Perhaps one of the most interesting cat breeds on the planet is the Bambino Cat. It’s what you get when you cross a Sphynx cat with a Munchkin cat. At first glance, it barely resembles most feline enthusiasts’ notion of what a cat should look like. This fascinating animal is different in many ways and to help familiarize you with this hybrid kitty, here are 20 things you didn’t know about the Bambino cat.
1. The Bambino Cat is a new breed
The Bambino Cat hasn’t been around for long. The breed was first developed in the 2000s. It is a cross between a Sphynx cat and a Munchkin. The breeders responsible are Pat Osborne and Stephanie. The Bambino cat was originally bred in the United States.
2. It’s a hairless cat
One of the most distinct features of the Bambino cat is the fact that it is a hairless type. The Bambino takes on the characteristics of the Sphynx, which is a hairless breed. The absence of a fur coat makes the Bambino cat look more like a little alien from outer space than a traditional house cat. His skin color may be either pink, gray, or a combination of these two colors. Although his appearance is strikingly different from cats with fur, he’s not that much of an oddity. If all of the hair fell off of a cat with a fur coat, his is what he would look like also.
3. Some Bambino cats have down
Because of the cross-breeding, some Bambino cats inherit genes from the Munchkin parent that give them fur, but they still look hairless. The fur that grows in is barely noticeable. It is more like short and fine down instead of a regular fur coat. You can still see the wrinkly skin and this is a signature characteristic of Bambino cats.
4. They need meticulous skin care
Although the wrinkly pink and gray pigmented skin of the Bambino cat is a distinguishing feature that sets them apart from other breeds, it also makes them more prone to skin problems. The lack of fur over their bodies means that the skin is exposed to air and it tends to dry out quickly. Without the fur to help their skin absorb these naturally occurring oils, it becomes dry. He needs regular gentle bathing with mild soap and warm water. It’s recommended that you bathe him every other week as too much bathing can dry out his skin. This breed tends to develop a buildup of grease on his skin if he doesn’t receive semi-weekly baths. Your Bambino cat may also need to be treated with a mild scent-free lotion to help moisturize and hydrate his skin.
5. Bambino cats are sensitive to heat
You might feel sorry for a fluffy cat that has a thick fur coat during the summer months, but these cats are better equipped to deal with bright sunlight than a Bambino cat. The absence of fur leaves his skin exposed to the elements. It’s common for hairless breeds to be more susceptible to heat strokes than breeds with fur coats. There is nothing to protect him from the dangers of UV rays and he can get a nasty sunburn if he is left outside too long when the sun is shining bright. He tends to overheat more quickly because there is no fur to help deflect heat.
6. The Bambino cat is a registered breed
Although the Bambino cat is a cross-breed between two other distinct and different cat species, it is a registered breed. When the Osbornes of HolyMoly Cattery achieved the desired results from crossing a Sphynx cat with a Munchkin, the kittens that were born in 2005 were registered as an official new breed. This means that they are an officially recognized new crossbreed. This was a process of selective breeding that took time to perfect.
7. Some Bambinos have dwarf characteristics
One of the goals of the Osbornes was to create a hairless cat that also featured dwarf characteristics. Genetics can be finicky though. Although most Bambino cats that are born feature short legs and dwarf characteristics, some are born with long legs so they can’t be classified as a dwarf species, however, most do have the short legs. You never know what you’re going to get for certain because sometimes the Sphynx genes override the Munchkin genes. Munchkins are a dwarf breed and the Sphynx is not.
8. The Bambino is stocky yet agile
The Sphynx is known for its slight build, but the Munchkin is a stockier dwarf feline. Crossing the two has generally resulted in a stockier kitten with a build that is low to the ground. The kittens get the stocky trait from their Munchkin parentage. The muzzle is short and the eyes are almond shaped. His ears are large and upright and his tail is thin and tapering. These characteristics give him a distinct appearance and it makes it easy to pick out a Bambino in a crowd of cats. Although most Bambino cats are stocky and short, they are remarkably agile.
9. Bambinos are friendly and smart
Although each cat has his own distinct and individual personality there are some general inferences that can be made about the temperament of this breed. Most Bambino cats are very outgoing. They love to give and receive attention from their human family members. They are loving creatures that enjoy interaction with people so if you’re considering becoming a Bambino owner, make sure that you have time to give him lots of love and attention.
