Caring for your Sphynx Kitten
Bringing your kitten home
If you have other pets, they should be quarantined from each other for 10-14 days, and should not be introduced until your new kitten is comfortable with the new surroundings. For cats, hissing and growling when meeting other animals is normal, but should stop within a few days. While your new kitten is acclimating to the new home, all other pets should be placed in a separate room while your new kitten explores alone. Again, introduce your new kitten very slowly, allowing them to smell the other animal's scent first, either through a door or gate, or with a blanket or clothing article the other animal has used. Then introduce them under close supervision until they are completely comfortable with each other.
If you are comfortable temperature wise, naked, then your kitten should be comfortable! Make sure your kitten always has its own pet bed with a blanket and a warm spot for he/she to go to if it is cold. Sphynx love to feel warm, you will usually find them under your blankets on the bed or a warm place, by a window on a sunny day, mine love to sit on my cable box receiver because its hot! You can also keep a heating pad on low wrapped in a blanket in their bed, they also make heated pet beds you can buy online.
Fresh water should be available at all times!
Hairless breeds have a higher metabolism than most cats because of their need to keep their body temperature warm, so they eat more than an average cat. Because of this I suggest you free feed your kitten/cat. ( give unlimited access to dry food at all times). Always provide premium cat food. **NOTE: If you do not feed the same food they are used to, or suddenly switch foods at any time, they will most likely get diarrhea and / or vomiting until their system re-adjusts to the new food. If you do wish to change what they are on, you will need to switch them to the new brand slowly, gradually adding more of the new brand every couple days until you are feeding 100% of the new brand, this should be done over a 7 to 10 day period. Different hairless cats have different body builds. Some are more bulky and plump, while others can be lean and more athletic; however, your cat should not be too bony. **Raisins, grapes, onions, and chocolate are all poisonous to both cats and dogs, so be sure to keep these things out of reach from your pets.** Never give your hairless kitten cows milk or milk products like cheese.
Despite its apparent lack of hair, hairless breeds must be groomed. For a regular cat, body oils are absorbed by the fur, but the hairless, clearly lacking in that attribute, does not have a natural way of keeping the oil on the skin in balance. This can lead to skin problems if the cat is not groomed, and to oil spots on the furniture. A regular bathing routine once every 1 to 3 weeks , this is dependent on your individual kitten/cats needs as some may produce more oils than others. Over-bathing could cause your kitten to secrete more oils. You can use any kind of mild baby wash or sensitive body wash. If your hairless gets dirty in between baths, you can wipe them down with a fragrance-free baby wipe or a warm, damp cloth. Our kittens start having bi-weekly baths at about 6 weeks of age. And even though hairless have very little hair, they still lick and groom themselves like any other cat. An important consideration for the skin, is that they must be safe-guarded from the sun. A small amount of sun will intensify the natural colors of the cat's skin, but too much will burn the cat, just as it does human skin. Sphynx should be kept indoors only! If you choose to take your cat with you outdoors, they should be on a leash and harness or crated under your supervision at all times with limited sun exposure. Do not use lotions or creams on your sphynx's skin!
The hairless breeds also lacks eyelashes, which can result in dirt , 'goop' or 'eye-boogers' in the corners of their eyes. This is completely normal for the sphynx breed. Use a clean soft washcloth with warm water and gently wipe the cats’ eyes and face. Only use a clean cloth with fresh clean water for your cats’ eyes and face so you don't spread any bacteria into them. You can also use natural hypoallergenic baby wipes.
Your kitten will also have a black waxy buildup in their ears. This is normal for the breed. You can use a warm wash cloth to remove this buildup and a pet ear cleaning solution to the end of a Q-tip to clean out the wax build up. Please avoid harsh cleansers as this can cause an allergic reaction to them. Also be careful when using cotton swabs to not push any wax back into the ear canal as this may lead to infection or injury and only clean what you can easily see. Do not put the Q-tip into the ear canal where you cannot visibly see! You will need to clean your kittens ears once a week.
