|Where cats are never caged.
Located in Surprise, Arizona
|Copyright Free Range Sphynx 2013. No photos or content to be used without written permission.
|Located in Surprise, Arizona
Hairless cats have been described in many regions of the world, but the first successful breed was the Sphynx. The earliest
Sphynx was born in 1966, and the cat was named Prune. However, Prune’s line died out without descendants. In 1967, hairless
kittens, and their long haired mother cat were rescued in Toronto. The kittens were neutered; the mother, however, had other
kittens. Two were exported to Europe, where one of the kittens was bred to a Devon Rex. The cat had hairless offspring which
by Vicki and Peter Markstein at the Madison square garden cat show in the 1980s.implied that this recessive gene was at the
same locus as the Devon gene[dubious – discuss]. One, named E.T., was presented
The Sphynx appears to be a hairless cat, although it is not truly hairless. The skin should have the texture of Chamois leather.
It may be covered with very soft hair that is often described as peach fuzz. Because the sphynx cats have no hair to keep them
warm they prefer to cuddle up against other animals and people, they even tend to cuddle up and sleep with their owners
under the covers. Lack of coat makes the cat quite warm to the touch. Whiskers and eyebrows may be present, either whole or
broken, or may be totally absent. Their skin is the color their fur would be, and all the usual cat marking patterns (solid,
point, van, tabby, tortie, etc) may be found in Sphynx too.
Sphynx generally have wedge-shaped heads and sturdy, heavy bodies. Many cats of this breed develop pot bellies. They are
known for their extroverted behavior. They display a high level of energy, intelligence, curiosity, and affection for their
While sphynx cats lack a coat to shed or groom, they are
not maintenance-free. Body oils, which would normally
be absorbed by the hair, tend to build up on the skin. As
a result, regular cleaning (usually in the form of bathing)
is necessary; one bath a week is usually sufficient. Care
should be taken to limit the Sphynx cat's exposure to
outdoor sunlight at length, as they can develop a sunburn,
similar to that of human exposure. In general, Sphynx cats
should never be allowed outdoors unattended, as they have
limited means to conserve body heat in colder temperatures,
and their curious nature can take them into dangerous places
Although Sphynx cats are sometimes thought to be hypoallergenic due to their lack of coat, this is not always the case.
Allergies to cats are triggered by dander, and not cat hair itself.
Although hairless cats have been reported throughout history (hairless cats seem to appear naturally about every 15 years or
so), breeders in Europe have been working on the Sphynx breed since the early 1960s. The current American and European
Sphynx breed is descended from two lines of natural mutations.
Because Sphynx cats do not have fur to absorb the natural oils from their skin they will require periodic bathing. The build
up of oils in their coat will collect dirt and dust from their surroundings making them dirty. Depending on the amount of oils
secreted from the cat, and the cleanliness of its surrounds, will determine the frequency of bathing. Some Sphynx need bathed
more often than others. It's important not to over-bathe your cat, as it could cause an increase in oil production. If you keep
your cat’s surroundings clean and buy dust free litter you can help reduce the frequency of bathing.
Bath time should be fun for cat and owner alike. Because bathing is a routine part of having a Sphynx, it should be
introduced to kittens and made as stress free as possible. Run your bath or sink water before bringing your Sphynx into the
room. Most Sphynx tolerate bathing well, but if your cat is stressed by the experience, make bath time as quick as possible
and wash their face and ears after you take them out of the water. Avoid getting soap into your cat’s eyes or mouth.
Claws & Paws
Sphynx will get dirt between their pads and in the pockets of their claws. They can be clean out with a warm wash cloth or
baby wipe. Cleaning of the paws will need to be done more often and in conjunction with their bath. I also keep Kleenex next
to where I sit and wipe their claws while watching TV at night, when the cats are comfy and cozy, sleeping on my lap.
The claws (front and back) will need to be clipped. In most cats you can see the quick inside the claw and you must be very
careful not to clip on or beyond it. Begin by clipping off just the tip of the claw you can avoid causing your pet pain.
