The Sphynx cat—you’ve got love them or hate them. It’s difficult for non-cat lovers to understand what it is about the Sphynx cat breed that makes them truly adorable. Many might take a second look at the animal, and then ask, “What kind of animal is that?” Well, the cat may look like one from another planet completely, but it’s actually difficult to be this breed. TICA, or The International Cat Association, has established several standards for a cat to be considered a Sphynx. If your cat were to be classified as a Sphynx, it has to have wedge-shaped heads; strong, prominent cheekbones; and large, wide, lemon-shaped eyes. It also has to have large, protruding ears with no hairs. A sphinx cat must not only have a muscular and strong neck but a muscular body as well. It must have a barrel chest and a potbelly at the same time. It should have unusually thicker paw pads, and lastly, its tail should be tapered just like a whip.
However, there’s more to this breed than its looks. If you can look past the obvious nakedness of the Sphynx, you might get a chance to learn what’s truly amazing about this breed of cats. It might take a little bit of getting used to, but with a little bit of time, you can understand why this cat is the most popular breed of cats out there. Here are 20 fun facts that you have probably never heard of about the Sphynx cat before.
At first glance, it’s easy to assume that these cats are hairless. When we think about cats, we normally think thick coat or fine hair or any other type of hair. The point is when we picture cats in our heads, they usually have hair on them. The interesting thing is the Sphynx actually has hair even though it might not look like it. Sphynx cats are actually covered by a very thin layer of hair. It’s comparable to peach fuzz; it’s very soft to the touch, so don’t be surprised if you find yourself petting these odd looking yet mesmerizing animals more often than you thought you would. But while they’re actually not hairless, Sphynx cats actually don’t have any whiskers at all.
Because they lack the fur to keep themselves warm, Sphynx cats are known to be good cuddle bugs. These cats just love to keep snugged up and cozy with their owners. It’s a means for them to stay warm anytime they feel the need to. Interestingly enough, Sphynx cats’ natural body temperatures are actually known to be 4 degrees warmer than average cat temperatures. That’s not reason enough not to cuddle, so they still do. Sphynxes might have evolved the mechanisms to stay warmer because they don’t have enough fur to do so automatically. Who knows? They might’ve done that by spending hundreds upon hundreds of years training their bodies by snuggling up. Don’t think that they’re doing so just to say warm though; Sphynx cats are just naturally affectionate anyway, so even if they didn’t need the warmth, they probably just needed the attention.
Not from Egypt
It’s easy to assume that these cats probably originated in Egypt because of their names, but they didn’t. Sphynx cats actually originated in Canada in 1966. According to accounts, the cats are the result of a mutated gene that resulted to the very first hairless kitten that ever walked the Earth. Thanks to the science of evolution, Sphynx cats came to be on their own. The name comes as homage to the famous ancient Egyptian statues. Who could ever deny their similarities to the ancient artifacts? It must be the sleek bodies and the large bat-like ears. The wide eyes also remind us so much of the Egyptian sphinx. It’s curious to think what inspired the Egyptians to create the sphinx, especially since the similarities are so distinct.
The need to bathe
There are a few challenges to having very little fur on your body. Just like us humans need to bathe on a daily basis—maybe even twice or more a day for some—the Sphynx cat needs to bathe a lot more than usual for cats. But since these cats don’t have the hair to absorb oils from the body, they tend to build up smells that aren’t always pleasant. In addition, because of all the folds they have on their bodies, Sphynx cats have a harder time grooming themselves. A little grooming help will go a long way for your cat and for you as well, so you wouldn’t have to suffer the stench while your cat tries to snuggle you.
As slender as these cats are, it might be hard to believe that they actually eat a lot—more food than any other breeds consume. This is actually a physiological necessity. Since the Sphynx cat body is naturally at a higher temperature, their bodies need double or more of the food required to keep up the heat. As food burns in their bodies, their internal temperatures stay up. This is also the reason why you might find these cats siting by the window sunning themselves. The indirect light helps to control their body temperatures. Just be aware that the Sphynx cats don’t have enough protection from the sun, so if your cat likes to sun too much, make sure you put on a layer of sunscreen even if the cat is just indoors. They can still get sunburned that way.
