Skip to content

Hairless Cats - The Bald Truth & Fun Facts Behind the Breed

Hairless Cats - The Bald Truth & Fun Facts Behind the Breed
by Dr Caity Venniker

Read time: 4 min

Hairless cats can be a controversial topic to many cat parents. A neutral standpoint on these not so furry felines is rare, with one team seemingly oblivious to their charms, and the other full of admiration for their striking looks and regal features. No matter your particular view, hairless cats are a fascinating breed to uncover. With the help of our guide, you’ll learn the history and development of this breed, as well as how hairless cats are for pets. You will soon be able to decide if these cats are right for you.

Table of Contents:

  • What are hairless cats called?

  • The history of hairless cats

  • Do hairless cats have whiskers?

  • Unexpected truths about hairless cats

  • Controversies and considerations you

    may want to consider

  • Learn more about KatKin for your hairless cat

What are hairless cats called?

Hairless cats are typically referred to as Sphynx cats. Sphynx cats are undoubtedly the most popular hairless cat breed, although in total, there are seven cat breeds with no fur, that you may want to discover. The seven cat breeds with no fur are:

  • Sphynx

  • Bambino

  • Donskoy / Russian Hairless

  • Dwelf

  • Peterbald

  • Minskin

  • Ukrainian Levkoy

The history of hairless cats

Hairlessness in cats stems from a genetic mutation. It has been seen sporadically throughout the history of cats under natural circumstances. The first time the trait was selected specifically to develop a hairless breed was in the 1960’s. The first noted example was one hairless kitten aptly called Prune. Due to the very limited gene pool, some of the first cat breeds suffered from various health problems.

About a decade later, two hairless barn cats were born in Minnesota, and three hairless strays were born in Canada. From these two litters came the main lines of descent of the modern Sphynx cat.

Meanwhile in Russia, a separate hairless cat breed developed in the 1980’s, known as the Donskoy or Don Sphynx. These hairless cats were then outcrossed to create the Peterbald, amongst other breeds. Although the Sphynx and Don Sphynx look alike, the genetic mutation responsible for their hairlessness is, in fact, different.

Do hairless cats have whiskers?

Hairless cats, such as sphynxes, can have whiskers, but it is thought that the majority of them are entirely hairless. Typically if a hairless cat does have whiskers, they are often short in length. Which may be why sphynx cats can overestimate the size of their surroundings, resulting in getting stuck in small spaces, as their perspective is limited.

Unexpected truths about hairless cats

Learn some fun and unexpected truths about the bald cat breed you may be thinking of bringing into your life:

  • Hairless cats are generally not completely bald; and have varying degrees of peach fuzz type hair. Many people even affectionately refer to them as "suede hot water bottles".

  • Contrary to popular belief, hairless cats are not considered hypoallergenic and so may not be the answer for people with cat allergies. They still produce significant amounts of the triggering allergen in their saliva and skin. However, they may hold an advantage over other, more furry felines because they shed less, so the level of allergen found in the environment is reduced.

  • Hairless cats tend to require more grooming than other cats, as they don’t have a coat to absorb oils and protect against dirt. They have to be bathed or wiped down regularly, and particular care must be taken with their ears, feet and skin folds. They also are prone to sunburn so should ideally only spend limited and supervised time outdoors.

Controversies and considerations you may want to consider

  • In 2015 a Berlin court ordered that Willi (a pedigree Sphynx champion) be castrated. Willi had no whiskers and it was decided that breeding with him would violate the 2013 Animal Protection Act.

  • Hairless cats are sensitive to the cold. While some will happily wear various accessories of feline fashion to keep cosy, others may require extra warm beds or access to heated areas in cold environments. Because they expend more energy keeping warm, the hairless breeds benefit greatly from a highly nutritious diet. Fortunately we have that covered with our selection of fresh cat food and kitten food!

  • It is advisable to acquire a hairless cat through a reputable breeder as some cats are at risk for certain heart, dental and skin conditions. It is also recommended to only take a hairless kitten home at around 12 to 14 weeks of age or older. This gives them a chance to build their immunity before undergoing a change of environment.

  • Beware of scams where supposedly hairless kittens have actually just been shaved!

  • Hairless cats are known for being friendly, intelligent and loyal companions. They are also more easily trained than many other breeds of cat. The most famous hairless cat is Ted Nudegent, the Sphynx that played Mr Bigglesworth in Austin Powers. It has been said, Ted and Mike Myers formed a special bond on set and filming was delayed on more than one occasion because Ted was having a nap on Dr Evil’s lap!

While hairless cats do require some special attention, they are known to be hugely rewarding pets. These bald felines can make for highly interactive, loving and characterful members of the family.

Learn more about KatKin for your hairless cat

Now you have decided to get a hairless cat, you need to ensure they receive the best diet. Katkin provides premium ingredients, that are frozen fresh, to ensure your hairless cat gains all the necessary nutrients that can often be lacking in traditional cat food. Our main focus is to provide your cat with healthy and nutritious meals, which have been prepared by hand with minimal processing.

For us, we put our cats first by choosing natural ingredients over any nasties. By doing this helps your cat breed look and feel their best, as they are eating a diet high in premium meat. The results? We refer to it as ‘The Glow Up’. You may start to find your cat or kitten has improved energy, shiny healthy coats, plus much more! Try it for yourself today!

Related articles