8 Hairless Cat Breeds That Make Amazing Pets (And How To Care For Them)
Hairless cats are the best ❤️
With their pink, wrinkly skin and slim build, hairless cats are definitely adorable in the most stunningly unique way. And if you’ve just adopted one, you may be wondering why they look the way they do.
All of the below cat breeds are hairless due to a genetic mutation. Some of these breeds actually grow super-short and fine coats that feel more like down than cat fur. Others are completely fur-free. But just because they’re hairless doesn’t mean that these cats are easier to groom and care for.
What are the most common breeds of hairless cats?
According to Drs. Robinson and Schechter, the hairless cat you adopted is most likely a sphynx cat since they’re super common. But your new cat may also be another hairless breed or offshoot of the sphynx, so take a good look at your cat and compare her to the hairless breeds below.
Sphynx cats are by far the most common hairless cat breed there is. They’re born with a variety of different markings that show where colored fur would grow if they were able to grow any. They have high cheekbones, broad foreheads, large ears and thicker paw pads.
Donskoy (or Don sphynx)
Though they may look like sphynxes, Donskoy, or Don sphynx, cats are actually not related. Their hairlessness is caused by a dominant gene mutation, whereas the sphynx’s is caused by a recessive gene mutation.
“Bambino” means “baby” in Italian, and bambino cats definitely have a baby-like appearance due to their short legs and baby-pink skin. Each bambino cat has a very unique (and large!) personality.
With their huge ears and distinct faces, Peterbalds are family-friendly cats who grow velvety-smooth coats.
Some Ukrainian Levkoy cats are completely hairless, while others have wiry, short fur that covers most of their body.
Named “elf” because of their uniquely shaped ears.
Minskin cats are yet another breed of hairless cats with short legs.
Perhaps the most unique-looking of all the hairless breeds is the Lykoi cat. Sometimes called “werewolf cats,” the Lykoi breed shares no connection with sphynx cats, yet have similarly large ears, broad heads and easygoing personalities. But these cats aren’t completely hairless. Rather, they have patches of hairlessness around their faces and wiry coats that give them their wolf-like appearance.
Are hairless cats hypoallergenic?
Yes and no — there actually is no such thing as a completely hypoallergenic cat because all cats produce the Fel D1 protein that causes allergic reactions in humans. But, with that being said, there are cat breeds that are less likely to cause severe allergic reactions due to their short coats (or no coats at all).
“No cats are 100 percent hypoallergenic, but hairless cats tend to be less allergenic than other breeds,” Dr. Robinson told The Dodo.
“All of these [hairless] breeds have similar hair types and coat lengths that minimize hair shedding and dander,” Dr. Schechter added. “Additionally, all of these breeds have skin more resistant to irritants such as fleas and allergens.”
How to take care of a hairless cat
Just because hairless cats lack fur doesn’t mean they don’t require grooming. In fact, you may find that your hairless cat needs more help maintaining herself in comparison to furred cats.
“Life with a hairless cat requires more upkeep than one might think,” Dr. Robinson said. “Just like people, cats produce oils in their skin. A hairless cat is not able to wick these oils away from the skin like a furred cat would be able to do.”
She continued, “As a result, your hairless cat will accumulate these oils on their skin. To help clean these oils off, hairless cats require weekly baths with warm water and over-the-counter hypoallergenic pet shampoo that is free of dyes and perfumes.”
Hairless cats also need to have pet-safe sunscreen applied if they spend their days basking in sunny windows and may need to wear sweaters during the winter months.
High-quality cat food that’s rich in protein, low in carbohydrates and packed with healthy omega-3 and -6 can help your cat maintain clear skin and reduce oil production, Dr. Robinson recommended.
“It is quite common for cats to develop digestive disorders at some point in their life,” Dr. Robinson said. “However, for some breeds, like sphynx cats, these digestive disorders are more common.” So work with your vet to make sure your hairless cat is getting the most out of her food.
Dr. Schechter also noted that hairless cat parents need to stay up to date with parasite and pest protection — even though they don’t have hair, they can still be at risk for parasite- and pest-related diseases. And he said it may also be helpful to find a groomer who specializes in taking care of hairless cats.
“If you're interested in owning one of these rare breeds, try finding a rescue organization or shelter specializing in hairless cats,” Dr. Schechter said.
Though they may require a bit more specialized care than cats with fur, hairless cats are family-friendly pets who will provide endless companionship, laughter and a whole lot of love.