Sphynx cat care: How to care for a hairless cat
Hairless cats are not the most common kept breed in the cat world but the Sphynx has found a place in many hearts over the years since the 60s. The International Cat Association (TICA) recognizes various breeds of the Sphynx with distinct characteristics. Hairless breeds will either possess a thin layer of fine hairs or lack a coat altogether. Missing a coat is significant for cats as this trait reduces heat retention greatly and boosts heat dissipation. Holding a Sphynx will reveal how warm their skin is as they exert body heat while simultaneously seeking sources of heat to keep warm, this might make for a perfect snuggling partner. Unique and hairless, the Sphynx has its own set of needs and it’s worth understanding how to care for your hairless cat.
Hairless cats are felines with sensitive stomachs, when planning a diet plan for your kitty it’s important to provide nutrition for a healthy and happy lifestyle. While growing kittens will require high protein diets, it is important to regulate the amount of protein content daily to avoid an upset stomach. Nutrition will contribute to overall skin health of your cat and will help to eliminate issues such as waxy ears and greasy skin (though not entirely).
Feeding a raw diet is a way to control your cat’s diet and know exactly what is going into their daily nutrition. Raw diets have many benefits including improved digestion, reduction in stool odor and better health of teeth and the urinary tract. Boiled water to remove hardness to promote better urinary health is also advisable to avoid mineral buildup of bladder stones.
Raw fed diets are an ideal solution for hairless cats with sensitive stomachs but transitioning needs to be monitored closely and safe food handling is essential to prevent contamination. Deworming should be carried out on regular basis. Raw diets are customizable recipes that can be tailored to meet your cats needs, including raw organic meats, grounded raw bones, eggs and several supportive supplements. We will cover raw diets a little more in depth in future posts.
HAIRLESS CAT CLEANING
Keeping your Sphynx or other hairless cat clean is important. Taking a shower for cat hygiene is a routine that many owners will keep up with on a regular basis in addition to a grooming schedule. Grooming of a hairless cat’s coat is not needed but skin care and other areas of maintenance is essential.
Hairless cats can experience oily skin as they secrete the same oils as other cats but lack fur to absorb and clean. Oil build up is common on the skin and frequent washing is required. Bathing every 2 weeks during the colder Winter seasons is recommended while a weekly shower should be carried out during warm Summer seasons.
If your Sphynx is showing signs of dry skin through itching or constituent grooming in certain spots, reduced shower frequency can help regulate skin conditions. Showering every 2 or 3 weeks is fine during Summer while dry Winter months can be left without showering if no oil or dirt is present.
Special shampoo should be used for your Sphynx cat as they have a sensitive hairless body that exposes skin, requiring specialist care. Commercial shampoo products that are mild and without harsh chemicals are recommended. Gentle ingredients that are meant for sensitive skin works best.
Sphynx cats commonly possess elongated ears that will a little more care in comparison to normal fur coated cats. Lack of hair in the ears allows debris to enter easily making hairless cats susceptible to blockages, wax buildup and other ear related issues. Regular cleaning of the ears using a soft cloth and ear cleaner solution will help to avoid such issues.
Wrapping your kitty after a bath is great opportunity to apply some ear care as wax tends to soften and loosen post bath. Gently wipe away larger dirt particles without intruding into the canal using a wet cloth. Similar cleansing should be applied behind the ears.
Nail care follows the same procedure as any other cats. Allowing your Sphynx to sharpen and stretch their bodies using a scratching post is important. Close attention should be kept on nail health as they can sometimes cause injury if kept too long. It may be better to trim them at regular intervals to keep nails at a moderate length to prevent breaking and crushing when they are having fun around the house. Nail injuries can be painful and great care should be used when trimming your beloved paw friend’s claws. Be sure to avoid cutting too close to the wick as it can cause bleeding and pain. If you find your cat to be restless, give them some words of encouragement and perhaps introduce them to a cat grooming bag to make life a little easier for you both.
As mentioned above, hairless cats expel large amounts of heat from their body due to their lack of fur. If the room temperature is on the warmer side, use of a fan or air conditioner is rarely ever needed. In fact, if you feel hot and need to lower your room temperatures, getting your kitty something warm to wear is advisable.
Spring and Autumn seasons generally bring the most ideal temperatures for a Sphynx, sitting between 24-25°C. Anything below and it’s time to grab a sweater, especially during temperatures sub 18°C. Cats have varying levels of temperature tolerance due to several factors. If your cat is frequently sneezing or coughing, immediate action needs to be taken. A source of warmth should be provided and treatment from a vet should be sought out immediately if their body temperature fails to rise.