Sphynx is hairless cat with the behavior and character of dog.

The History of Hairless Cats: How Many Types and How to Take care of Them?

Hairless cats are unique and captivating creatures that stand out due to their distinct lack of fur. Breeds such as the Sphynx, Peterbald, and Donskoy have gained popularity for their striking appearance and affectionate personalities. However, owning a hairless cat comes with specific care requirements to ensure their health and happiness.

This article explores the history of hairless cats, the various breeds, and provides comprehensive guidance on how to properly care for these fascinating pets.

The History of Hairless Cats

The history of hairless cats is a fascinating journey that spans centuries, filled with unique breeds and intriguing genetic mutations. Hairless cats, particularly known as Sphynx cats today, have captivated people with their distinctive appearance and charming personalities. Let’s explore their origins and how they became beloved pets worldwide.

Ancient Beginnings

The first mentions of hairless cats date back to pre-Columbian Mexico. The Aztecs were known to keep hairless cats, as evidenced by early illustrations and descriptions. These ancient hairless cats, however, are not directly related to the modern breeds we see today.

The Modern Hairless Cat Emergence

The contemporary history of hairless cats begins in the 1960s. In 1966, a domestic cat in Ontario, Canada, gave birth to a hairless kitten named Prune. Prune’s lack of fur was due to a natural genetic mutation. Recognizing the uniqueness of this kitten, breeders started to mate Prune with other cats, including his mother, to see if the hairlessness could be reproduced. This effort laid the foundation for what would become the Sphynx breed.

Portrait of Canadian Sphynx kitten with big blue eyes on black background. Studio shot, copy space.
Canadian Sphynx

Establishing the Sphynx Breed

Despite Prune’s uniqueness, it took several years and more genetic mutations in different parts of the world for the Sphynx breed to truly take off. In the 1970s, more hairless cats were discovered in different regions, including Minnesota, USA. These cats were bred together, and breeders carefully selected cats that would help establish a consistent breed standard.

Breeders faced numerous challenges during this time. Hairless kittens are more prone to health issues, and maintaining their genetic diversity was crucial to avoid problems associated with inbreeding. Nevertheless, through careful breeding programs and dedication, the Sphynx breed was officially recognized by cat fancier associations in the 1980s.

Characteristics and Care

Sphynx cats are known for their lack of a fur coat, but they aren’t entirely hairless. They have a fine layer of peach-fuzz-like hair covering their bodies, which gives them a suede-like feel. Their skin is exposed, making them more susceptible to temperature changes, so they often seek warm spots or enjoy wearing sweaters to stay cosy.

Despite their unusual appearance, Sphynx cats are known for their affectionate and social nature. They are energetic, playful, and enjoy being the centre of attention. Their outgoing personality makes them excellent companions.

Owning a Sphynx cat comes with specific care requirements. Their exposed skin can become oily, so regular baths are necessary to keep them clean and healthy. Additionally, they need protection from the sun and cold weather due to their lack of fur.

Expanding the Hairless Cat Family

While the Sphynx is the most well-known hairless cat breed, it is not the only one. The Peterbald, a breed developed in Russia, and the Donskoy, another Russian breed, also lack fur due to different genetic mutations. These breeds add diversity to the family of hairless cats and provide more options for enthusiasts.

Popularity and Cultural Impact

Today, hairless cats are beloved by many around the world. Their unique look has made them stars on social media, and they often appear in movies, commercials, and artwork. Their rise to fame is a testament to how something once seen as unusual can become cherished and celebrated.

Pretty purebred Sphynx Cat standing high on wooden crossbar, playing on playground and looking down with curiosity. Age of kitten is 4 months. Photo of animal outdoors boarding kennel on summer day

How to Take Care of Hairless Cats? Do They Need Anything Extra?

After you register your hairless cat, taking care of them involves some unique considerations due to their lack of fur. Here are the main aspects of their care and what extra they might need:

Skin Care

  • Regular Baths: Hairless cats tend to have oily skin since they lack fur to absorb the oils. Bathing your cat once a week with a gentle, cat-specific shampoo can help prevent skin issues.
  • Skin Moisturizing: Sometimes, a vet-recommended moisturizer may be needed to keep their skin from becoming too dry.
  • Sun Protection: Hairless cats are prone to sunburn. Keep them indoors during peak sunlight hours or apply a vet-approved sunscreen if they must be outside.

Temperature Regulation

  • Warm Environment: Hairless cats can get cold easily. Keep your home at a comfortable temperature and provide cosy blankets or pet-safe heating pads.
  • Clothing: Consider dressing your cat in a soft sweater or shirt, especially in colder climates or during winter.


  • Ear Cleaning: Hairless cats often have waxy ears that require regular cleaning. Use a vet-recommended ear cleaner and cotton balls.
  • Eye Care: Some hairless cats may have watery eyes. Gently wipe their eyes with a damp cloth to keep them clean.
  • Nail Trimming: Without fur, hairless cats’ nails can become dirty more quickly. Regular nail trimming and cleaning are essential.

Diet and Nutrition

  • Balanced Diet: Feed your cat a high-quality diet to support their overall health. Consult your vet for recommendations on the best food for hairless cats.
  • Hydration: Ensure your cat has constant access to fresh water. Proper hydration is crucial for their skin and overall health.

General Health

  1. Regular Vet Visits: Hairless cats may have a higher risk of skin infections and other health issues. Regular veterinary check-ups are important to monitor their health.
  2. Vaccinations and Parasite Control: Keep up with their vaccinations and use flea, tick, and worm preventatives as recommended by your vet.

Comfort and Mental Stimulation

  • Toys and Play: Hairless cats are typically very active and playful. Provide a variety of toys and engage in interactive play to keep them mentally stimulated and physically active.
  • Social Interaction: These cats are known for their affectionate and social nature. Spend plenty of time with them, providing love and attention.

Litter Box Maintenance

  • Clean Litter Box: A clean litter box is essential to prevent skin irritation. Scoop daily and clean the box thoroughly at least once a week.

Special Considerations

  • Avoid Rough Surfaces: Hairless cats can easily get scratches or abrasions. Make sure their environment is safe and free from rough surfaces that could harm their skin.
  • Watch for Allergies: Be aware of potential allergies. Since their skin is exposed, they may react to certain products or foods. If you notice any unusual reactions, consult your vet.


Having a hairless cat as a pet is quite the adventure, filled with special duties. They need careful skin care, just the right warmth, and frequent vet visits to keep them in tip-top shape. These cats are super loving and friendly, making them great pals. But remember, they do have their own set of needs.

Get to know their background, the different types, and all the care details, and you’ll have a happy, cosy kitty. Getting into the world of hairless cats is a unique experience that can add a lot of happiness and love to your life.