What to look for when buying a sphynx kitten
So you’ve made your mind up and have made the decision with your partner/ family to adopt a little naked bundle of joy. I will try to give you few tips on what to look for when you choose your breeder and finally a kitten.
Most of you will say that you don’t want to travel too far… but sometimes it is too hard to find a good breeder close to you. Worst idea to look for one on pets4homes or preloved or any other pets selling sites unless you are planning to go and visit the home of the breeder and check out the cats of the chosen cattery. Ask about their pets, their oldest cat. Check what conditions the cats are living and make sure it’s not a kitten mill, see both parents or at least mum if the dad is an outside stud. Make sure you research the breeder properly. Ask for references from previous kitten buyers. See for yourself the tests results and make sure the kitten you are getting will be registered with either TICA, GCCF (two main cat clubs in UK) and also CFA, FIFe and WCF.
You need to do your research about HCM, as in any breed of cat or even in domestic cats HCM is one of the biggest killers. It is a good idea to have your cat scanned by certified cardiologist at the age of 1-2 years old then yearly after that.
Also parents that scan clear can produce HCM positive kitten so it’s very important that you understand this. Also HCM positive parent doesn’t mean that all offspring will also be positive. There is still a lot that we don’t know about HCM and the best tool at the moment we have is echocardiogram that the ethical breeders should have all the breeding cats scanned at least yearly by certified cardiologist. The list of the cardiologists can be found here
In UK we have 2 clubs that have been working hard to promote good ethical sphynx breeders that scan their cats yearly for HCM. Sphynx Cat Club (www.sphynxcatclub.co.uk) and Sphynx Cat Association (www.sphynxcatassociation.co.uk)
You can find a lot of research and information about Canadian Sphynx on both websites.
One of the most important things about a sphynx it’s their skin. Make sure you talk about it with the breeder of your kitten. Most of sphynx have a little hair. Some more then others, and this can be caused by the genes, hormones and temperature. Often sphynx will “grow” coat for winter. This is not something that is desirable in the breeding cats but it does happen. Let’s not forget sphynx have descended from domestic cats and have been outcrossed to other hairy cats so the hair run in their blood.
Another thing to be aware is the sphynx’s skin produces oils. It does vary from one cat to the other, but bad diet and genetics are main causes of greasy skin. This can leave greasy marks on sheets and bedding. It’s also important to wash the bedding regularly.
I bathe my cats every 3-4 months, I find the more you bath the more dirty they get. It is important to feed cats high quality grain free cat food or most preferably a balanced raw diet. Great benefit of raw apart from health benefits is their poo is well formed and with very little smell.
Very important – make sure breeder scans for HCM at least yearly by a specialist cardiologist and regularly health tests for infectious diseases and parasites. Go meet the breeder and see how healthy their cats look. Check the litter trays. You don’t want to see runny and very stinky poo. Look for red and runny eyes and noses, the condition the cats are in. Look at cats temperament. And do this before you choose the kitten as once you fall in love you will get it even from worst place to save it.
The breeder has to provide registration papers for the kitten, written contract with health guarantee, 4 or 5 weeks insurance, kitten should be fully vaccinated, microchipped, neutered and no younger then 12/13 weeks although a lot of breeders wait with the neutering until 15/16 weeks. Anyone that will let kitten go sooner and without full set of vaccines is not ethical and does not have the best interest of kittens at heart.
Price per kitten can vary from £700-£1400 and depends on each breeders circumstances. High price doesn’t mean high quality of kitten so make sure you do the homework.
Good luck and enjoy as Sphynx are the most amazing kitties 🙂