The Sphynx is… some kind of strange cat. They show us what cats look like under all this fur. It certainly takes a while to get used to it. But could their lack of fur be the key? Would Sphynx cats be the ideal cat for allergy sufferers?
In short, are Sphynx cats hypoallergenic?
Unfortunately, Sphynx cats are NOT hypoallergenic. In fact, touching their bare skin can cause a severe allergic reaction. However, the absence of hair can prevent the allergen from spreading in the home. The Sphynx cat therefore deserves attention for those who are willing to take certain precautions.
Why take that risk?
Because this eccentric cat is not only unique in appearance. This cat will upset your world, if it has the opportunity.
The Sphynx Cat
Fierce, active and totally intrigued by what you do, the Sphynx cat is a joy and a handful to have around you.
Totally playful and endowed with a great sense of humor, you will know instantly what he has in mind when he tells you, loud and clear. And they expect you and your family to be equally transparent in everything you do. They are usually excellent family cats and they are particularly suited to indoor life.
Because of their special condition and personality, they want and even need to be pampered. This breed tends to be easy to handle because kittens learn early on that handling is part of life.
In fact, it is vital for their well-being. In general, you wash a Sphynx once a week to remove excess sebum from their skin. This oil is intended to lubricate the hair that… well, is not there.
Similarly, due to the absence of hair in the ears, Sphinxes also tend to produce an abundance of ear wax, which will need to be cleaned. And if your Sphynx comes out, it’ll even need sunscreen in the summer and a sweater, and maybe slippers in the winter.
With all this in mind, the Sphynx tends to be a dream for people who love a close, practical and almost canine bond with their cat. They will absolutely absorb all the attention while being pampered and pampered.
So let’s stop dancing.
Is this lack of coat an advantage or a problem for people with allergies?
It can be both. The fact is that the most common allergen that people react to is Fel D 1, a protein produced in a cat’s sebaceous glands. This means that the oil that lubricates the skin (and normally a cat’s coat) contains these annoying proteins.
In other words, you now have this allergen in a form focused on your cat’s skin, instead of scattering it among thousands of hairs.
This means that touching the cat in the presence of these oils could potentially trigger a major reaction in an allergic person. That said, if you take care of your sphynx, you will eliminate these oils every week.
In the meantime, there is another aspect to that. Although each Sphynx is different and is more or less “hairless” (some have a severe down), it will undoubtedly spread much less hair in the house than any other cat.
And if you keep their skin in perfect condition, you can also significantly reduce the amount of dander. This means that your home would be virtually free of allergens, with some precautions here and there.
In addition, the limited research we have conducted to date suggests that kittens and females produce less Fel D 1. Sterilized males produce more than females and kittens, while intact kittens produce the largest amounts.
So you can consider adopting a female.
All right, so you made the decision to adopt a naked and feline family member.
It’s time to make sure you all live happily – and comfortably – forever!
There are three ways to do this:
Pampering Your Diva
As we have seen before, pampering your kitten is part of the pleasure of having a Sphynx cat. It can even be a fun ritual to create links.
– Spa time! Once a week, wash your Sphynx with a special shampoo for allergy sufferers, available at your local pet store. Most Sphynx cats are veterans when it comes to bath time, if their breeder has been diligent. So you shouldn’t run into any problems here. Make it fun to offer them treats, a heated bathroom and affection, so they can continue to enjoy them. You can also ask the breeder to give you some tips and tricks on how to take a bath properly and prevent dry skin – and dander training!
– Dry skin. Some cats have a natural predisposition to dry skin, which allows unwanted dingmers – and with them, allergens – to walk around your home. One thing you can do to avoid this is to get omega 3 fatty acid supplements at the pet store. They will keep the skin soft and supple – and you will avoid dander!
– Acepromazine. This is a type of medication that you can add at very low doses to your cat’s food. It can greatly decrease your reaction to your kitten.
