A controversial nude cat: the unique hairless Sphynx

A controversial nude cat: the unique hairless Sphynx

Sphynx cat with blue eyes and curved whiskers

The Sphynx: you like ’em or you hate ’em. This special breed from Canada is the cause of much discussion in the cat world. A gentle temperament and special appearance are positive features of this breed, but this is often accompanied by health problems due to ‘torture breeding’. Curious about this breed? Then read on!

Where does the Sphynx come from?

Although these cats are named after the famous Sphinx statues from ancient Egypt, they come from Toronto, Canada. At the time, this breed was called the ‘Canadian hairless’. Due to a genetic mutation an almost hairless cat was born, and this mutation was selectively maintained.

Where has the fur gone?

A Sphynx can be born with no fur and no whiskers, or with a soft peach fur. So a naked cat is not always completely naked: Sphynxes with peach-fur therefore feel surprisingly soft. A naked cat with fur and whiskers is in most cases a lot healthier than one without fur, this is because a healthy fur and whiskers have many important properties. Firstly, whiskers are very important during navigation. They allow a cat to sense if it can easily climb through a tight space. Cats without whiskers therefore often get stuck in tight spaces. Secondly, a coat is important for protection against temperature differences, sunshine and attacks from other cats, for example. So a Sphynx needs special care compared to most cats.

Sphynx cat with peach-fur and green eyes

How do I care for the skin of a Sphynx?

Because this is a special breed, it is important to educate yourself about its care. This breed may not have a thick coat, but that doesn’t mean you will spend less time caring for it. A coat keeps a cat clean and safe. Because the naked cat has (almost) no coat, you have to do this for him. First, this cat needs a weekly bath to get rid of excess body oil and to clean out clogged pores. You do this with a special shampoo that repels fungus. This breed is prone to skin problems, so a good bath is a must. Don’t forget to clean between the wrinkles!

Secondly, as with other cats, you have to make sure that the ears are kept clean to prevent infections. Make sure the nails don’t get too long and go to the vet at least once a year for a check-up.

Is the cat often outside in winter? Many owners give their naked cat a comfortable outfit to compensate for the lack of fur. The same applies in summer: this cat’s skin burns easily, so make sure you protect it properly with for example special cat sun cream. Ask your vet for more information on this.

I am allergic to cats, so should I get a naked cat?

Too bad! A Sphynx is not hypoallergenic. A cat allergy is not only caused by the fur of a cat, but also often by dander and saliva. No cat is 100% hypoallergenic, but many allergic people claim not to get sick from for example the Siberian Forest cat and the Bengal.  

white Sphynx kitten on an orange sofa

Character traits of this breed

A Sphynx is very attached to its owner and gets along well with visitors and other pets. As with any cat, it is very important to socialise well with other people and animals from a young age. Due to its curious nature, this breed often welcomes new guests at the door. These sweet cats will not only lie down next to you to warm you up, but also just because they like it!

Because this is an intelligent breed, you can teach them tricks relatively easily. They love to play, run around and make acrobatic jumps and find creative ways to entertain themselves. Many cats don’t mind being left alone for a while, but the Sphynx prefers to be with its owner as often as possible. Don’t be surprised if this cat follows you from room to room!

What diseases and disorders can the Sphynx get?

Like many breeds, this breed is at risk of the heart disease HCM. This is a disease that causes the heart muscle to thicken. Read more about it on this website.

Because of its lack of fur, this breed is at an increased risk of skin cancer. Make sure your cat is protected from the sun. This cat can also get a disease called Urticaria Pigmentosa, which causes sores on the skin.

Good breeders scan all their cats for health problems, so if you want to adopt a pedigree cat, always adopt it from a certified breeder. If you adopt a Sphynx from a good breeder and take good care of the cat throughout its life, this breed can live to be 15 years old.

White-grey sphynx kitten sleeping

Facts and trivia

1.            To compensate for its lack of fur, the body temperature of the Sphynx is slightly higher.

2.            Because of this, this breed has a high metabolism and therefore eats a little more than other cats of the same weight.

3.            They can get sunburnt, just like people.

4.            In Russia this breed is associated with magic. In this country the Sphynx cat is considered a symbol of luck and abundance.

Where do I adopt a Sphynx?

Logically, you do not buy a cat from a bread breeder. These breeders breed for profit, not for health, welfare and love of the breed. Buying a cat on Marktplaats or Ebay is often not a good idea either. Look for a licensed cattery, certified breeder, or a good shelter. Although it is tempting to take home the first cute cat you come across, it is wise to inform yourself before you adopt.


Petrebels is not a vet or a behaviourist: all content, information and tips on this blog are meant to inspire you and are of an informative nature. Does your cat have complaints or problems? Or do you have doubts about your cat’s health? Always go to the vet or a behaviourist.