So here’s another assumption. You see a Sphynx cat and automatically assume that they’re as quiet as a statue. It could be because they just don’t seem too friendly or maybe because they do have a regal quality about them that make them seem very elegant and subdued. In actuality, Sphynx cats are extremely chatty. They don’t just purr and meow as they go; they actually talk back to you and just talk whenever they can. They also like to chirp occasionally. It makes you wonder what in the world they could be thinking or trying to communicate. If you prefer a cat that’s actually quiet and keeps to itself, you might want to stay away from the Sphynx. Otherwise, you can enjoy the company of a cat that will actually talk back to you.
Because people commonly assume that the Sphynx cats are hairless, they also assume that the cats are hypoallergenic. They are not. If you are looking for a cat that will not aggregate your allergies, the Sphynx breed will not be the right match for you. Sphynx cats still produce dander, all the microscopic pieces of dried cats skin that gets everywhere—your bed, your couch, your carpets, and any other surfaces. This is actually what causes cat allergies, not cat fur. It might even be worse for the Sphynx because they don’t have enough hair for dander to hang on to; so when these animals shed their dead skin cells, they shed directly onto everything around your home. They’ll also shed dander directly onto you, so think about that if you have really bad allergies.
There’s such a thing in the feline world, and these cats love to be in them. Cat igloos are the best option for housing these cold, cold creatures. Even though their internal temperatures are normally higher than average, the Sphynx cats tend to get cold easily. That’s mainly due to the lack of hair. It’s difficult for this breed to regulate their body temperatures. This is also the reason why they constantly look for warm spots and niches all over the house. Veterinarians recommend having a cat igloo if you plan on keeping a Sphynx cat. This way, your cat will know exactly which place in your home will provide them the warmth. Otherwise, you can just pile up some warm blankets on the cat bed to give your cat the heat it needs.
If it may seem like we’re going back and forth, it’s because we absolutely are. That’s what happens when you lack the capability of controlling your own heat. So even though the Sphynx cat gets cold too easily and likes to get warm from time to time, it absolutely hates having clothes on. We assume that its because the fibers probably feels odd against its naked skin, or that maybe the clothes make the cats get too hot too soon. But nobody’s not quite sure why, and this is a time-tested and owner-tested theory. There are tons of videos out there of owners putting clothes on a Sphynx cat only to get the strangest reactions. Some of them just get suddenly rigid and fall, and others just stay completely still as if in shock.
We understand that the Sphynx cat takes a lot of work to keep. They’re not one of those animals that you can just have as a pet and not pay too much attention to. The Sphynx cat will require constant care and attention. But what this cat requires in care it gives back in love. Everything that you put in towards a Sphynx cat, it will return to you in the form of affection. You’ll have to clean this cat more than usual and make sure that it’s constantly warm, but don’t worry because you’ll feel the appreciation. Sphynx cats are very smart animals; they’ll known when they’re being taken care of properly or not.
Cats are not known to be leash animals. They don’t like being subdued in that way, and they certainly don’t like walking the way dogs do. Sphynx cats are definitely exceptions to this fact, and its great for you as a owner. You can take your cat for walks without having to worry about losing it or it just running after something across the street. It’ll take just a little bit of training to get the Sphynx used to having a leash on, and it will feel odd to them at first. But sooner than you know it, your Sphynx cat will be an expert with the leash. Just remember that if you plan to take your cat out during a sunny day to put sunscreen on it and bring water, especially during the summer. The last thing you want is a dehydrated Sphynx cat.
No cats on the bed
If you don’t have one or have no plans on getting a cat igloo, make sure that you still have a cat bed for your Sphynx. We understand that at times you want to just cuddle with your pet and maybe even snuggle with it in bed. We highly suggest against this because you wouldn’t want your cat to get used to sleeping on your bed. Why? You might ask. Remember when we mentioned how this cat gets really oily because it doesn’t have the hairs to absorb the oil? If you let this cat sleep on your bed, you’ll also be waking up to oil stains the size of your cat—all over your bed. If you don’t mind washing your sheets constantly, then it’s your call. But once your cat gets used to sleeping on your bed, you’ll probably washing daily.
The need for company
You think you’re getting a cat to keep you company, but it’s actually the other way around. Sphynx cats don’t only want company—they need your companionship. Anytime you leave your cat for long periods of time, they tend to get really sad. It isn’t a healthy emotion for cats, as they need to feel loved constantly—probably more so if they’re of the Sphynx breed. If you’re generally busy or if you think that you’re not going to be home enough to keep your pet happy, the best solution will be to get another Sphynx cat. Two Sphynx cats will keep each other company, and they’ll each other from getting too bored or too sad.
