Sphynx cats are our fun-loving, friendly, active, and obviously “naked” feline friend. If you own one, then you are probably familiar with the fuss that your not-so-furry friend causes inside your home. Which is why you might probably be asking if they can go outside to play. Can this be done?
Sphynx cats are indoor cats but they can also go outside. However, there are some precautions to take as they are prone to getting sunburns. Also, there is always the risk of them picking up viruses and bacteria. But with safeguards, your sphynx can surely spend some time outside.
In this article, we are going to discuss some tips and tricks on how to prepare your sphynx in their adventure to the outside world. More than that, we are also going to talk about why you need to go through these precautions. So keep on reading!
4 Facts About Sphynx Cats Which Are Not Ideal For Going Outdoors
In order for you to fully understand the importance of monitoring and properly preparing your sphynx when you are going to take him outdoors, you should know his physiology and other conditions to ensure safety.
The following is not an exhaustive list, rather these are the major concerns.
1. Sphynx Cats Are “Naked”
The sphynx is a hairless breed but that does not necessarily mean that they are completely bald. In fact, the bridge of their noses has a bit of fur. As for their paws, you might notice that there are some fine but short hairs. The same goes for their tail and the outer edges of their ears.
For the rest of the body of your Sphynx cat, it is either covered in a soft and peachy fuzz, or it is completely hairless. This is why they feel like suede when they are petted. So why should this be a concern?
Unlike other cats, they do not have thick hair that can protect their skin against several elements. Even though their temperature is generally warmer than other cats, they still get cold faster. The same goes for feeling too hot.
This is the reason why they love to cuddle against you or hide in their igloo during colder months. They also tend to hang out near a window where they are exposed to lots of sunlight. The latter becomes a problem when they are overexposed to sunlight as they might get a sunburn.
A lot of sphynx cat owners have seen this happen where their cat got sunburned on one side as they fell asleep near a window. Imagine this when it is time for them to go outside where there is too much sunlight, especially when it is summer.
Your sphynx loves heat too much that he might just end up taking a nap directly underneath the heat of the sun. Next thing you know, voila! you have a barbecued sphynx.
2. Sphynx Cats Have Oily And Sensitive Skin
This is in connection with them being hairless. As there is no ample hair to protect their body, their skin excretes more oil than other cats. Therefore, it is extremely easy for pretty much anything to stick to your cat's body. Here is the kicker: they can also get blackheads!
This happens when dirt gets into the crevices of their skin and just burrows there. Blackheads can develop in the neck, ear, and even paws. So when he goes outside, imagine how much will stick to his skin from grass, dirt, soil, and much worse, insects.
When these blackheads are left untreated, it can be serious and you need to seek medical attention. In line with this, as there is excessive oil production, their ear wax can build up quickly. Also, as there are no hairs that can filter out dirt, it is extremely easy for dirt to get into their ears.
So when your sphynx rolls around your backyard, we are 100% sure that his ears are filled to the brim with dirt. When this wax and dirt build-up is not taken care of, your sphynx might get serious ear infections.
3. Sphynx Cats Are Gluttons
Sphynx cats have a faster metabolism compared to other cats. This is the reason why you have to feed them constantly. It is a problem especially when you let them outside and they feel like having a snack.
Of course, they are not like tiger sharks that will practically eat anything, but if they find something that they fancy eating, they will surely eat it whether it comes with grass, soil, or what have you.
This can be very dangerous as what they have eaten might contain bacteria that are harmful to them. This results in food poisoning. Further, they might ingest something that cannot be digested or swallowed properly.
Therefore, he might choke on it or develop digestive system issues that will, later on, require major surgery.
4. Sphynx Cats Are Sociable
We are all familiar with the charms of sphynx cats. However adorable this can be to humans and other pets, this can pose a serious threat when he is taken outside. The reason behind this is that he might come into contact with other cats or even dogs and end up going away with them.