Then let’s take a closer look at your home. There are a few tricks we can apply to make everyone more comfortable.
– No sphynx in the bedroom. Although they don’t have hair, you don’t want your kitten to transfer the oils from her skin to your bedding. You would spend 8 hours a day rolling around and breathing in any allergens. Unfortunately, it is not worth taking that risk.
– Rethink your home. Although there are no cat hairs to trap in the fabric, the oils on your kitten’s skin still cause some concern. See if you can find the places where your Sphynx naps and cover them with washable blankets. So you can remove them if you want to sit there, and wash them regularly to stay on top of the allergen.
– Use furniture cleaning products often and dust them. Be sure to spray the product directly on surfaces, as this helps remove dust more efficiently. Also, did you know that adding a rigorous dusting routine can actually reduce airborne cat allergens by 95%?
– Get a HEPA vacuum cleaner. These vacuum cleaners are designed to treat dander and animal hair. But ask someone else to vacuum, because the dust (and therefore the dander) are very sensitive.
– HEPA portable air purifiers. To really capture all the allergens in the air, especially in rooms where there are a lot of textiles, get these practical appliances. You can place them wherever you need a little help.
Your body is your temple
Set up your daily routine
– Wash your hands. As your Sphinx doesn’t have the hair pad, it’s even more important to protect you from oils on their skin. So live, breathe! You can also buy them a nice little outfit, or keep gloves on you, to minimize your exposure.
– Love your washer. He’s your best friend in fighting these annoying proteins, so use it diligently. It will remove the oils your Sphinx leaves on your clothes, as well as the dander to which your clothes cling. With this in mind, consider cotton as your new best friend. Polyester and wool tend to trap many more allergens than cotton.
– Talk to your Sphynx. Cats often tend to show affection when licking. And that is a problem. You see, Fel D 1 is not the only protein that cats produce. A secondary protein, to which many people are also allergic, is found in their saliva. So, teach your very intelligent Sphynx that licking, no matter how gentle, is not appreciated by instantly moving away every time. Then reward him by giving him tons of affection and even treats for showing his affection through rustling (head that buds you), purring and cuddling instead. It’s a matter of good communication!
– See an allergist. It can help you determine your allergy and the best way to approach it. You may even be a candidate for immunotherapy. This is where they use injections to desensitize your body to your kitten.
– Over-the-counter options. Find out if Benadryl and allergy tablets are a viable option for you in an emergency. Always carry your favourite method with you and have reservations in the first aid kit at home. Don’t forget to tell your doctor which tablets are right for you.
– Alternatives. As for holistic remedies, there are two that are very promising for relieving symptoms: neti pot and saline nasal spray.
Other breeds you might want to consult
The Sphynx is not the only cat that can arouse your interest. If you like the general look of Sphynx but aren’t sure about its grooming needs or whether it’s a naked cat, you can learn about the rest of the Rex family.
The Sphynx’s cousins, the Cornish Rex and the Devon Rex, may be within your reach. They too are perfect for life indoors and are very intelligent and affectionate.
It just so happens that they have a little more hair. Their hair is curly, much like those of a poodle. And that has its own advantages. Their hair spreads and diffuses the oils on the skin evenly. Also, because of the curly texture and the minimal amount of hair, these cats don’t lose much.
Finally, if you are looking for a cat that is said to be really hypoallergenic even though it has long, luscious hairs that roam everywhere, take a look at the Siberian cat.
Limited research to date shows that this breed generally produces much less of the Fel 1D allergen compared to other cat breeds. Thus, the actual presence of proteins in oils and on hair is theoretically minimal.
However, remember that each cat has its own genetic background and that there is no guarantee that your kitten will be hypoallergenic!
Whichever member of the feline family you’re on, make sure you do an “empirical” test and spend time with your kitten before adopting it. See how you respond and make an informed decision about whether or not it can be incorporated into your lifestyle.