10. Bambinos are intelligent
Bambino cats are generally intelligent. This makes them curious about everything so the kittens are likely to want to explore their environment thoroughly. Their curiosity can get them into trouble though, so if you have a mantle with delicate or expensive knickknacks on top, you might want to relocate them to a safer place. Your Bambino cat will investigate any object that catches his attention. He is smart and this will stimulate him to look for fun and exciting things to do so it is best to place all dangerous and fragile items in places where he cannot reach them.
11. The Bambino is a controversial breed
The Bambino cat is a celebrated breed by some, but others still have their reservations. Although it’s a cat with a unique appearance, there are some cat breeders who believe that the genetics of this particular cross-breed could lead to an increased likelihood of health problems down the line. The hairless and dwarf features that are intentionally bred within the new species are considered to be genetic deformities. Some cat professionals have even called this type of selective breeding “divisive.”
12. The Bambino Cat is an experimental breed
Although the Bambino Cat was recognized as an official breed by the International Cat Association in 2005, this recognition is extended with a caveat. It is considered to be an experimental breed. This suggests that it’s recognized but also that they are keeping an eye on future generations to determine if the selective breeding has unintentional or negative results in the health and genetic predispositions of the breed.
13. Breeding the Bambino Cat is discouraged by some
Continuing with the controversial opposition by some cat professionals, there are some agencies that do not recognize the Bambino Cat as an official breed. There are two official feline agencies that do not support the selective cross breeding of the Sphynx and the Munchkin breeds. The American Cat Fanciers Association and the Cat Fanciers Association refuse to recognize the Bambino Cat as an official breed because they do not wish to encourage this type of selective breeding that highlights the emergence of genetic abnormalities for the sole purpose of achieving a particular abnormal aesthetic.
14. They’re good cats for families
The Bambino cat in general has a very friendly temperament. They are extremely affectionate and most of them are quite kid-friendly. Their gentle nature makes it easy for them to adapt to children as they are not prone to irritability or grumpiness. They will, however defend themselves as any other animal would.
15. They get along well with other pets
If you have other pets in the household, your Bambino kitten is likely to fit in very well. It has been generalized that Bambino cats tend to get along very well with other animals. This includes both dogs and cats. When they are properly introduced to other family pets and socialized, Bambino cats jut want to get along and be friends with other animals. This is just one more aspect of this unique breed that has made them so highly popular in the past decade. Your Bambino cat fits in to be a member of one big happy family.
16. They always look like kittens
Kittens have the characteristics and features that grab our heart strings and won’t let go. Because of the genetics of the Bambino cat breed, they perpetually look like kittens. Although this cat will grow to a size of between 5 and 9 pounds at adulthood, the quirky aesthetics, short legs and lack of hair make them look like kittens even as they age. They’re unusual looking but always cute with a youthful appearance. This is the reason for the Italian name “Bambino” which means baby.
17. You can dress them up
Since the Bambino cat has a notable lack of fur, it is the ideal breed if you’re into pet clothing. If you live in a cooler climate and you are a Bambino cat owner, it’s probably in his best interest to have a few outfits for him to wear when he goes outside. There are a lot of really great choices out there and you can dress him up in some really adorable and warm outfits to help him maintain his body temperature if he is exposed to cold weather. It’s important to remember that he is prone to hypothermia because he doesn’t have the fur coat to protect him from the elements.
18. Bambinos can be mischievous
Since the Bambino cat is a playful and intelligent breed, you need to be prepared for a good dose of mischievous behavior to go with his outgoing personality. Bambinos love to run, jump, play and investigate. This outgoing cat likes to meet new people and he isn’t generally shy if he is raised in a loving home and properly socialized. He will consistently be on the lookout for new and exciting adventures and things to do. This means that you’ll need to house train him well and teach him to leave certain household items like electrical cords and curtains alone.
19. Bambinos like to travel
In addition to being somewhat of an adventurer, Bambino cats also like to travel. They do very well when gong for car rides. Of course, it’s vital to place your Bambino cat in a pet taxi or small kennel when traveling. This is for his protection and yours. They’re not usually fearful and they don’t generally panic when they’re placed in a vehicle, but they are filled with curiosity and they tend to move around if they’re not somewhat restrained.
20. More research is needed on the Bambino Cat
Although there is a lot that we do know about the Bambino Cat breed, there is a lot that we don’t know. The breed has only been in existence for 15 years so far. We don’t know what the consequences of selectively breeding that targets the emergence of abnormal genes yet. More will be known as the breed has been in existence for several decades. So far, the Bambino Cat looks like a hardy and healthy breed and they don’t seem to be prone to serious health issues other than the tendency to be sensitive to extreme heat and cold, and the predisposition for developing skin issues.