We have nothing against stray cats and dogs (they deserve much love and attention) but there is no telling if they are healthy or not. Therefore, if your cat plays with them, the disease might transfer.
We are not only talking about skin allergies, but also serious diseases like feline leukemia virus, immunodeficiency virus, distemper, and many more.
Moreover, you should not only be concerned with diseases that can be transferred to your cat but also with the fact that he might just run off and he does not have any idea on how to go back (yes, that is spoiled indoor cat syndrome).
Further, as they are very active they tend to force other cats and dogs to play with them. If he happens to chance upon a bigger dog that is not used to playing with cats, they might end up fighting.
Another concern is the unplanned pregnancies. If your sphynx cat is not spayed or neutered and you left her alone outside, chances are, there is a tomcat looking for a mate. You might just be surprised that you will be housing a sphynx army soon.
What To Do When Your Sphynx Cat Goes Outside
Now that you are familiar with the major concerns that you should be on the lookout for in the event that you want your sphynx cat to go outside, let us now go over some tips and tricks to ensure that they stay happy and healthy while enjoying the wonders of the outside world.
Consider The Outside Area
First off, you should take a look at the place where you want to set free your sphynx cat. Is it an enclosed area? Your front yard? Your building's garden? A parking lot? The community park?
It is recommended that you pick a relatively small area that is not exposed to stray animals. Further, it is best if the open area is enclosed, so the risk of your cat going off on an adventure of his own is minimized.
On the other hand, if it is a public area, you should also take note of the pets who frequently visit it. Are they mostly dogs or cats? Is there a lot of foot traffic?
These are the questions that you should ask as the rule of thumb is, the lesser the foot traffic or pets present, the better the environment it is for your cat.
Prepare The Area
If you have already decided where you will let your sphynx cat run free, it is now time to prepare the area. If it is your backyard or front lawn, it is best to not let your cat out when the grass is freshly cut. The reason is that the blunt cut grass might cut the sensitive body of your cat.
Also, make sure that you dispose of anything that your cat might eat. You should also put away stones and rocks that have sharp edges. This is not only for preventing bodily harm, but also for preventing any accidental ingestion.
Lastly, take another cat bed outside. Make sure that this bed was previously used by your sphynx so that he can associate it as his “safe space.” Doing so will prevent him from lying on the ground in the event that he wants to lounge under the sun.
Further, you should also place food and water outside so that in the event that he feels hungry, he will not look around for something to eat. Instead, he will just eat or drink from what is familiar to him.
Apply Sunscreen And Dress Appropriately
Keep in mind that you should never apply human sunscreen on your Sphynx cat. There is a designated sunscreen for them and it is readily available in the vet. Do not forget to apply sunscreen especially if he is going out during summer.
On the other hand, if it is the colder months, make sure that he is dressed appropriately. So put a sweater or a T-shirt on him, so he can have unlimited fun outside, without turning into a sphynx popsicle.
Closely Monitor Your Sphynx Cat
This goes to show that you should never leave your sphynx cat alone while he is outside. With that said, think of the outside time of your Sphynx cat as your outside or “me-time” as well. So prepare a hot or cold beverage while monitoring your cat.
This is done to ensure that your cat will not get into any trouble like eating something or getting caught in tricky places. Also, you also get to monitor how long they are exposed to the sun or the cold.
When it is warm outside, it is okay for your cat to stay out for 30 minutes to an hour. When it is winter, 15 to 30 minutes will do.
My sphynx cat has a sunburn, what should I do? Apply a cold compress to the affected area. There are over the counter sprays for pets that you can use to treat it. If it is already starting to dry the skin, you can apply aloe vera or witch hazel to soothe it. Most importantly, rush him to the vet.
Can sphynx cats be left alone? They can be left alone indoors as they quickly adapt to other pets. However, if they do not have a playmate, they easily get bored and this results in separation anxiety. Also, you should never leave a sphynx cat alone when he is outdoors.