Sphynx Cat Breed Characteristics, Facts, & Health

The Sphynx cats are known for being hairless and wrinkled. They are sleek with muscular bodies. 

They are surprisingly dense and heavy for their medium size. 

Their heads are triangular in shape, and have their eyes are wide-set. The Sphynx has prominent cheekbones. This resembles the cats depicted in ancient Egyptian times. 
They have distinctly large ears.

These are famous features that resemble the ears of bats.

The Sphynx cats look bald; however, they have a thin, short coat that makes their skin feel like suede. 


Quick facts about the Sphynx

Weight: 6 to 12 pounds Height: 8 to 10 inches
Life span: 8 to 14 years
Intelligence: high Temperament: social | affectionate | brave
Playfulness: high Activity level: hyper
Vocalness: howler Coat length: hairless
Shedding amount: infrequent
Good with: kids | seniors | dogs | other cats | families
Traits: The Sphynx cat has a unique appearance that is different than other breeds. The Sphynx cat has little to no fur and is also known as the hairless cat. This breed requires lots of bathing.

Their skin pigmentation decides their color pattern as they do not have any real fur to speak of. Their skin pigment can appear as solid, tabby, or tortoiseshell. 

These are energetic cats. They are acrobatic in behavior and love to show off for attention. 

They are full of humor that often contrasts their serious-looking faces.

The Sphynx cat is loving and friendly. They are extremely loyal and will follow their owners around the house.  They will take every opportunity to curl up in their owner’s lap. 

They can be considered a handful with their energetic attitude. They are curious and intelligent. For the safety of the Sphynx,  keep them as indoor cats.

They are friendly and get on well with other pets and children.


Sphynx cats have minimal health problems. They do have a few genetic predispositions. 

They are prone to hypertonic cardiomyopathy (HCM). This causes the heart muscle to thicken and can be picked up with an echocardiogram. 

They can be prone to skin issues like urticaria pigmentosa.  This causes crusted sores to form on the skin. 

Sphynx cats are prone to periodontal disease, so they need regular teeth brushing and regular visits for dental checkups. 

The Sphynx cats enjoy jumping, playing, and a lot of climbing. They also enjoy scratching quite a lot. It is important to give them something to scratch and to sit on. They enjoy being perched in high places. 

Even though they are hairless, Sphynx cats are not considered hypoallergenic. Their skin still produced allergy-inducing dander. 

They tend to have oily skin and need to be bathed often so that they do not become greasy. 

They are prone to sunburn, and it is advised to coat them with some vet-approved sunscreen. Their skin is quite easily affected by the sun.

Sphynx cats get cold easily and need to be provided with places to curl up and keep warm. Owners can also dress them in sweaters and coats. 

Their ears need to be cleaned on a weekly basis as they build up with oil quickly. 

The Sphynx originated in Toronto, Canada in 1966 and was originally called the Canadian hairless.




Dr. Adedapo Adisa:

The Sphynx cat also called the Sphynx or Canadian hairless, is a native cat of Canada known for its hairlessness or lack of fur because of a genetic mutation causing complete baldness in the cat breed.

The Sphynx cat has a 9-16 years life expectancy, denoting its remarkable healthy state. They are characterized by their folding skin appearance and the cat’s playful and goofy personalities. 

Because of their excellent health status, Sphynx cats are hardly prone to serious health issues. However, the Sphynx is associated with certain genetic conditions passed from parents to offspring.

One common inherited condition observed in the Sphynx cat is a cardiac disease known as Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. Also, the Sphynx cat has been associated with hereditary myopathy, which affects the cat’s muscles.

Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is an inherited health condition due to a genetic mutation causing the walls to thicken.

The thickening of the heart’s muscular wall, especially the left ventricle in the affected Sphynx cats, prevents the left ventricle from filling up and contracting adequately. This affects how blood is distributed to the Sphynx’s body system.

Other sections of the heart and the lungs are also affected because they hold blood longer than they should. Clots begin to form, and fluid builds up around the lungs, leading to severe congestive heart failure in Sphynx cats with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.

Sphynx cats with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy begin to show one or more of the following signs.

● Irregular heartbeats and rhythm.

● Sounds heard when blood leaves the heart (cardiac murmurs)

● Fluid may accumulate around the lungs.

● Blood clots break down and block blood vessels of the legs, leading to severe pain and paralysis.

● General weakness.

● Exercise intolerance.

Sphynx cats that have shown symptoms should be taken to the veterinarian for proper examinations band further tests.

An echocardiogram can assess the level of thickness in the heart walls. This would help understand how to manage hypertrophic cardiomyopathy in Sphynx cats.

Adults Sphynx should be screened for the mutant gene by conducting a DNA test. If found to be positive for hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, such Sphynx cat should be discontinued from breeding activities.

Another health condition observed in the Sphynx cat is hereditary myopathy. This condition in the Sphynx cat is caused by a 

defect in the mechanism affecting response by the muscles to the signal produced by nerves connecting to them.

Because the muscles do not respond to the electric signals produced by the nerves, this leads to poor or weak muscular response and weakness in Sphynx cats.

Some Sphynx cats with hereditary myopathy show intentional tremors and muscle weakness. Also, they may present with inappropriate gait movement, and in severe cases, Sphynx cats would have trouble swallowing food.

It is important to report to your veterinarian if you notice any changes in the Sphynx cats.

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