How do I choose a Sphynx Breeder.
We are often asked “how do I know who is a ‘good’ breeder?”

To answer this question, it will depend upon what you are looking for,  as someone wanting a pet will need different things to someone seeking a show kitten, a breeding girl or a potential Stud boy.

The following should apply regardless – always insist on these things, whether you are choosing for pet/show or breeding:

  • Always visit a breeder to decide for yourself 
  • never hesitate to ask the breeder for references from other kitten buyers that they have dealt with
  • You should be able to visit the premises of your chosen breeder and interact with their cats and kittens in an informal relaxed manner, with plenty of time to assess mother and babies and to get to know both the breeder and the cats. 
  • Ask to see HCM scans of the parents of the kittens
  • The breeder should be happy to discuss their testingand breeding protocol with prospective purchasers and provide
    supporting paperwork where applicable

Some breeders may cage mum and babies for the first three weeks, until the babies are using a litter tray reliably; however, after that age a Sphynx kitten should not be caged 24/7, as this may have a deleterious effect on it's social development.  Without exception, kittens should always be reared in the breeder's home.

You should always insist on seeing mum and littermates and wherever possible the sire (dad) of the kittens. Check to see that they are bright, healthy, sociable and properly cared for. Look to see that all the cats have clear eyes and noses, no discharge or sneezing and that their litter trays are clean with normal looking faeces.

Kittens should be alert, playful and well grown with no sign of lethargy, diarrhoea or sickness. Be very wary if you are put in a room and one kitten is brought in on it’s own – it could be that the other littermates and /or mum are sick.

Kittens should not be allowed to go to their new homes until they have had their core vaccinations (administered by a vet) and preferably a week of observation following the jabs, to make sure that they have no adverse reactions to them.  This will mean that the earliest you will be allowed to take a kitten home will be thirteen weeks old. If your kitten is being neutered or spayed then this will delay adoption by another three or four weeks.  Homeopathic vaccinations in place of conventional vaccinations are not recommended; indeed should you wish to show your Sphynx kitten, homeopathic vaccinations will not be accepted by the GCCF.

Check to see that the kittens are well socialized – play with them using a non-threatening toy such as a feather stick or a ribbon. After a period of normal caution towards strangers, they should relax into a friendly, active and playful attitude. Many perfectly friendly kittens would rather play than be held, however after becoming acquainted with you, the kitten should let you hold it for a short period of time.

It will be perfectly normal for the breeder to ask you lots of questions too. They are not trying to embarrass or intimidate you, they are just trying to ascertain whether their kitten will have the kind of home they want (remember, to a responsible breeder a kitten is not a commodity, it is an individual to be loved).  A responsible breeder strives to find the best possible home for each kitten.

No breeder should criticise the efforts or cats of another breeder in order to gain a sale.  If a breeder is genuine, decent and able, then their merits as a breeder will be clear for all to see. If a breeder has to rely on getting custom by denigrating other breeders, then there is likely to be something amiss with the breeder who is happily destroying the reputations of others.

How do I pick a show quality kitten?
Buying a show kitten is a very different matter. If you are keen to show your kitten/cat then you need to find a breeder who fully understands the written standard for the show association that you wish to show with, and who can demonstrate the application of this knowledge in relation to the kittens you are looking at.

It is a good idea to visit shows yourself, so that you can begin to learn what is required. Chat to the Sphynx exhibitors at the show and see if you establish a natural affinity towards any of them. It is extremely pleasant to buy a kitten from a breeder whom you will eventually become friends with, so it is worth spending a little extra time choosing the right person for you. The breeder that you choose should be willing to help you, happy to answer all your queries, pick up the phone to talk you through your entry forms and tutor you in the art of grooming your baby for the show – in short, you will need to like each other!

When assessing your kitten, take along a copy of the standard of points and ask your breeder to talk you through it in relation to the kitten you would like or are being offered. Check your kittens bite to see that it is not overshot or undershot, check along the full length of the tail to make sure that there are no tail faults – these would manifest as bumps, kinks or lumps at any stage along the tail.  Tail faults usually lead to disqualification when found on a show cat. Carefully check the kittens tummy to make sure that there is no hernia, as apart from being an issue health wise, this could also prevent the kitten from being shown. Remember that even with the best will in the world, your breeder cannot guarantee the show success of the kitten that you get. You should expect your breeder to talk you through all the good points of your kitten, to explain any potential show weaknesses and to guide you as to how these may worsen or improve. Most importantly though, you should be prepared to love your kitten come what may – remember that at the end of every show, you are always taking home the best cat – YOURS!!

