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Sphynx Cat Grooming: Step-by-Step Vet-Approved Guide

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By Nicole Cosgrove

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Vet approved

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Reviewed & Fact-Checked By

Dr. Paola Cuevas

MVZ (Veterinarian)

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

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A Sphynx cat is a rare hairless cat breed known for its sweet and docile personality. Despite not having any hair, these cats can be high maintenance in their grooming needs. They require regular bathing to keep their skin healthy, as well as nail trimming and ear cleaning.

Here’s your step-by-step guide to Sphynx cat grooming.

Supplies Needed
  • Cat-safe shampoo
  • Multiple towels
  • Cotton balls or tissues
  • Nail clippers
  • Ear wipes (optional)

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The 11 Steps of Sphynx Cat Grooming

1. Fill the Sink

Fill a sink with warm water up to your cat’s belly. Make sure the water is comfortably warm but not hot by testing it with your elbow. If you don’t have a suitable sink, a large basin or your tub may suffice. Fill the sink prior to bringing your cat into the room to avoid any added stress.hepper nom nom cat food bowl sphynx cat

2. Avoid Distractions and Stressors

Before bath time, turn off your television and radio to keep things soothing and quiet. Tell your other family members to be quiet while bathing to avoid starting your cat. If you have other pets, try to confine them in a separate room.

3. Put a Towel at the Bottom of the Sink

Though the towel will get soaked, putting a towel at the bottom of the sink or tub will prevent your cat from slipping on the surface. It also protects your sink or tub from claw marks if your cat gets scared.

grey sphynx cat on a wooden table
Image Credit: Igor Lukin, Pixabay

4. Place Your Cat in the Bath

This may be stressful at first. Allow your cat to feel the water with its feet first, slowly, before lowering its entire body into the bath. Work from the paws to the rear end to the chest until your cat is fully in the bath.

Your cat may struggle initially, but keep going slowly and gently. You don’t want your cat to learn that throwing a tantrum gets it out of taking a bath. Over time, your cat will get used to the bath.

5. Hold Your Cat with One Hand

Hold your cat with one hand to keep it in the water, but don’t be forceful. If your cat struggles, give it time to adjust to being in the water. It’s important that your cat isn’t allowed to jump out of the bath and stay out, as this creates bad habits.

Image Credit: Danila, Shutterstock

6. Use a Washcloth

A washcloth is a handy way to wet your cat’s body. Do not use the washcloth on your cat’s head, but wet its back from the neck down. If you prefer, you can use a sponge or exfoliating glove. Work in slow, firm strokes. Wash between any wrinkles or folds.

Once wet, add some gentle cat shampoo to your washcloth or glove and lather your cat up. Make sure to get in between wrinkles, the tail, and the paws.

Keeping your pet's skin and coat clean and healthy is very important, but finding a great shampoo can be harder than the actual grooming! We love our Hepper Pet Shampoos because they makes grooming so much easier. These pH-balanced formulas are made with natural ingredients like oatmeal, cucumber, and aloe. They are free of phthalates, sulfates, and soaps and very gentle on your pet's skin. Now you just need to decide which formula is best for your fur baby! 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:


7. Wash Your Cat’s Face

Sphynx cats don’t have any hair, including eyelashes. This allows dirt and debris to get into the eye and cause irritation. You don’t want to use soap around its eyes, but you can use a wet cotton ball or tissue to clean around your cat’s eyes and face.

8. Rinse Your Cat

Drain the tub or sink and run the water gently. Make sure it is still warm, not hot, and cup water over the cat’s body to rinse the soap away. Again, avoid the head and face—just focus on the areas that you have lathered.

9. Dry Your Cat

Use a soft, warm towel to dry your cat. As soon as you take your cat out of the water, wrap it in a towel and rub gently. Avoid being too vigorous when drying your cat since that can irritate it. Your cat may want to get away at this point, so keep one hand on it and dry it quickly.

Image Credit: Malasia Johnson, Pixabay

10. Clean Your Cat’s Ears

If your cat is comfortable, you can use this opportunity to wipe your cat’s ears. Just wipe out the inside of the ears (not the canal) with a damp tissue or cotton ball. Avoid allowing water to go into your cat’s ears.

11. Trim Your Cat’s Nails

Trimming your cat’s nails can be done at any time, but it may be easier after the bath. The nails are soft and pliable. With cat nail trimmers, take off the sharp edge of the nail, avoiding the quick.

It may take some time for your cat to tolerate nail trimming, but there is no rule that you have to do all the nails at once. Start slowly with one or two nails, then build up to doing all the nails each time.

hairless sphynx cat getting washed bath
Image Credit: Nils Jacobi, Shutterstock

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How Often Should My Sphynx Cat Be Bathed?

Sphynx cats should be bathed regularly, around once a week to rid their skin of dirt, oil, and debris that can contribute to acne or other skin problems. Nails can be trimmed about every two or three weeks, depending on your cat’s activity level.

hepper cat paw divider

Final Thoughts

Though they may seem like low-maintenance cats, the hairless skin of a Sphynx cat has more involved grooming needs than other cat breeds. Regular bathing and grooming can keep your Sphynx cat from developing acne and other skin conditions from the buildup of dirt and oils on its skin.

Featured Image Credit: Hepper

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