Hairless cat care

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Hairless cat breeds such as the Sphynx are certainly eye-catching! These cats also make wonderful companions, as they tend to be very affectionate and friendly (even to strangers), and love cuddling and playing.

If you look closely at a hairless cat, you will notice that they actually do have a very fine, short covering of downy fur. This makes them very soft to touch. However, this hair isn’t thick enough to provide any protection as regular fur does, giving them some special care requirements.

What special skincare does a hairless cat require?

Hairless cats build up natural skin oils rapidly, which can attract dirt and cause skin disease if not cleaned away regularly. Individual cats can vary in their skincare requirements, but generally need to be bathed in a gentle feline-friendly shampoo every one- to- two weeks. Particularly oily cats may require twice weekly bathing. The use of hypoallergenic baby wipes on your cat’s skin also helps to keep them clean between baths. If you’re unsure of a safe shampoo to use, ask your veterinarian for advice.

It’s important to get your hairless kitten used to bathing early in life so that they aren’t stressed by the process – this makes it pleasant for them, and easier for you in the long-term! Use lukewarm (not hot) water as you would for a human baby, and offer your kitten treats to lick during bathing, such as tasty puree treats.

If your cat ever develops any unusual skin lesions, such as redness, smell, itchiness, or “blackheads” (blocked pores), it’s best to get them checked by your regular vet. They may require a temporary antibacterial treatment, and the use of a veterinary antifungal/antibacterial shampoo and conditioner for long-term skin health maintenance.

Hairless cats will also need their ears gently cleaned once or twice weekly. Ask your vet for help regarding what ear cleaning products to use and the best technique for cleaning the ears.

Do hairless cats need any other special care?

Hairless cats can get sunburned easily, and their skin is generally, more easily injured. Not surprisingly, they also get cold easily! For these reasons, it is recommended that cats like the Sphynx breed are kept indoors only, with UV screens on windows. You can keep your cat happy indoors with the following enrichment strategies.

Provide your hairless cat with lots of warm blankets and igloo beds to snuggle in all-year round, and ensure your house is kept reasonably warm in winter.

The Sphynx is a very sociable cat, so will require lots of human attention, or a feline friend in the house!

Do hairless cats get any health problems?

Cats such as the Sphynx can suffer from the following health problems:

  • Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy - A progressive condition of heart muscle thickening, leading to heart problems.

  • Hereditary myopathy - A genetic condition causing muscle weakness.

  • Sensitive stomachs - Some Sphynx cats require special diets to prevent digestive upset signs such as vomiting and diarrhoea.

We recommend discussing these potential issues with your regular veterinarian.

With the right veterinary care and environment, hairless cats make delightful family members and companions.