What hairless cats lack in coat, they more than make up for in personality. Whether you choose to welcome an original Sphynx or one of the newer hairless cat breeds into your life, do so with the understanding that owning one of the naked cat breeds does not translate into less care and maintenance. Besides hairless cat breeds we also have listed a few hypoallergenic cats for you!
The Origin of the Sphynx
The Sphynx cat originated in Canada, where a single hairless kitten by the name of Prune was born in 1966. The lack of hair was the result of a genetic mutation. The hairless gene in the Sphynx is recessive, however, which means that subsequent crossings of Prune to other cats did not consistently result in hairless kittens. Although the hairless cats hailed from Canada, they were called Sphynx cats due to their resemblance to the ancient Egyptian Sphinx statue. The Cat Fanciers’ Association officially recognized the Sphynx in 2002. By crossing Sphynx cats with other specific breeds, additional hairless cat breeds were created.
Hairless cats are not always truly naked cat breeds. More often than not, their skin actually feels like a fuzzy peach or a chamois cloth. Short hair may be present on the nose, forehead and ears. Their loosely fitted skin results in their characteristic wrinkles, and the skin’s appearance indicates the color and pattern that the cat’s coat would be if it were not hairless. Although the lack of coat can make a cat appear vulnerable, the medium-sized, muscular Sphynx is not delicate.
For prospective hairless cat owners who crave a downsized version, the short-legged bambino was created by crossing a Sphynx with a Munchkin cat. The ears of a Sphynx are large and stand erect. However, the Ukranian Levkoy was developed by crossing a Sphynx with a Scottish fold, thus resulting in a hairless cat with ears that flip forward. The elf cat was developed by crossing a Sphynx with an American curl and resulted in a hairless cat with ear tips that curled back. The Peterbald is a hairless cat with webbed paws and a long, narrow skull that resulted from the crossing of a Donskoy with an Oriental shorthair. Donskoys, also known as Don Sphynx cats, are hairless that originated in Russia during the late 1980s. Unlike that of the Sphynx, the hairless gene of the Donskoy is dominant.
The Sphynx cat is gentle, loyal, affectionate and loving. They adore the companionship of their human family members and enjoy cuddling. They crave the company of others and prefer not to be left home alone or ignored. They are energetic and mischievous, eager to entertain the family with playful antics. These cats are intelligent and inquisitive, and their fingerlike toes enable them to satiate their curiosity through dexterous manual exploration. Sphynx cats are outgoing cats that usually get along well with other household pets and children. Sphynx cats spend much of their days seeking out warm locations, such as sunny windowsills and along baseboards, to snooze in comfort. Owners should not be surprised to awaken at night and discover their hairless cat underneath the blankets with them.
Caring for a Hairless Cat
Although many believe that a cat without a coat must surely require minimal care, naked cat breeds actually require more attention to care and maintenance.
Keep Them Warm
Since these cats lack thick pelts to keep them warm, owners must be cognizant of temperatures in the cats’ environments. During the frigid winter months, hairless cats feel those chilling drafts easily. They must be provided with warm areas to snuggle, and cozy sweaters may become wardrobe requirements. When bathing a hairless cat, it is essential to gently pat the cat dry with a soft towel and keep the cat away from drafts during bathing and drying time.
Unlike coated cats, hairless cats lack the hair needed to absorb and redistribute natural oils from the skin. The lacking coat also means that sweat is not absorbed, and the cat’s saliva is also left behind on the cat’s skin after grooming. The result is oily skin and an accumulation of debris that can cause a number of skin conditions, including infections. Weekly bathing with baby shampoo or with a shampoo that is prescribed by a veterinarian is essential for maintaining healthy skin. Hairless cats must be acclimated to bathing from the time that they are young kittens.
Clean Those Ears
Not having hair in the ear canals translates to debris and wax that accumulates more easily in the ears of a hairless cat. The ears should be cleaned twice a week with an ear cleansing solution and cotton balls to minimize the chances of developing ear infections. Learn here How to Clean Your Pet’s Ears?
Do Not Forget the Sunscreen
Hairless cats that savor napping on a warm, sunlit windowsill expose their skin to the sun’s damaging ultraviolet rays. Cats can be stricken with skin cancer as a result, just as their human family members can. It is important to apply a pet sunblock to your hairless cat’s skin during the sunny hours of the day. Be sure to use a sunblock that is specifically formulated for use in cats. You can purchase pet sunblock products from a veterinarian or from most pet supply retailers.
Other necessary care for a hairless cat is no different from that of any other feline and includes carrying out a home dental care routine, keeping the nails trimmed, feeding a nutritionally balanced and premium quality diet, providing regular exercise and interactive play, maintaining a healthy weight and visiting your veterinarian for periodic examinations.