Sphynx cats are adorable, yet odd, creatures to have running around your home. Their hairless bodies and whip-like tails make them look like some sort of extraterrestrial, but their incredible personalities quickly make you forget all of that.
Social, energetic and talkative, the Sphynx will always be vying for your attention. You might want to take them with you wherever you go; it seems as though they could fit in anywhere and befriend just about anyone.
But taking your Sphynx cat outside your home is loaded with implications. They’re high maintenance cats that have special care requirements due to their unique physique. Although they might want to convince you that they should be with you at all times, the reality couldn’t be further from the truth.
The Sun and the Sphynx
Most cats have a natural form of sun protection by their dense hair blocking the UV radiation. Obviously Sphynx cats lack that layer of hair that would normally protect them from the sun, making them extremely vulnerable to sunburn and sun damage. Never use human sunscreen on a Sphynx cat as it can make them very sick.
There are some pet options for sunscreen, but be sure to talk with your vet first about whether this is a safe option for your Sphynx.
And while sun exposure is dangerous for all Sphynx cats, it’s particularly harmful on the lighter-toned Sphynx.
Another important consideration in having your Sphynx go outside is temperature regulation. Sphynx cats are terrible at naturally regulating their temperature since they lack that coat of hair to keep them warm. But aside from getting cold easily, Sphynx cats can also suffer from high temperatures a well. The sun directly hitting their bare skin is more intense than it having to go through a dense coat of hair, making Sphynx cats’ core temperature rise much faster.
Direct Sunlight vs. Shade
Much of the danger of going outside for a Sphynx cat is in sun exposure. If you have a shaded, enclosed area such as a patio or balcony, you might be able to safely let your Sphynx outside with monitoring.
Keep in mind, though, that overcast days can be deceiving. Your Sphynx can still get a sunburn on a cloudy day as UV radiation can get reflected by the clouds. Just because it’s cloudy doesn’t mean it’s safe.
The outside world is full of wild animals and feral cats that your Sphynx might come in contact with which can carry diseases. Some of which include:
- Feline Leukemia
- Feline AIDS
- Feline Infectious Peritonitis
- Feline distemper
- Upper Respiratory Infections
Although not always deadly, parasites can cause unpleasant symptoms in your cat in the form of scratching, skin infections, vomiting and diarrhea. Parasites can also spread around your home and to humans, and can be very difficult to get rid of.
- Ear Mites
- Intestinal Worms
- Ringworm (fungal infection)
The world is full of dangers for an outdoor cat. Remember, if your Sphynx is inside most of the time, they may not understand to be fearful of certain things.
Most cats do not understand the dangers of streets and cars. Even if you do let your cat outside, keep them away from roads, period.
Unfortunately there are people that do not share your affinity for cats, and some have been known to use animals are target practice for BB guns or slingshots, or hit your cat at close range. Being naturally social and with all the love and care your Sphynx receives from you, she may not understand not all people are friendly and to stay away from them.
Your Sphynx cat’s natural curiosity can work against her when she gets trapped in a shed, garage, basement or any other structure. The great outdoors is not a familiar environment to your cat, and they may not comprehend their limitations.
There are a lot of wild animals that would love to have your Sphynx cat as a snack. Be mindful of foxes, coyotes, raccoons, and stray dogs.
There are many outdoor poisons your cat could come in contact with, and plenty of man-made ones as well. Be wary of rat poison as it might be hidden in areas you don’t see, but your cat can find. Antifreeze is a common pet killer; it tastes pleasant but is highly toxic.
Someone Might Want to Steal Your Sphynx
Although you might see your Sphynx cat as a priceless companion and lovable member of your home, other people might see her as a pricetag. Sphynx cats are worth a lot of money and are a very easily recognizable breed, so it wouldn’t be that outlandish of an idea of someone to want to steal her.
Nearly two million pets are stolen each year, and purebreds are the most targeted group. Even worse, only about 10% of stolen pets are returned home. Don’t let those be your odds.
If You do Take Your Sphynx Outside
- Limit their time outside as much as possible and be mindful of the sun
- Keep other cats (particularly strays) away from your cat.
- Train your Sphynx cat to accept a cat/dog harness so you can keep them on a leash and restrict how far they can wander.
- Keep your Sphynx up to date on their vet visits for vaccines and parasite screening.
- Make sure your Sphynx has a microchip implant, that way if they wander off or get lost you can still locate or identify them.
- Always supervise your Sphynx while they’re outside