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Bathing Sphynx Cats: 8 Vet Reviewed Tips

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By Nicole Cosgrove

canadian sphynx cat sitting in a dark background

Vet approved

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Reviewed & Fact-Checked By

Dr. Amanda Charles

Veterinarian, BVSc GPCert (Derm) MRCVS

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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Sphynx cats are famous for their sweet personality and distinctive hairless body. That look comes with some high-maintenance grooming needs, however. You may think that no coat means these cats don’t need grooming, but they have specific bathing requirements to keep them safe and healthy.

Here are eight tips for bathing Sphynx cats.

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The 8 Tips for Bathing Sphynx Cats

1. Choose the Right Shampoo

Cats can’t be bathed with just any shampoo—especially hairless cats. Look for a mild, cat-safe shampoo that’s designed for sensitive skin. Ingredients like colloidal oatmeal are a good choice. You also want a shampoo that has no harsh detergents, fragrances, or dyes that can irritate your cat’s skin.

Ordinary female customer buying flea treatment and shampoo in petshop
Photo Credit: Caftor, Shutterstock

2. Gather Your Supplies

Once you have your shampoo, gather your bathing supplies before you bring your cat into the situation. You’ll need your shampoo, a washcloth, and a towel, as well as a sink or basin. If possible, put a non-slip mat in the sink or basin to give your cat security.


3. Introduce Your Cat to Water Slowly

Bathing can be stressful for cats, so it’s important to take it slow. Gently place your cat in the sink or basin filled with tepid water to the cat’s belly. Start with the back legs, then the front. Initially, it’s more important to create a positive experience than do a thorough wash. You can always try again to get your cat used to the experience.

bathing sphynx cat
Photo Credit: Nils Jacobi, Shutterstock

4. Wash Your Cat With a Washcloth

Once your cat adjusts to being in the water, wet the washcloth and gently rub your cat’s sides, back, and neck. Avoid wetting the cat’s head at all, which can be stressful.


5. Add Shampoo

Once your cat is wet, add shampoo to the washcloth. Start washing your cat’s feet gently. Be sure to clean around the toe pads and near the claws since dirt and oil can accumulate there. After the feet, wash the rest of the body with the soapy water, again avoiding the head.

Sphynx Cat on Bathtub
Photo Credit: Pictures 10 studio, Shutterstock

6. Wash the Face

It’s important to be slow and gentle when washing your cat’s face and ears. Work with a clean, damp washcloth or wet cotton wool and wipe away dirt and oil from your cat’s face and eyes, being careful not to get soap near the eyes, nose, or mouth. Also avoid getting water in the ears.


7. Rinse

When it’s time to rinse, work backward. Start by wiping off the face with a damp washcloth free of soap. Then, rinse the body with a cup of fresh water or a damp washcloth, ensuring that there are no remaining suds.

Bath Rinsing sphynx cat
Photo Credit: Svitlana Kriukova, Shutterstock

8. Dry Off Gently

When you’re sure all the shampoo is gone, wrap your cat in a warm, dry towel and allow its body to warm up. This is a good time to offer treats!

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Why Do Sphynx Cats Need Regular Baths?

Sphynx cats are referred to as hairless cats, but they’re not truly hairless. They don’t have a dense coat, but they do have fine hair that covers their smooth skin. Their skin produces oil, but unlike a cat with a coat, there’s no hair to wick the oil away. Over time, they can get oily buildup that can cause skin issues.

Bathing your cat regularly is essential to reduce the oil and wash away dirt. Aside from protecting your cat’s skin health, this prevents that oily buildup from ending up on your clothes and furniture. Ideally, your Sphynx cat should be bathed about once a week with a cat-safe shampoo free of fragrances and dyes.

There are a lot of pet shampoos on the market, but not all of them will keep your pet's skin and coat happy and healthy. The Hepper Pet Shampoo products are pH balanced and made with natural, safe ingredients like soothing oatmeal and aloe vera. Our shampoos will keep your pet clean, smelling fresh, and fully moisturized! The hardest part is deciding whether to get to traditional shampoo or the rinse-free version! Here’s a quick guide to help you choose the right option for your pet’s next bath!

Hepper Oatmeal pet shampoo
Hepper Colloidal Oatmeal Pet Shampoo

Hepper Waterless No Rinse Pet Shampoo
Natural cucumber & aloe scent
Natural cucumber & aloe scent:
Natural cucumber & aloe scent:
Safe for cats & dogs
Safe for cats & dogs:
Safe for cats & dogs:
Rinsing required
Rinsing required:
Rinsing required:
Free of harsh chemicals & nasty ingredients
Free of harsh chemicals & nasty ingredients:
Free of harsh chemicals & nasty ingredients:
Lathers easily
Lathers easily:
Lathers easily:

 

What Other Grooming Needs Do Sphynx Cats Have?

Along with regular baths, Sphynx cats may need their ears cleaned and their nails trimmed like any other pet. Fortunately, Sphynx cats are docile and tolerant, so some positive grooming experiences can lead to a relaxed cat that enjoys grooming time.

Many Sphynx cats need weekly ear cleanings to clear waxy buildup, dirt, and debris that can clog the ear canal. You can use an ear cleanser specifically designed for cat ears, which loosens the debris and brings it to the surface. You can then wipe the inside of the ear (not inside the canal!) to remove some of the gunk.

Your cat’s nails may also need trimming. If this is a new experience for your cat, work with one paw or only a few nails at a time until it gets used to the experience. If you don’t feel comfortable trimming your cat’s nails on your own, ask your vet or schedule an appointment with a professional groomer.

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Conclusion

Sphynx cats may not have much hair to brush and shed, but they still require regular bathing to keep their skin healthy. This guide should help you bathe your Sphynx cat and turn the grooming experience into a positive one.


Featured Image Credit: Sviatoslav_Shevchenko, Shutterstock

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