From their unique, hairless appearance to their thick paw pads and wedge-shaped heads, sphynx cats are a truly unique breed and for good reason. However, sphynx cats are also one of the few cat breeds that have a particularly sensitive digestive system.
Not only do they require a carefully planned diet to maintain their muscular bodies and their suede-like skin, but they also need an ideal diet to maintain a healthy digestive system and improve their overall lifespan.
That being said, we are going to discuss why sphynx cats have more sensitive stomachs and how you should maintain a healthy diet for your sphynx cat.
Sphynx Cats & Their Metabolism
In general, Sphynx cats are quite a healthy breed. However, they have some interesting health characteristics that further lend to their unique personality.
First and foremost, sphynx cats have a high metabolism. Whereas some cat breeds only have a high metabolism as a kitten, Sphynx cats have a high metabolism all throughout their life.
As a result, which you will see later on, this means that sphynx cats require a higher frequency diet. In other words, sphynx cats have to eat more often throughout the day.
Their higher frequency is actually key to keeping sphynx cats warm since they do not have the traditional layer of fur on their bodies.
This also makes sphynx cats quite warm to the touch and makes them extra cuddly. It is not beyond a sphynx cat to want to snuggle under the covers with you. However, in addition to the sphynx cat’s higher metabolism, they also have a very sensitive stomach.
Different Types of Stomach Conditions
It is quite common for cats to develop a digestive disorder at some point in their life. However, for some breeds, like sphynx cats, these digestive disorders can become long-term or permanent problems.
As a result, digestive disorders can lead to dehydration, malnutrition, and electrolyte imbalances. Again, these conditions can be much worse in sphynx cats.
There is a number of ways to exacerbate digestive disorders. Causes can range from anything between simply eating something other than cat food to food sensitivities, intolerances, or even infections.
Here are a range of gastrointestinal issues that sphynx cats may be prone to:
Colitis is a condition that typically seen in cats under the age of 5. Colitis involves inflammation in the large intestine and the painful and frequent passing of feces.
Typically, you will see mucus or blood in the feces. This condition is often caused by tumors, polyps, food allergies or intolerances, a sudden change in diet, ingesting foreign objects, and more.
This condition is usually caused by dehydration, swallowing foreign objects, low fiber consumption, large bowel disorders, metabolic disorders and more.
This condition involves short-term inflammation of the digestive tract. This can be a result of ingesting spoiled or expired food, food allergies, parasites, eating poisonous or toxic plants, and more.
Frequent, watery passing of feces can be a result of infections, stress, drastic and sudden diet changes, eating spoiled food or eating table scraps, organ dysfunction and more.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
This syndrome is characterized by chronic discomfort and inflammation in a cat’s bowels, but it is not technically considered a gastrointestinal disease. Some potential causes of IBS are food intolerances and allergies.
Here are some key symptoms of digestive or stomach issues:
Again, digestive conditions or diseases can be more debilitating for sphynx cats than for other cat breeds.
In that way, it can also become a permanent problem for sphynx cats faster than other cats. As such, it is important to keep a close eye on your cat’s digestive habits and diet.
Best Types of Food for Your Sphynx Cats
Sphynx cats are often known as the “Buddha cat” on account of their characteristic full, round bellies or “potbellies”. Their potbellies are a great indication that sphynx cats are huge food lovers and will definitely eat anything that is offered to them.
However, that does not mean you should just feed your Sphynx cat any type of food. It is vital that you pay attention to the specific nutrition needs of your sphynx cat.
Key Ingredients to Look For
In general, Sphynx cats require a diet that ideally is:
- Low in carbohydrates
- Moderate in fats
- High in protein
- Full of authentic meat products
- Free of any and all fillers, such as starches, wheat, and corn
- Full of whole foods, vitamins, and nutrients
Sphynx cats require similar diets with some modifications or specifications. Sphynx cats can also consume wet or dry food, but both have their own set of advantages and disadvantages.
In general, it is important to maintain a diet where your sphynx cat will feel consistently satisfied.
Wet Food vs. Dry Food vs. Raw Food
According to experts, if you feed a sphynx cat a largely wet or canned food diet, it is important to look at the ingredients list. First, sphynx cats need a meal that is high in protein.
Some canned foods can include artificial sweeteners and low-quality meat. If the meat or protein is not listed high up on the ingredients list, you should consider switching canned food brands.
A high protein diet is essential to caring for a sphynx cat. Not only is it something they thoroughly enjoy, but it will also keep them much fuller for longer. Also, a wet canned food diet is ideal for cats who struggle with chewing.
A sphynx cat owner can also feed their sphynx cat a dry cat food diet. Dry cat food has the great advantage of helping keep your cat’s teeth and gums clean. On the other hand, dry cat food requires the addition of more fresh drinking water than wet cat food.
There are specific food brands out there that declare they are specifically for sphynx cats. However, you have to keep in mind that some of these “specialty” foods still use fillers and by-products, which is the last thing you want to feed your cat.