SoftClaws have been a great asset as well.
Sphynx’s ears are hairless and produce a large amount of earwax. They will need cleaned in conjunction with bath time or
about every one to two weeks. A couple drops of ear cleaner in the cat’s ears will make your cat shake its head and dislodge
the earwax so that it can be easily removed with a cotton ball or Q-tip. Be very careful when cleaning their ears, and clean
only as far in as you can see.
You must provide your Sphynx with a constant, always accessible, supply of premium cat food and water. Due to their higher
metabolism (to keep their body temperature constant) they tend to eat more than a domestic cat. Using a premium pet food
will limit the amount, and smell, of the kitties poos.
Of course the Sphynx is an indoor cat only - they sunburn! The general rule of thumb is...if you are comfortable they usually
are too. However, if they get a chill, they are cleaver enough to find a warm spot under a blanket or curled up with another
pet. During cooler months, a heating pad or electric blanket is GREATLY appreciated by your Sphynx!
The Sphynx is healthy breed that got it's unique bald look through a genetic "oops".
There are no specific health or genetic problems found with unique or specialized
purebreds. Prevention, and a loving, caring home are the keys to healthy kitty.
Maintaining regular vet visits and up-to-date immunizations will ward off most
illnesses that would affect any cat. In general, the breed is very hardy with a normal
cat’s lifespan. Neutering or spaying and providing an outlet for play, and the
natural behavior of scratching (such as... scratching post), are essential elements for
maintaining a healthy long life. Sphynx cats have been know to live fifteen years or
What is Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM)?
HCM is a common cardiac condition and is the most common heart disease in cats. Although it develops and progresses
over time, its early signs may be subtle or nonexistent. A cat that seems healthy may appear to become very ill very
quickly, or even diesuddenly after developing a blood clot in the heart, having displayed no symptoms of ill-health. A cat’s
heart that is affected by HCM will have thickened left ventricle wall. Rather than growing larger outwardly, the walls of the
heart grow inward, restricting the amount of blood that can be pumped through the ventricle. As the condition worsens, it
becomes increasingly difficult for the heart to perform its job, and the heart eventually fails.
Symptoms of HCM
Many cats with HCM are never diagnosed as having the condition until it is too late and the disease becomes fatal – that is,
after death, during a necropsy. The reason for this is that the disease often displays no symptoms at all, or exhibits
symptoms that can be easily mistaken for other conditions. However, the following symptoms, if seen frequently in your cat,
should be taken very seriously as they can be indicative of HCM: Heart murmur, Lethargy, Poor appetite,Panting, or
labored breathing without exertion, Weakness or paralysis of the back legs
Causes of HCM
So far, the cause of Feline Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy is unknown; however some studies suggest it to be genetic. Certain
breeds appear to be more commonly afflicted. If a veterinarian believes a cat to be at risk for the condition, he or she may
recommend that further screening be undertaken, preferably with a Board Certified Veterinarian Cardiologist.
Scanning for HCM
An echocardiogram, an ultrasound of the heart, is the best method of detecting HCM. Anechocardiogram can be an
expensive test, often costing upwards of $495 at a veterinarian’s office, but it is vitally important if HCM is suspected and as
a preventative tool in a breeding program. Scanning for HCM is such an important tool in trying to eliminate this disease or
greatly reduce incidence of it from the Sphynx gene pool. We strongly recommend that all adult Sphynx in Breeding
Programs be scanned annually and that Adult Pet Sphynx be scanned every 2-3 years. While the long-term prognosis for
cats afflicted with this incurable disease is not good, early detection via an echocardiogram and treatment with medication
can considerably slow the progression of the disease, leading to many, many great years with your cat. Further and more
importantly, scanning and catching this disease early will help prevent further generations of HCM positive Sphynx from
being born by spaying and neutering HCM positive breeders. All pet parents and breeders should be aware of this deadly
disease. We encourage all potential new Sphynx parents to only support responsible breeders that are scanning their
All of our cats are scanned for heart disease starting at around one year of age and annually thereafter.