaria pigmentosa, a condition that can cause crusty sores on the cat's body.

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7

Sphynx Require a Lot of Grooming

grooming Sphynx Cats ElenaBoronina / Getty Images

A Sphynx requires just as much, if not more, grooming than a cat with hair. Their skin tends to get greasy, so the Sphynx needs weekly baths to keep the cat from leaving grease spots on an owner's furniture and clothes. Owners should use a moisturizing shampoo or a gentle baby shampoo to wash their cats. Owners should remember to rinse their cats thoroughly, especially between the folds of the skin. Baby wipes can be used to help keep Sphynx cats clean between baths.

A Sphynx's skin must also be kept moisturized with a scent-free oil or lotion. Sphynx cats need their eyes wiped daily with a damp washcloth to remove any discharge, using a separate part of the cloth for each eye as to not spread infection.

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8

Sphynx Are Intelligent

intelligent cats Sphynx Cats Seregraff / Getty Images

Sphynx are intelligent cats and, coupled with their curiosity, may get into mischief. Wand toys and puzzle feeders are great for Sphynx cats because they stimulate their minds and keep them busy and out of trouble. Some Sphynx cats will even play fetch with their owners. Owners shouldn't be surprised if their Sphynx figures out how to open doors or get into their treats.

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9

Sphynx Are Good Family Pets

family pets Sphynx Cats 101cats / Getty Images

These cats love attention and typically get along well with children who treat them with respect. They also tend to get along with other Sphynx, other cats, and cat-friendly dogs. In fact, Sphynx do not like being left alone for long periods of time. Owners who spend long hours away from home should consider getting their Sphynx another cat to play and snuggle with. Owners should remember to properly introduce any new companion animals to the home to help ensure the Sphynx accepts the newcomer.

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10

Sphynx Are Active

Sphynx Cats active Carrigphotos / Getty Images

These kitties are quite energetic. They enjoy jumping, climbing, and exploring. These cats love high places and should have cat trees and other high places to claim as their own. Giving a Sphynx cat high places of his own may keep him from knocking breakables off shelves or hanging off doors.

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