One of the best options you can go for is a raw, whole foods diet. This plan might involve rotating a raw diet of raw fish, such as sardines and tuna, with your wet or dry cat food.
One form of this is known as the BARF diet, which stands for Biologically Appropriate Raw Food. Within this diet, you would feed your Sphynx cat raw chicken, raw rabbit, raw liver, raw fish, and more.
Types of Food to Avoid for Your Sphynx Cats
There are a number of food items and preparation choices that sphynx cat owners should avoid. First, leftovers and human food preparations can be harmful to your Sphynx cat’s gut health.
Secondly, sphynx cats should be fed food at room temperature. Refrigerated foods or food, in general, has a tendency to irritate the stomachs of sphynx cats.
Due to their sensitive stomachs, sphynx cats cannot tolerate cold foods, which may result in vomiting. Additionally, there are a number of ingredients that should be avoided when picking out your cat’s food.
Chemicals & Preservatives
Preservatives are one ingredient you want to avoid. Preservatives might be effective in keeping your cat’s food fresh and tasty, but they are suspected of potentially containing dangerous carcinogens.
Take note of the fact that preservatives are often present in the fats and oils of cat food. This is why it is vital that you focus on finding a high protein diet plan for your sphynx cat.
Preservatives can cause major damage to a regular cat’s liver and kidneys. However, one can only imagine the damage it may cause to a sphynx cat’s much more sensitive stomach.
Here is a short list of the primary preservatives that you should definitely watch out for:
- BHT or Butylated Hydroxytoluene
- BHA or Butylated Hydroxyanisole
Additives & By-Products
We briefly mentioned it above, but as much as possible, you ideally want to feed your Sphynx cat top-quality meat products. Granted, we cannot always where the meat comes from. Regardless, by-products, in general, contain less protein than real meat.
Moreover, meat meal is also a by-product worth avoiding. Produced using a process called rendering, meat meal is low quality in nutrition because the rendering process actually leaches the nutrients and enzymes from the meat.
Lastly, carbohydrate fillers are not good for sphynx cats or any cats really. Fillers, like wheat gluten, have a tendency to be cheaper than whole foods and meats, but the nutritional value is staggeringly low.
How Often Should You Feed Your Sphynx Cats in Order Avoid Digestive Issues?
One of the key characteristics we have mentioned about sphynx cats is their high metabolism.
Compared to other breeds of cats, they have a higher metabolism for the purpose of keeping their “hairless” bodies warm. However, the higher metabolism also calls for a different feeding schedule for a sphynx cat.
Ideally, sphynx cats should eat several times a day at regular intervals. They should also be fed smaller portions.
This is important because smaller portions will not irritate their sensitive stomachs, and the smaller portions will ensure that your cat will not get bored with their food.
A common choice by many sphynx cat owners is to make use of automatic cat feeders. An automatic food dispenser will ensure that your Sphynx cat has a constant food supply so they can eat whenever they want to throughout the day.
Additionally, if you plan to change your Sphynx cat’s food, transition the food gradually. Drastic changes in your Sphynx cat’s diet can greatly impact your cat’s digestive health.
Sphynx Cat Diets by Age Groups
Another important thing to note about sphynx cats is that the type of diet they require changes as they age. Your sphynx kitten’s stomach requires different nutritional needs than an adult sphynx cat.
When you feed your Sphynx kitten, it is important to prioritize their digestive health early on. Especially as a kitten, your Sphynx cat will be growing at a rapid pace.
Moreover, on account of their high metabolism, sphynx kittens may eat at least 3 to 4 meals. That being said, sphynx kittens will need foods that are high protein, high in vitamins and nutrients and amino acids because they will burn through it quickly.
By ensuring your Sphynx kitten has a top-notch diet, your sphynx kitten’s growth will be on track. Additionally, their gut health will be much better as they age, and they will maintain that healthy kitten energy.
Final Treatment Tips & Reminders
Your Sphynx cat’s dietary habits play a huge part in their overall stomach health. If you keep in mind the information we have shared above, you are on the right track to minding your Sphynx cat’s sensitive stomach.
That being said, here are a few more tips and reminders to keep in mind when taking care of your Sphynx cat’s sensitive stomach:
- Always pick foods that are highly soluble or highly digestible.
- Always ensure your cat is ingesting enough fluids.
- Always consult your veterinarian on food and diet changes.
If you do visit your veterinarian concerning your Sphynx cat’s stomach health, here are some questions you may consider asking:
- What human foods can negatively impact your cat’s health?
- Would you recommend prescription foods?
- How quickly should I see a change in my cat’s digestive health?
It is fair to say that Sphynx cats are anything but average. Not only do they have one of the most stunning appearances, but they also have a unique health profile.
Many people assume that because a sphynx cat is hairless, they are largely low maintenance. However, that is far from the truth. Although Sphynx cats are great companions, they come with their own list of responsibilities.
Their digestive health, in particular, is one of their key characteristics and should be handled with care. We hope this article was helpful in teaching you the ways you can improve your cat’s digestion.