Sphynx Cat - breed information and advice

What it lacks in fur, the Sphynx makes up for in personality: this breed is not the shy and retiring type. With its huge ears and lemon-shaped eyes, this cat likes to make its presence felt and is always on the lookout for a lap to snuggle into. Clever, sociable and energetic, the Sphynx gets along with other cats, dogs and children, but doesn't like being left alone for long periods of time.

Breed information

Essentials

Colour: Various, but as Sphynx cats do not have a full coat of fur, this is attributed to the colour and markings of the skin and 'down' (which is like the fuzz on the skin of a peach).

Coat: Sphynx cats are not bald, but have a layer of fine, downy hair. No brushing is required, but their skin can become oily, so regular bathing and ear cleaning is necessary to avoid sores. They need sunblock in summer.

Life span: The Sphynx has a life expectancy of around 15 years.

Mouth and gum disease

Like most breeds, Sphynx may suffer from gum and dental disease during their lifetime. Gum disease occurs when some (or all) of a tooth’s deep supporting structures become inflamed. This begins when food, bacteria and minerals accumulate along the gum line, leading to the build-up of a brown scale known as tartar. When this undermines the gum the condition is called gingivitis. Eventually, small spaces can form between the gums and the teeth creating pockets of space for bacteria to grow, resulting in what is known as periodontal disease. The bacteria from infected gums can spread around the body and damage the liver and kidneys. This condition can be prevented with basic routine care such as feeding cats dry food and brushing their teeth, helping them to lead a normal, pain-free life.

Fact

Dental lesion is the most common mouth problem we see in Sphynx

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Eye conditions

Like all cats, the Sphynx can suffer from eye problems such as conjunctivitis (inflammation of the insides of a cat’s eyelids); glaucoma (caused by increased pressure inside the eyeball); cataracts (opacity of the lens); entropion (inward rolling of the eyelids); or retinal problems. Treatment depends on the type and severity of these various problems, but many are treated using eye drops. Conjunctivitis, for example, may be treated using a combination of anti-viral, lubricant and anti-inflammatory drops depending on the exact cause.

Fact

Eye conditions are the fourth most common illnesses we see in Sphynx

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Heart disease

Heart disease in cats refers to when the heart’s structures aren’t working as they should be. There are two categories of heart disease: congenital (meaning the cat is born with it) and acquired (meaning the disease develops later in life). Congenital heart diseases include defects in the wall of the heart, abnormal valves and blood vessels. Sphynx are prone to a disease called hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, which can lead to heart failure. Whilst this condition is not curable, it can be treated with lifelong medication.

Fact

Heart disorders are the second most common illnesses we see in Sphynx

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Feline asthma

Sphynx, like other cats, can suffer from problems in the lower respiratory tract (the trachea and the lungs). Feline asthma, for example, occurs when allergies and irritants cause the lower airways (bronchi) and lungs to become inflamed and sensitive. Symptoms include coughing and wheezing. While asthma is not curable, it is manageable with various long-term medications including tablets, injections and even inhalers.

Fact

Respiratory system disorders are the third most common illnesses we see in Sphynx

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Gastrointestinal disorders

The Sphynx, like all cats, can suffer from problems affecting the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. The GI tract is a long, winding tube that starts at the mouth and ends at the anus, with various twists and turns along the way. Conditions such as gastroenteritis caused by infections (like feline enteritis), poisoning or an obstruction within the bowel (due to the cat eating string for example) commonly cause vomiting and/or diarrhoea. Treatment depends on the exact cause, but prompt intervention usually results in a full recovery.

Fact

In our experience, Sphynx are most likely to need treatment for gastrointestional disorders

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