What Is The Best Temperature For Sphynx Cats: Comfort Beyond Fur

what is the best temperature for sphynx cats - grey sphynx cat wrapped up in a grey blanket with just his head poking out

Last updated on November 5th, 2023 at 08:33 am

Sphynx cats, with their hairless bodies and wrinkly features, are one of the most distinctive breeds in the feline world.

These unique cats are known for their friendly and playful nature, but their lack of fur requires special care. The absence of a protective fur coat affects their ability to regulate body temperature, leading to the question “What is the best temperature for Sphynx cats?”

The most comfortable temperature range for Sphynx cats is typically between 68°F to 80°F (20°C to 27°C). Most Sphynx cats appreciate supplementary sources of warmth, such as heated pet beds or warm blankets where they can curl up and snuggle.

In this article, we’ll delve into understanding the signs of discomfort in a Sphynx due to extreme temperatures, and how to ensure your Sphynx cat is always comfortable, regardless of the weather.

Sphynx Cats Have Limited Ability To Regulate Body Temperature

Sphynx cats are less able to regulate their body temperature compared to other cats because they lack fur. Fur in cats acts as a natural insulator, helping to trap body heat during colder temperatures and providing some protection from excessive heat in warmer conditions.

Without fur, Sphynx cats have a greater loss of body heat, which makes them more susceptible to getting cold and experiencing hypothermia. Their hairlessness also hinders their ability to cool down efficiently in hot weather, leading to a higher risk of overheating and heatstroke.

Due to these challenges, Sphynx cats require a controlled environment with a stable ambient temperature to stay comfortable and healthy, as they rely more on external factors for temperature regulation compared to other cat breeds with fur.

Sphynx Cats Are Vulnerable To Extreme Temperatures

Not only do they become uncomfortable when room temperatures get too warm or too cold, but Sphynx cats are more vulnerable to extreme temperatures than other cats.

Their lack of hair means that changes in temperature affect them more quickly than it does cats with fur, which becomes downright dangerous in the outdoors.

  1. Cold Weather Vulnerability: Sphynx cats lose body heat more rapidly in colder temperatures due to the absence of fur. This can lead to discomfort, joint stiffness, and even hypothermia if they are exposed to chilly environments for an extended period.
  2. Hot Weather Vulnerability: In hot weather, Sphynx cats struggle to cool down naturally since they cannot rely on fur for temperature regulation. They are at a higher risk of overheating, heat exhaustion, and heatstroke, which can be life-threatening.
  3. Sun Sensitivity: Their hairless skin is sensitive to direct sunlight, leading to sunburn and skin damage. Prolonged exposure to harmful UV rays increases their susceptibility to skin-related issues and potentially skin cancer.

Due to these vulnerabilities, Sphynx cats require a controlled environment with a comfortable room temperature and protection from extreme weather conditions to ensure their well-being.

sphynx at wrapped up in blued blanket with head peaking out

How Do I Know When My Sphynx Cat Is Too Hot?

In my experience, a human is going to be uncomfortably hot long before a Sphynx cat gets too hot – they love the heat! But there can easily be too much of a good thing.

A nice patch of sunlight is a favorite lounging spot for many a cat, Sphynx included. However, direct, unfiltered sunlight is not good for them as their furless skin can quickly become sunburnt.

Just like any other cat, Sphynx cats can suffer other serious health issues from extreme heat, such as heat stress. Heat stress occurs when their body temperature rises significantly above normal levels.

Some of the things that cat owners should look for that indicate their cat is too hot include:

  1. Panting: One of the signs of heat stress in Sphynx cats is excessive panting. Panting is an attempt to regulate body temperature by expelling warm air and taking in cooler air. Cats do not often pant to cool themselves, as it is not very effective as compared to dogs. So if you see your cat panting then something is definitely wrong.
  2. Lethargy and Weakness: Sphynx cats may become lethargic and weak as their bodies try to cope with the heat. They might lose interest in normal activities, rest more often, or show reduced playfulness.
  3. Dehydration: In hot conditions, Sphynx cats may lose more water through panting and sweating (though cats sweat minimally). This can lead to dehydration if they do not have access to sufficient fresh water to replenish their fluid levels.
  4. Increased Heart Rate and Respiration: Their heart rate and respiration may increase as their bodies work to cool down. This elevated physiological response can put strain on their cardiovascular system.
  5. Difficulty Breathing: Sphynx cats may experience difficulty breathing in hot and humid environments. Their respiratory system can be stressed, leading to rapid and shallow breathing.
  6. Discomfort and Restlessness: They may show signs of restlessness and discomfort, seeking cooler spots in an attempt to escape the heat.
  7. Vomiting and Diarrhea: In severe cases of heat stress, Sphynx cats might experience vomiting or diarrhea, which can further deplete their body’s hydration and electrolyte balance.
  8. Heat Exhaustion and Heatstroke: If left untreated, heat stress can progress to heat exhaustion and eventually heatstroke. Heatstroke is a life-threatening condition that requires immediate medical attention. Signs include collapsing, seizures, and loss of consciousness.

When avoiding the heat entirely is not possible, providing your cat with access to fresh water and ensuring they have shaded and comfortable spots to rest can help protect them from the adverse effects of excessive heat.

If any signs of heat stress are observed, immediate measures should be taken to cool them down and seek veterinary assistance if necessary.

