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Are Sphynx Cats Hypoallergenic?

The iconic Sphynx cat has taken over the world by storm—being one of the most sought after and famous cats today. It’s really no wonder this hairless beauty gets so much credit. They indeed are incredible sights to behold with terrific personalities to boot.

If you’re a cat lover, but you or a household member has allergies, you might be hoping that a Sphynx is your solution to the problem. But are these cats considered hypoallergenic? Well, they are as hypoallergenic as a cat is going to get—but they still might pose problems for people with severe allergies. Let’s find out why.

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What Triggers Pet Allergies in Sufferers?

woman sneezing while holding a cat
Image Credit: Pormezz, Shutterstock

Every mammal sheds dead skin cells. Some of them don’t bother us a bit, like our own. But for others, the dander can be a recipe for trouble. Some might have the misconception that allergies come from fur, which makes you automatically assume hairless animals don’t trigger allergies.

But this is false—even hairless animals can trigger allergies. If dander is your issue, less hair can reduce the effects, but it’s not the same if it comes from another trigger. So, what makes a cat so different from other domesticated pets when it comes to allergies?

Allergies & Sphynx Cats

Sphynx cats aren’t labeled hypoallergenic—but they’re probably as close as you’re going to get. While the reaction you have to Sphynx dander can cause fewer symptoms, they still exist. There is no eliminating the trigger completely when you have cats.

Cats produce a protein called Fel d 1. This is the protein in their skin that many people react to. But some might not realize that cats also carry this protein in their saliva and urine.

sphynx cat
Image Credit: Igor Lukin, Pixabay

There is No Such Thing as a Hypoallergenic Cat

As much as some might want to tote hypoallergenic breeds—there is really no such thing. That goes for both dogs and cats. Cats can cause allergies at a higher rate because of their extra allergy-causing proteins.

So, even though some cats are less likely to cause allergies than other breeds, it doesn’t mean you’re not going to have symptoms. When cats lick their skin and you come in contact with the area, it’s going to cause a reaction.

Are All Sphynx Cats Hairless?

All Sphynx cats are hairless as a breed standard. The most hair a Sphynx cat can have is a light peach fuzz all over its body. But that doesn’t mean that all hairless cats are definitely the Sphynx breed.

Sphynx
Image Credit: totte71, Flickr

Some other hairless cat breeds are:

  • Elf Cats—the elf cat is an ultra-rare hybrid between the Sphynx and American curl.
  • Minskins—this breed has many influences including the Munchkin, Burmese, Sphynx, and Devon Rex.
  • Peterbaldsoften hairless from a hair-loss gene, the Peterbald is a mixture of the Donskoy and Oriental Shorthair breeds.
  • Donsky—these cats are the Russian version of the Sphynx.
  • Bambino—this short-legged cutie is crossed between the Munchkin and Sphynx.

Hairlessness might also occur spontaneously in furred litters.

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Skin Care for Sphynx Cats

Don’t let the fact that this breed is mostly hypoallergenic persuade you entirely. Sphynx cats are by no means low-maintenance cats. What is unique about the breed is that their skin is remarkably similar to ours. Their flesh is porous, producing sweat and oils.

Because of their specific care regimen, you need to bathe your Sphynx once a week. You have to wipe down their skin lightly at least once a day. It’s best to use chemical and dye-free wipes to prevent skin irritation.

Sphynx
Image Credit By: CC0 Public Domain, pxhere

Skin Issues for Sphynx Cats

Because of their hairlessness, they can run into a few issues.

  • Feline Acne—because oil can clog the pores, it can cause acne eruptions on the skin. It’s not an issue with every Sphynx, but it’s definitely possible. Some environmental triggers or food intake can make it better or worse, depending on the condition’s cause.
  • Bacterial Infections—Sphynx cats have extra layers that can get buildup inside, leading to skin infections.
  • Excessively Oily Skin—often, if you over-bathe your Sphynx, it can cause highly oily skin. Remember to wipe down your Sphynx daily, but they will only need a full bath once a week at most.

Owning a Sphynx Cat

Even though the concept of a hair-free cat might strike your fancy, you need to make sure you’re equipped to take on the challenges of the breed.

Sphynx cats can still trigger allergies. As we learned earlier in the article, Sphynx can still cause allergic reactions in those who are allergic to the Fel d 1 protein.

Sphynx cats love attention. If you like the relaxed, non-committal approach some cats take to your relationship, this isn’t the cat for you. Sphynx are incredibly playful and affectionate creatures. They want to be the center of your world most of the time. So, make sure you have time for lots of extra cuddles and romp time.

Don’t skimp on skincare. You can’t ignore the daily needs of the Sphynx. Just as important as clean, oil-free skin is in your everyday regimen—the same works for your Sphynx.  Wipe down your Sphynx every day with a moist cloth or scent-free baby wipes.

Sphynx cats have significant grooming needs. Grooming is no joke with this breed. You have to wipe them down, bathe them weekly, and moisten their skin to prevent drying or flaking. The entire process of skincare is time-consuming on top of regular care. Make sure you’re up for the challenge.

These cats are prone to obesity. Watch out when you own these hairless critters, they like their food. Preventing obesity is one way to keep your Sphynx happy and healthy for long-lasting life.

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Final Thoughts

If you’re an allergy-sufferer, only you know what type of allergies you have. For a mild dander allergy, a Sphynx might be hypoallergenic enough to prevent the sniffles. However, if you’re allergic to the Fel d 1 protein that cats carry in their saliva and urine, the Sphynx will be no better than other cats.

Unfortunately, there’s no such thing as a fully hypoallergenic cat.


Featured Image Credit: Best dog photo, Shutterstock