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Frequently Asked Questions
I have allergies.....will I be able to live with a Sphynx?

A majority of people with allergies are able to live with a Sphynx. Approximately 90% of our kittens are placed in homes where allergies are an issue and we have not had any returned yet. This has been a very positive indicator for us! But it really depends on the individual, the severity of their allergies, and whether their environment is kept clean. It is HIGHLY advisable to visit a breeder or Sphynx owner for a 'test cuddle' in order to give you some answers, but keep in mind that some reactions take a period of time to occur.

How much do Sphynx cost?

The average cost for a pet Sphynx in the US is $1,000-$1,500. You may find kittens for more or less than this. However, acquiring a Sphynx from a responsible and ethical breeder is far more important than the cost considerations, and is the best way to assure your new friendship gets off to a great start. Many times a 'cheap' Sphynx turns out to be very expensive due to veterinary bills and will have varying amounts of hair. Most reputable breeders price their kittens according to how closely they meet the written standard for Sphynx. Sphynx who are show prospects and/or placed with breeding rights can cost up to $3,000, while retired breeding adults are usually placed for a nominal fee or sometimes even for the cost of spay/neuter and shipping.

What type of temperament do Sphynx have?

Sphynx are a very intelligent breed of cat. If they have been properly socialized as kittens they are extremely friendly and people-oriented, to the point of following you around the house and wanting to be involved in everything that goes on. They normally get along very well with other cats and dogs as long as the other animal is willing to accept them and proper introductions are made. Children who have been taught to respect and appreciate animals are also quite compatible with Sphynx. Many Sphynx are easily leash trained and most of them love to ride in the car and to be included in your vacation travel. They have an out-going personality and love attention, often times demanding it!

My cat is marking his territory in my house. How can I get him to stop this?

Marking is usually due to stress and the cat’s desire to let everyone know the house belongs to them! Another reason is a change in his or her environment. The first thing to do is to soak the area with an enzyme solution such as Nature’s Miracle. The urine smell will actually get worse after applying this solution but will slowly dissipate over a few days and then disappear. Keep the cat away from these areas where he or she has sprayed while the solution does it’s job. This may mean confining the cat for a few days. There is also a product now on the market called Feliway. Feliway simulates a pheromone that has a calming effect on cats. Applied to your cat’s environment, Feliway creates a “friendly” atmosphere he/she feels comfortable in. Clinical studies showed a 95% success rate in reducing or eliminating urine marking after 30 days of treatment. For more information on this product go to www.farnampet.com.

For more information about territory marking, visit our Territorial Marking page.

Do Sphynx need special circumstances to keep from getting cold?

A general rule of thumb is to consider your comfort level. If you are comfortable in your home then they are usually comfortable. If you are bundled up in a sweater or under a blanket to keep warm, a Sphynx would probably appreciate the same treatment. If they do get a chill aSphynx will seek out a place to get warm such as on top of the TV or computer monitor, under the covers on a bed, in a sunbeam, or in a covered pet bed. Many people keep (pet) heating blankets or pads, wrapped with a blanket, turned on low so their Sphynx can find a warm spot if needed. You can also find heated pet beds which most Sphynx love.

Why do Sphynx need a bath?

Sphynx must be bathed regularly because they do not have hair to absorb the natural oils in their skin. Most breeders acclimate their kittens to bathing at an early age, so once you get the hang of it, bathing them is a simple process. Some of them actually enjoy the warmth of the water and will join you in the tub....un-asked.

How do you bathe a Sphynx?

There are many different ways to bathe a Sphynx from sponging them off in the kitchen sink, to wiping them down with a damp washcloth, to soaping them up in the bathtub. Over the years, we have found the best way is this-- run enough warm water in the bathtub that it just touches the bottom of the cat's stomach when they are in the standing position. By using this amount of water, the Sphynx isn't able to move around as easily as they would in more shallow water. Always run the water before you put the cat in the bathtub to avoid scaring it. You can put a small towel in the bottom of the bathtub to give the Sphynx a less slippery surface to stand on, but I don't always find this necessary. Place the cat in the tub and pour water over it'sback from a cup. Keep one hand on the Sphynx at all times to help steady it and provide reassurance. Place a small amount of shampoo on a soft sponge or hands and begin to lather the cat all over, paying special attention to the 'armpits' and between the toes. I don't lather past the front of the kitty's ear to keep soap from getting in it's eyes and mouth. Wipe the cat's face with a damp washcloth making sure to clean the wrinkles on it's head and around its mouth. Once you feel you have thoroughly cleaned the cat's body all over, pour more water over it to rinse. Make sure you get all the soap from under the cat's neck and armpits or the residue that's left will cause the Sphynx to itch. Next pick the cat up and wrap it in a towel (they LOVE a warm towel just out of the dryer!). While still wrapped in the towel you can clean the ears, clip the nails, and clean the claw sheaths. Once you are done give your Sphynx a treat and lots of love.