How Do I Know When My Sphynx Cat Is Too Cold?

Many Sphynx owners will tell you that their cat always acts like it is too cold – myself included!

My own Sphynx has access to several cat beds, our beds, and numerable blankets scattered throughout the house. However, 90% of her time is spent laying in her cat cave that has a pet-safe heating pad on at all times. Even in in the middle of a heat wave when the minimum room temperature never falls below 25C even with A/C, you can almost always find her there.

Most Sphynx cats like someplace to go that’s warm, even if the room temperature is perfectly comfortable for a person – or for cats with hair. Whether it is a heated pet bed, burrowing into a pile of blankets, or snuggling under their owner’s shirt against warm skin, that’s where Sphynx cats will go.

But if these cats are always acting like they are cold, how can you tell when it truly is too cold for them?

Here are some signs that can indicate your Sphynx cat is feeling cold:

  1. Seeking Warmth: If your Sphynx cat is trying to find warm spots in your home, such as curling up near heat sources like radiators, heaters, or under blankets, it may be a sign that they are feeling cold. This is pretty normal behavior for Sphynx cats.
  2. Shivering or Trembling: When cats are cold, they may shiver or tremble as a physiological response to generate body heat. This is not a normal response and your cat needs to be warmed up.
  3. Curling Up: If your Sphynx cat is curling up into a tight ball or tucking their paws close to their body, it could be an attempt to conserve body heat and protect themselves from the cold.
  4. Reduced Activity: Feeling cold can make your cat less active than usual. If they have found a spot that is even a little bit warmer, they are not going to want to leave it!
  5. Hiding: Feeling cold may prompt your Sphynx cat to seek out hiding spots, such as inside closets or under furniture, to stay away from drafts and cold air.
  6. Cold Ears and Paws: Touching your cat’s ears and paws can give you an indication of their body temperature. If they feel noticeably colder than usual, it may suggest that they are feeling chilly.
  7. Changes in Behavior: Cats often communicate through changes in behavior. If your Sphynx cat starts vocalizing more or acting unusually, it could be their way of expressing discomfort due to the cold.

Keep in mind that individual cats may have different temperature preferences, so it’s essential to observe your Sphynx cat’s behavior to understand their specific needs.

If you suspect your cat is too cold, ensure they have access to warm and comfortable areas in your home, provide cozy bedding or blankets, and consider using pet-safe heating pads or blankets to help them stay warm.

If your cat tolerates being dressed up, cat-safe, comfortable and flexible cat clothes may help your Sphynx stay warm as well.

white and grey sphynx cat wearing a light blue knitted sweater with yellow spots

Not Too Cold, Not Too Hot: What Is The Best Temperature For Sphynx Cats?

The range of comfortable temperatures for Sphynx cats varies due to individual preferences, genetic variations, and environmental adaptations.

The recommended range of comfortable temperatures for Sphynx cats is typically between 68°F to 80°F (20°C to 27°C).

However, individual cats’ preference may differ, based on the following factors:

  • Just like humans, cats have distinct temperature preferences, with some Sphynx cats feeling more comfortable in slightly cooler temperatures, while others prefer warmer environments.
  • Genetic variations may result in some Sphynx cats having patches of hair, influencing their ability to regulate body temperature and tolerance to colder conditions.
  • Adaptations to the environment play a role, as Sphynx cats living in colder climates may naturally adjust to lower temperatures.
  • Some Sphynx cats may enjoy wearing clothes, in which case they could probably tolerate lower temperatures when dressed.
  • Physiological differences, such as metabolism and circulation variations, also affect how Sphynx cats respond to temperature changes.
  • Seasonal variations also influence their comfort levels, with colder months necessitating warmer environments and summer prompting a preference for cooler spots.
  • Health and body condition impact their tolerance to temperature extremes. Underweight or ill cats might feel the cold more intensely than healthy ones.
  • Indoor living in temperature-controlled homes can contribute to Sphynx cats adapting to a narrower temperature range.

Sphynx owners are encouraged to provide a range of options within their home, such as heated pet beds, blankets, or cooler rooms to allow the cat to opportunity to select its own preferred environment.

Conclusion

Owning a Sphynx cat is a little more challenging than owning a haired cat, because Sphynx cats do not have the insulating benefits of a fur coat and need to be housed in a temperature controlled environment.

Sphynx cats prefer a temperature range between 68°F to 80°F (20°C to 27°C), although individual and genetic variations exist. They can adapt to different climates, and their behaviors can indicate their comfort levels.

It is important to be aware of the risks of either hot or cold extremes, and take the necessary steps to keep your Sphynx cat safe.

Do you want to learn more about this wonderful cat? Check out our complete guide Sphynx breed information and care guide here!

grey and white sphynx cat curled up tightly to sleep, on a grey blanket

Author

  • Dr. Wendy Wilkins, DVM, PhD

    Dr. Wendy Wilkins is an experienced veterinarian and epidemiologist with over 20 years of expertise. She holds a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) degree and a Doctorate in Epidemiology from the University of Saskatchewan. Throughout her career, Dr. Wilkins has excelled in clinical practice, academia, research, and regulatory veterinary medicine. She is a respected voice in knowledge dissemination, delivering factual information in a readable and understandable manner through articles, books, and public engagements.

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