Just one of the many requirements to being a Sphynx cat owner is bathing your Sphynx often. Unlike cats with hair, Sphynx cats cannot properly disperse the natural oils produced by their skin, so they tend to get an oily buildup that can turn rancid if not washed off. Not only that, but the oils can get on your furniture, clothes and floor.
Hair also serves as a form of protection from outside dirt, dust, grime and other foreign particles, leaving Sphynx cats defenseless against getting dirty. This grime can also sometimes clog their pores or cause skin infections, leading to acne and skin irritations.
How Often to Bathe Your Sphynx
It’s recommended that you give your Sphynx a bath at least once every week. This might seem like a lot of work, but it’s entirely necessary to keep your Sphynx clean and healthy. And as the old adage goes, “practice makes perfect”…you’ll have the routine down like clockwork in no time!
That weekly bath time is also a good time to clean out your Sphynx cat’s ears. Again, because they don’t have any hair in and around their ears, they’re prone to having wax and dirt build up. The warm, humidity of a bath can help liquify and loosen the wax in their ears, making it easier to clean.
Preparing the Bath
First and foremost, wash your hands vigorously with soap before doing anything else. Because you’ll be washing all parts of your Sphynx’s body (including their eyes) you’ll want to make sure your hands are clean and free of dirt and bacteria.
Sink’s tend to make for a great bathtub for cat’s because they’re easier for you to work in and won’t use as much water as a regular bathtub. Make sure the sink you use is clean and free of any items such as dishes or scrub brushes. Fill the sink with warm water (not too hot and not too cold) up to about where your Sphynx’s tummy would be. You might want to consider filling the sink while your Sphynx cat is away and out of earshot as they might associate unpleasantness with bath time.
You might also want to go the extra mile in creating a relaxing atmosphere in the room so help calm your Sphynx’s nerves. Turn off any loud noises such as the TV or music and ask that your roommates talk gently and not slam doors during bath time.
It might seem like an unnecessary step, but bath time can be a stressful experience for cats as they typically don’t like water, so anything you can do to eliminate stressful stimuli will help.
Finally, put a towel or rubber mat at the bottom of the sink to prevent your Sphynx from slipping and sliding around, potentially hurting themselves. They’ll feel more reassured having something to stable to stand on.
Bathing Your Sphynx
The most difficult part of the bath is often when you first put your Sphynx in the water. They’ll likely squirm or meow with distress: this is normal and it’s important to remember that cleaning your Sphynx is well worth the temporary discomfort they might feel.
Lower your Sphynx in feet first, with the rear legs going in first followed by the front legs. Hold your Sphynx in place with one hand, not pushing too hard but simply holding them so they can’t get out. It’s okay to wait a few minutes before washing your cat to allow them to get used to being in the water.
You don’t want to completely submerge your Sphynx; this will cause them extreme distress and could potentially harm them. Instead, get a washcloth and gently wipe down their body so they’re completely damp all over. You can also pour a cup of water over the top of their body, but make sure to avoid the head.
With a soft sponge or exfoliating glove, lather their skin with a scent-free cat shampoo. Sphynx cats oftentimes have sensitive skin, so choose your shampoo very carefully. It might take trying a few products before you find the right one for your Sphynx.
Gently wipe the shampoo all over your Sphynx, making sure to get under any folds in their wrinkles. Also don’t forget to clean the tail, paws and areas between the upper arm and body.
To wash the feet properly, hold one paw in your hand and put some pressure on one of the toe pads to extend the claw. Wash around the claw to get out any dirt that might have worked it’s way in around the claw. Sphynx cats need extra attention to washing their paws because they don’t have hair to keep dirt from getting around their claws and causing infections.
When washing your Sphynx’s head, be extra delicate and gentle. Make tiny strokes around their eyes, nose, mouth and ears so as not to hurt them if they suddenly jerk away.
When you’re finished washing your Sphynx, drain the sink to get rid of the soapy, dirty water. Rinse off all the soap by pouring cups of warm water over your Sphynx or using the faucet set at a lower intensity. It’s very important to get off all the soap as it can later irritate your Sphynx’s skin.
Cleaning Your Sphynx Cat’s Eyes
Sphynx cat’s don’t have any eye lashes, which are essential to keeping dirt and grime out of their eyes, so you must make sure to clean their eyes at least once every week, with or without the bath.
Dip a cotton ball in warm water (ideally clean, sterilized water), and gently wipe and dab around your Sphynx’s eyes. Do not use any over the counter eye drops or solutions unless recommended by your vet. They might also suggest some pet friendly eye-cleaning solutions to try.
Drying Your Sphynx
Now that the hard part is over, it’s time to dry off your Sphynx. They can get cold very quickly if their skin is damp, so gently wipe and pat down your Sphynx all over, making sure you didn’t leave any wet spots. It’s a good idea to wash the towel in between uses and make sure to never use your towel on your Sphynx as it can have oils and bacteria from your skin.
Treat Your Sphynx
Because bath time will be a frequent occurrence for your Sphynx, it might be a good idea to reinforce positive associations with it. During or after the bath give your Sphynx a treat, some cuddles and pets to reassure them everything is okay. Over time your Sphynx will grow accustomed to taking bathes, and regular bath times will be a piece of cake!