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Katten slapen gemiddeld 16 uur per dag en doen dat vol overgave: er wordt gerekt, gestrekt en schaamteloos gegaapt. Heerlijk. De Luie Rebel is er wel héél goed in. Die laat rennen en spelen liever aan een ander over en ploft met gemak overal neer voor een overheerlijk dutje. Maar het liefst ligt deze Rebel in een lekker zacht mandje of hangmatje.

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Katten hebben van nature de behoefte om hun nagels te scherpen. Ze markeren daarmee hun territorium en worden er ontspannen en blij van. De Krabbel Rebel weet van geen ophouden als het om krabbelen gaat. Maak van je huis daarom een feestje voor deze Rebel en zet één (of meer) goede krabpalen neer.

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Buitenkatten houden van hun vrijheid en van avontuur. Ze verstoppen zich vaak in struiken en houden de hele buurt in de gaten. Ze kunnen zich uren vermaken met rondvliegende insecten en nemen – als het even meezit – een echte muis voor je mee naar huis. De Outdoor Rebel komt thuis om gezellig met de baasjes te kroelen en rustig te eten. En stelt het op prijs als er een fijn plekje is om uit te rusten voor het volgende avontuur.

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Sommige katten blijven liever binnen. Of het baasje wil dit graag. Indoor Rebels vinden het heerlijk om naar buiten te kijken – naar al het spannends wat zich daar afspeelt. Je maakt deze katten blij door het binnen net zo spannend te maken als buiten. Prikkel hun instincten met speeltjes en krabmeubels waar ze lekker in kunnen klimmen, want dan blijven ze gelukkig en gezond.

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Cats sleep up to 16 hours a day with full commitment: lots of stretching and shameless yawning… Mhmm, delicious. The lazy Rebel masters this trait like no other and prefers to leave the running and playing to someone else. This lazy napper is able to lie down anywhere to take a well-deserved rest, but they prefer a nice and soft hammock or basket.

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Cats naturally have the need to sharpen their nails. This way they mark their territory. It also makes them relaxed and happy. The scratching Rebel will never stop when it comes to this. Transform your house into a “scratching paradise” for this Rebel and supply it with one or several good cat trees.

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Outdoor cats love adventure and freedom. They often hide in bushes to keep an eye on their surroundings. They can entertain themselves for hours with bugs flying around and they might even take home a real mouse for you! The outdoor Rebel will come home to cuddle with its owner and to eat peacefully. This adventurer would appreciate it if there is a nice spot in your house to rest before the next adventure.

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Some cats prefer to stay inside, this can also be a decision made by the owner. Indoor Rebels enjoy watching the outside world – and everything exciting that happens there. You can make these cats happy by making the indoor world just as exciting as the outdoor world. Stimulate their senses with toys and cat furniture in which they can climb. This way they remain healthy and happy.

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Katzen schlafen durchschnittlich 16 Stunden pro Tag und tun dies voller Hingabe. Sie strecken sich, dehnen sich und gähnen unverhohlen. Herrlich! Der faule Rebell ist sehr gut darin. Er überlässt das Toben und Spielen am liebsten jemand anderem und macht stattdessen lieber ein kleines Nickerchen. Am liebsten bevorzugt dieser Schläfer ein weiches Sofa oder ein gepolsterte Liegefläche.

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Katzen haben von Natur aus das Bedürfnis, ihre Nägel zu schärfen. Damit markieren sie zum einen ihr Territorium und verhindern zum anderen, dass die Nägel zu lang werden und einwachsen. Kratzen, wetzen und schärfen macht sie entspannt und glücklich. Der Kratz-Rebell kennt dann auch kein Halten mehr, wenn es ums Wetzen und Kratzen geht. Mach dein Zuhause also zu einer Partyzone für diesen Rebellen und stelle einen (oder mehrere) gute Kratzbäume mit viel Wetzmöglichkeiten auf.

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Freigängerkatzen lieben die Freiheit und das Abenteuer. Oft verstecken sie sich im Gebüsch und behalten die ganze Nachbarschaft im Auge. Sie können sich stundenlang mit fliegenden Insekten vergnügen, streunen herum und bringen im schlimmsten Fall eine Maus als Geschenk mit nach Hause. Der Outdoor-Rebell kommt nur nach Hause, um mit den Besitzern eventuell zu kuscheln und sich sein Fressen servieren zu lassen. Und er schätzt es über alle Maßen, wenn er einen schönen, gemütlichen Platz am liebsten auf einem Kratzbaum zum Ausruhen für das nächste Abenteuer angeboten bekommt.

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Einige Katzen sind reine Indoor-Rebellen. Entweder, weil sie es vorziehen in einem warmen und gefahrlosen Zuhause zu leben oder weil der Besitzer dies so möchte. Indoor-Rebellen lieben es nach draußen zu schauen – und das aufregende Leben draußen aus sicherer Entfernung zu beobachten. Diese Katzen sind glücklich, wenn man drinnen die gleichen Abenteuer simuliert, die sie draußen beobachten können. Stimuliere deren Instinkte mit Spielzeug und Kratzmöbeln, in denen sie herumklettern und toben können, damit sie gesund, agil und glücklich bleiben.

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