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 or a breeding girl.
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 and if you feel the
need, 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 her cats.
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
Good breeders will undertake a series of health tests on their breeding cats,
to include at the very least, FeLV/FIV screening and most importantly heart
screening, which should be carried out at least once a year. Breeders may
also choose to test for flu viruses, PKD, and blood type analysis.
Breeders should be happy to discuss their testing protocol with prospective
purchasers and provide supporting paperwork where applicable.
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
Kittens should be alert, playful and well grown with no sign of lethargy,
diarrhea 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 vaccines are not recommended; indeed should you wish to
show your Sphynx kitten, homeopathic vaccinations will not be accepted by the
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
No breeder should slate 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
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 Yahoo 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
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 behavior 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
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.