Your Sphynx (hairless) should have their nails trimmed and cleaned once a week. When clipping nails be sure to avoid clipping into the pink vein area inside the nail as this causes discomfort to your kitten and bleeding. You can use cat clippers bought at your local pet supply store. A hairless will get a black waxy buildup on their nails and this is normal for the breed as well. It works best to clean them with a warm wet wash cloth or hypoallergenic wipes. WE DO NOT ALLOW OUR KITTENS TO BE DECLAWED. Please click here to learn more. Soft paws claw caps is a humane safe choice!
A clean litter box is essential! Clean your kitten/cats litterbox at least 1-2 times a day! Your kitten will be accustomed to exquisicat newspaper pellet litter, That is what we use for all of our cats and kittens. We use large simple open litter boxes for our kittens and adult cats. The Breeze litterbox system is a great option also if you decide to change to something different.
Some people who suffer from cat allergies can tolerate living with Sphynx, Elf, Bambino or Dwelf. This is because there is no airborne hair to deal with and the reactive chemical in their saliva is lower than many breeds. Regular bathing also keeps the dander at bay. However depending on the type and severity of the individual’s allergic reactions, there are some who will still be allergic.
Be sure to find a vet who is familiar with the SPHYNX breed. I've found that even the most skilled Veterinarian may not be the best choice for your hairless. If they don't have considerable first-hand experience treating and evaluating hairless, or aren't willing to research and/or consult with another vet, they may misdiagnose or order unnecessary tests. For example if you bring your hairless to a vet who is unfamiliar with this breed, and their ears are even a little bit dirty, they will likely diagnose them with ear mites. 99% of the time, this is NOT the case, it is just that the wax produced in the hairless' ears, along with dirt and oil from the skin, makes it darker (almost black) than wax from other breeds of cats. Ear mites are accompanied by scratching and itching and bumps on the skin. Again, if your vet is not familiar with the hairless breed, they will probably diagnose the normal eye boogers as conjunctivitis. Hairless breeds do not have eyelashes, so 'eye boogers' are normal, and can just be cleaned with a baby wipe or wet towel. Eye mucus and occasional leaking is normal and should be gel-like and either clear or slightly brownish. If the discharge becomes excessive, cloudy or yellow, or very runny, then seek veterinarian attention.
Your kitten will be up to date on vaccines before he/she leaves. A booster vaccine is recommended at one year old and then once every 3 years. Never give FIP or FELV vaccines to your kitten and never give two different vaccines on the same day unless it is a combo vaccine. It is too hard on your little kitten and many cats have had severe reactions to two vaccines given on the same day. FIP vaccines are often time fatal if your cat has ever been exposed to the corona virus, which 90% of cats in a multiple cat household have been exposed. They will break out with the fatal form of FIP if given the vaccine. There is no known treatment for FIP, it is fatal. We have come up with a schedule to best suit our hairless breeds. It is likely different from your vet's schedule, but is customized especially for our cats, and prevents unnecessary over-vaccinating. Most vaccines do not provide protection. This can be the result of poor vaccine performance (FIP & FeLV), lack of risk, or lack of need; and many vaccines actually induce illnesses that are often worse than the disease they are meant to prevent, as well as suppress the immune system, decreasing their ability to fight off infection and sicknesses of all kinds. If you'd like more information about this issue, please click here for more information.
Stress & Upper Respiratory problems
It is not uncommon for a Kitten to undergo some degree of stress when there is a change in their environment, i.e., change in home environment or shipping. Occasionally this transition may cause them to start to sneeze, cough or develop a runny nose which can be the beginning signs and stages of a developing upper respiratory infection . If this occurs the cat/kitten should be taken to veterinarian. It is important that upper respiratory issues be addressed in a prompt manner.
Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM) is found in all cat breeds, not just Sphynx. HCM is the most common heart disease found in all domestic cats. This is generally a genetic disease that can happen at any time to any breeder regardless of scanning and precautions. HCM screening the breeding cats and having negative results still does not guarantee against your kitten getting HCM. Sire and Dam of your kitten can scan negative their whole life, and your kitten can still get HCM at some point in its lifetime. This is an unfortunate issue. HCM is a thickening of the heart’s left ventricle wall. Any cat can develop HCM at any time in their lives. Please click here if you would like to learn more about HCM in cats.