It’s not hard to believe that the Sphynx cat breed has long been associated with mystic powers, especially in the Russian culture. In Russian folklore, the Sphynx cat is a symbol of good fortune and abundance. This is the reason why many Russian royalty favors Sphynx cats for pets. Because of their popularity among royalty, Sphynx cats became associated with status and wealth. If you had a Sphynx cat, that meant that you could afford one and probably afford a lot more of other things as well. It’s been used throughout history to distinguish the rich members of society from the lower class.
Need for routine
We’ve already established that the Sphynx cat breed is not the easiest breed of cats to take care of. They require a lot of physical care and attention as well as emotional care. Sphynx cats are not adaptable animals. They don’t adjust to new environments very well. It takes a lot of patience, dedication, and hard work for a Sphynx cat to get accustomed to a new environment. The key to achieving this is through routine, something that your cat itself will actually establish. Pay attention to its cues and when it likes to do things. You’ll probably have to adjust as needed, so you and your cat’s routines can meld well together. Otherwise, you might find yourself waking up in the middle of the night because your cat wants you to feed it. Small adjustments can make a big difference, and if you’re willing to put in the work, you’ll find that it’s absolutely worth it once the routine has been established.
No to strangers
One thing that you’ll have to understand about Sphynx cats is that they’re not the most social of pets. They’re friendly in the sense that they’ll want to constantly be around their owners and maybe other people that they’re used to seeing. However, Sphynx cats don’t respond very well to visitors or strangers in general. This means that they also won’t do well in groups of people or parties. You’ll notice their personalities change when they become surrounded by people they’re not familiar with. They have a tendency to shy away and go to areas that are less populated by people. Otherwise, your Sphynx cat might just follow you everywhere you go from room to room, or it might just follow around and cuddle with the next most familiar human to it.
As oily and dirty as this cat gets, you’d be surprised that it’s actually a neat-obsessed animal. It might need assistance from you to keep it clean, but it also needs you to keep its surroundings clean and tidy as well. Sphynx cats will truly appreciate a home that’s always neat. More importantly, you’ll have to make sure that you keep its litter box spic and span all the time. A Sphynx cat will refuse to relieve itself in a dirty litter box, so if you don’t keep up with the work, you’ll have more work to contend with when a Sphynx cat is forced to relieve itself elsewhere. If you’re just not the neat type or if you think you can’t keep up with the work, having a Sphynx cat might not be a good option for you.
Sphynx cats are naturally territorial animals. You’ll need to provide a Sphynx cat with its own personal space and even play area in your home. If you’re just short on space, the best way to give your cat what it needs is to have cat trees. Cat trees will give your cat enough vertical space to play in, and it will also provide your cat with a place to call its own. Cat trees won’t take up too much space in your living area, and if you have enough room to maybe put more than one cat tree, the better it’ll be for your Sphynx cat. This is especially important since these cats can’t go outdoors in the sun for too long.
Not the healthiest breed
Unfortunately, Sphynx cats are known to be extremely low health level cats. The life expectancy for this breed is only between 8 to 12 years, while the average life expectancy for other breeds can be anywhere from 12 to 14 years and even beyond. Sphynx cats are definitely not lifetime cats. They tend to get sicker and contract illnesses more than other breeds. Don’t let this fact deter you from owning a Sphynx cat, however. Having a Sphynx cat as a companion can be one of the best and most rewarding experiences any pet owner could ever have. Especially if you’re particularly a cat lover, you might find that owning a Sphynx cat is a different challenge altogether that provides you with a different set of rewards. It’s absolutely worth it, even if it might cost you more than $1k to own one and a lot more than that amount to keep one.
As a final tidbit about these strange yet lovable animals, Sphynx cats need their ears cleaned all the time—at least three to four times a week. Due to their unusually large and protruding ears, Sphynx cats tend to get dirt on their ears a lot. You want to avoid having dirt accumulate on your Sphynx cats’ ears because that can cause a variety of ear infections to develop. Dirty ears can also cause a host of other ear-related complications, and the best way to deal with all of that is to just take the proper preventative measures. Clean your Sphynx cats’ ears regularly and you’ll have to deal with infections less often. All you would need is a soft rag or even a Q-tip to get into the nitty gritty of your cats’ ears. If you’re already cleaning them up, might as well get into ear detail.