Sphynx cats are truly unique in every way, from their lovable, quirky personalities to their hairless bodies and bug eyes. They’re high maintenance in most aspects of care, and diet is certainly one of them.
It goes without saying that diet is extremely important in ensuring your Sphynx lives a long and happy life. As the old adage goes, you are what you eat, and it’s no different for your Sphynx cat.
Sphynx Cats Have a High Metabolism
Because Sphinx cats don’t have a coat of hair to keep them warm, their bodies must work harder to regulate their temperature, which costs energy. Imagine if you didn’t get to choose any warm sweatpants or cozy sweater to wear when it’s chilly out; Sphynx cats face this problem every day.
Not to mention Sphynx cats naturally have a very rambunctious personality. You’ll oftentimes catch them zooming, leaping playing and prancing around the room, always on the move.
And a high metabolism can only mean one thing: they eat more than the average cat.
Sphynx Cats Have Sensitive Digestive Systems
Although many experts remain unsure about how or why it happens, Sphynx cats seem to suffer from more digestive issues than other cats. The litter box does not lie, and there are numerous stories of owners noticing rank smells from the litter box or terrible poop consistency.
It’s not only an unpleasant experience for you to deal with, but it can also be very uncomfortable for your Sphynx and lead to dehydration (in the case of diarrhea).
It’s for this reason that you might have to try out a few diets for your Sphynx before you find the right one that seems to suit their digestive system well.
Should You Feed Your Sphynx Cat Dry Food?
Many cat owners and advice columns will insist that dry kibble is the way to go. It’s cheap and easy to just leave out all day in case your Sphynx cat gets hungry, a very enticing idea considering they eat so much.
However, it’s not recommended that you feed your Sphynx cat dry food. Dry cat kibble is full of fillers that can agitate your Sphynx cat’s digestion, not to mention other questionable chemicals and preservatives that aren’t good for your cat’s health.
Equally as important, though, dry food does not contain any water. Cats get around 85% of their hydration through food, and dry food will only force them to get all of their hydration through drinking water, which cats oftentimes won’t do enough of. Providing dry food leads to dehydration in cats which can affect their kidneys and lead to poor health overall.
And finally, dry foods are often the leading cause of obesity in cats. Animals are opportunists in eating, meaning that they eat whenever food is available because they don’t know when they’ll get it again. Leaving out food all day can lead to your Sphynx cat overeating (and overeating on high carb, high calorie food at that), and obesity causes a whole host of problems in cats.
Canned or homemade raw food is the way to go. It will require more money and effort on your part, but will provide your Sphynx with a longer, healthier and happier life.
Products Specifically Targeted Towards Sphynx Cats
Some products advertise that they’re good for Sphynx cats, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they actually are. For example, Royal Canin sells a food made and marketed specifically for Sphynx cats, but it’s just dry kibble with brewers rice as the first ingredient.
A Raw Food Diet For Your Sphynx
Although it’s more expensive, complicated and time consuming, feeding your Sphynx a raw food diet is probably the best way to go.
Many owners follow what is known as a BARF diet, which stands for Biologically Appropriate Raw Food. The idea behind this diet is that it mimics the natural diet a cat would eat in the wild and probably provides the highest amount of nutrients in their most easily digestible form.
Examples of foods in this diet are raw chicken, raw rabbit, raw liver, raw heart, raw fish, etc.
Another major benefit to this diet is that it provides a high amount of protein, which is essential in a cat’s diet. Most vets recommend that protein be 35-45% of a cat’s diet, which most dry foods do not meet.
Special Requirements for Sphynx Kittens
Kittens are particularly sensitive to their diet as their bodies and immune systems aren’t yet fully developed. Ask your vet and breeder what to feed your Sphynx kitten.
In general, it’s probably safer to feed your kitten a canned food diet as opposed to a raw food diet. Certain raw foods can be too harsh or contain bacteria that your kitten might not be equipped yet to fight and might not have all the added vitamins and minerals that canned food has. In short, in can be harder to calculate a well-rounded diet with raw food, and kittens are particularly sensitive to lacking nutrients as their bodies are growing.
How Much to Feed Your Sphynx Cat
It’s recommended that you feed your Sphynx 4-6oz of canned or raw food twice per day so they can maintain that muscular, healthy figure. The amount of food will vary slightly depending on how big your Sphynx is and whether they’re a growing kitten. Bigger cats and growing kittens will likely need a bit more food than average.
Feeding twice per day is also considerably better than one bigger meal per day as it’s hard for the cat to consume all that food in one sitting. It’s more time and work on your part, but your Sphynx cat’s health will benefit from the extra effort.
When to Feed Your Sphynx Cat
Cats are creatures of habit and find comfort and predicability in being fed around the same time every day. Regardless of the exact time(s) you choose, try to keep the feeding consistent. Cats exist on a natural bio rhythm, and adding consistency to their mealtimes will help maintain that rhythm.
Adjusting Your Sphynx to a New Diet
There might be several reasons why you’d want to adjust your Sphynx cat’s diet, including trying out a new food your vet recommended or if you just brought home your Sphinx kitten for the very first time.
If you just introduced your Sphynx kitten to your home, it’s probably not a good idea to adjust their diet right away. Getting used to a new environment can be stressful to a cat, so giving them time to adjust before adding another change to their diet is more ideal.
When it’s time to make the change, make it gradual. See how the new food affects your Sphynx, and be prepared to go back to the old diet if they don’t take to the new one or it causes gastrointestinal issues.