How do I pick a breeding quality kitten?

Breeding Sphynx is not something to be undertaken lightly. If you intend to breed properly it will be hard work, very time consuming and expensive! There is much to learn and your chosen breeder should be able to discuss genetics, health issues, outcrossing, registration and paperwork issues and to guide you in showing your foundation cats. Most breeders will want to get to know someone before they will part with a baby for breeding, so it is usually necessary to develop a relationship with a breeder before you can adopt a queen to breed from.  Most breeders will require you to start with a show neuter, as this is an excellent way for you to learn as much as possible about the Sphynx.

There are a number of resources available to guide you in the process of your breeding, including databases that list HCM affected cats, spasticity carriers and indeed pedigrees of Sphynx worldwide. Additionally there are facebook groupsYahoo groups, breeders groups, and Sphynx Clubs such as the SCA,  to offer support and guidance. Your breeder should be able to point you in the right direction to find, use and understand these resources.

Your foundation cats should ideally be from the best possible lines and be as close to the standard as you can find, so once more it can be an advantage to buy from a breeder that has knowledge of showing Sphynx as they will be able to help you select the right cat. Be prepared to wait! Not easy I know as once you have the Sphynx bug it is all too easy to want to have your cat NOW!

However a good breeder will tell you that the chances of the right kitten turning up in the next litter will be slim and you might have to wait a while to get the quality that you will want to start your breeding program with. Whilst you are waiting, we recommend that you start researching Sphynx pedigrees (there are several on line pedigree databases) so that you are able to identify and avoid HCM affected lines.

You will need a large amount of money behind you to take up this hobby! A few thousand pounds will be necessary to cover the initial purchase of your foundation cat, HCM scanning, FELV & FIV testing, health scanning, stud fees, potential vets fees for caesarian or birthing difficulties, premium food for mum and then babies, litter, toys, equipment, kitten pen, vaccinations, spaying and neutering costs and registrations with governing bodies. This is without the substantial cost of showing your cat should you choose to do so! It is also worth pointing out that you will not make any money breeding Sphynx!!  More likely, you will be out of pocket.

What aftercare can I expect once I have my kitten?

Choosing a Sphynx cat or kitten and taking it home is hopefully an enjoyable process that will make a positive difference to life as you knew it! You will have a new family member that will delight and amaze you and will steal your heart in a way you never thought possible.

This is just the beginning though – having chosen your cat/kitten and pampered it with toys, beds and treats, you now have (hopefully) many years of companionship and love ahead of you. This page is designed to assist you in the event of any problems with the health, behaviour or homing of your Sphynx cat/kitten and to try to make it easier if things go wrong.

Ideally when you set out to choose your new cat/kitten you also chose your breeder because you were happy with the way they dealt with you, the home that your cat came from and the support they offered following your collection of your new baby. If this is so, it is always important to contact your breeder as your first port of call. Your breeder will know all about your cat/kitten, it’s personality, it’s behaviour and the health of it’s parents and siblings and will probably be able to help you best.

Almost without exception breeders will be really glad that you are coming back to them for help – you will not be seen as a nuisance or turned away without assistance, they will want what is best for your cat/kitten and will do their best to help you. Remember that breeders all know that people everyday experience changes in circumstances, or accidents or mistakes that can cause illness or problems with the cat/kitten that they have entrusted to you – never be afraid to contact them in the first instance as it is very rare for a reputable breeder not to want to help.

In the event that you have chosen a breeder that is not prepared to help you or if you feel unable to contact them for whatever reason, please contact a member of the Sphynx Cat Association who will do their utmost to help you.

It is important that you recognise that we are aware that people can have problems with cats/kittens for a multitude of reasons – from relationship problems causing a need to rehome pets, to unfortunate accidents like letting a cat eat a poisonous plant or a child accidentally letting a cat outside resulting in injury or unwanted pregnancy! All of these are situations that people can find themselves needing help with and all of us understand that they happen. It is for this reason that all enquiries will be in the strictest confidence and will be received in a positive friendly manner - after all, all we want to do, is to be able to help you.