How often should you bathe a Sphynx?

This really depends on the individual cat. Some Sphynx produce more oil than others and would need to be bathed more frequently, while others produce little to no oil and can go several weeks without a bath. As a rule most breeders suggest a weekly bath as a starting point and you can alter the schedule to fit the needs of your particular Sphynx.

I thought cats hated water......won't my Sphynx be frightened of a bath?

Reputable breeders bathe Sphynx kittens from an early age so they are accustomed to a bath once you bring them home. Many Sphynx seem to like the water and will even sit on the side of the tub when their owners are bathing, or play in the water left in the shower when you are done. If your Sphynx happens to be timid at bath time, you should be reassuring, while also making it clear to the kitty that he must have a bath... then give him lots of love or a treat when you're done as a reward for putting up with this necessary part of Sphynx grooming.

How do you trim the nails of a Sphynx?

You can buy nail trimmers made especially for animals, or you can use human nail clippers. Either way you should make sure the device is sharp, as a dull trimmer will splinter the nail instead of making a clean cut. If you use human nail clippers you have to make sure not to accidentally cut the paw pad when you cut the nail. To begin, hold the cat's paw in your hand and press the top of the toe until the claw is extended. If the claws are light colored you can see a 'pink' area inside. You can clip up to this pink area but not into it which will cause pain to the cat and possibly bleeding. If the claws are dark enough that you can't see this pink area, it's best to only clip off the sharp tips at first, and with experience you will learn how far up you can cut without hurting the Sphynx.

What is the black 'gunk' a Sphynx gets at the base of it's claws and how do you remove it?

This black 'gunk' is created by a combination of the natural oils produced in the skin, dirt caught between the toes when walking around, litter dust, etc. You can remove it by extending the cat's claws and wiping the dirt away with "Baby Wipes", purchased at Target or Walmart. This specific brand has lanolin in it. For some reason lanolin removes the "gunk" much easier than anything else we have tried.

How do you clean inside the ears of a Sphynx?

Put several drops of ear cleaner into the cat's ears and massage the base to work it down thoroughly. You can place a piece of cotton in the ear so the cleaner doesn't get all over everything when the cat shakes it's head. Take the piece of cotton or a cloth and wipe out as much wax as you can get with it. Use cotton swabs to get what you can't reach with the cloth. Be very careful inserting the cotton swab in the cat's ear, and keep it at a vertical angle. Only wipe what you can see, and do not try to make "blind" sweeps or jabs into crevices to avoid damaging the ear.

What should you feed a Sphynx?

Sphynx, like all cats, should be fed a high quality, nutritionally complete diet made for felines. The first ingredient will hopefully not have "bi-products" attached to it. We feed and recommend Natural Choice or Royal Canin (Sensitive Stomach) cat foods exclusively, and feel it is the finest cat food on the market, especially for the high demand Sphynx metabolism. We have tried other high cost foods but found them to be too rich, causing unpleasant smells, gas, and runny stools. Our cats are also less oily when fed these brands so they don't require baths as frequently.

Where did Sphynx originate?

There have been numerous hairless kittens born in different parts of the world through theyears, however the breed as we know it today mostly descended from a spontaneous mutation that occurred in a litter of domestic kittens in Canada during 1966. Outcrosses to the Devon Rex were made to begin establishing the breed, and today American Shorthairs and domestics are used in Sphynx breeding programs to help broaden this hairless breed's gene pool. For more detail, see history page.

What colors do Sphynx come in?

Sphynx come in all colors and patterns found in the cat world including pointed, mink, sepia, tabby, and bi-color. A cat's color isn't just in it's fur but goes completely down to the pigmentation of it's skin as a Sphynx easily demonstrates.

What is the lifespan of a Sphynx?

Sphynx have a normal lifespan and don't suffer from any special health problems. Although, as in any breed, there are unfortunate early deaths, many Sphynx have enjoyed a full life into their late teens or twenties.

What is the average size of Sphynx cats?

Generally adult females weigh 6-8 pounds while males are 8-10 pounds, however this can vary to some extent either way.

What causes some Sphynx to grow fuzz?

Much depends on the genetic background of the particular cat, but hormone changes maysometimes cause your sphynx to grow a small amount of fuzz as it matures. Early spay/neuter will lessen the chances of this happening. It may come and go with the changing seasons or remain intact. Mother Nature will often have the last word.