Buyer Beware
Advice for pet owners staring their sphynx journey

A sphynx is a huge commitment, and you need to go in with your eyes wide open.  Here are some ideas to consider asking when speaking with a breeder.

 A cattery may be closed (not allow visitors) or open( allows visitors).  There are many reasons for both, and either is acceptable.  If the cattery is a closed cattery then it may be worthwhile to consider asking for photos and/or videos.

  1. Ask to see the parents.  Note that this will not always be possible as the breeder may have used an outside stud.  They should have a photo at least if the stud doesn’t live with them.  If the breeder is an open cattery and owns the stud, you may not be able to see the boy as they tend to like routine in their lives. 

  2. Note the conditions of the cattery – again in person or ask for photographs/videos.  Sphynx are very social cats and love to be around people, but some breeders do keep them in caged cattery conditions.  Entire males are generally not able to be kept housed with the girls, due to their personal hygiene (spraying) or other behavioural matters – usually entire males issues, not psychological issues. 

  3. Find out if the parents are shown competitively – this can be an indication on whether a breeder is committed to improve their breed and compare to other lines.  Be aware that this is not always practical for breeders to show their cats, depending on their registering body, and location etc.  Breeders cannot show solely overseas registered cats if the cats are resident here, and some registering bodies don’t recognise each other and will not allow show entries from other bodies or particular breeders.

    • If you want to show your cat/kitten ask the breeder if this is possible and with which registering bodies as due to the differences between registering bodies, this is not automatic.

    • Ensure that the parents are registered with a recognised Australian registering body, not overseas such as TICA, CFA, SACC or unrecognised Australian body such as AICC.  This will affect ability to show and may affect investigation of any complaint matters.

  4. Request to see the pedigrees of both parents.  Look at the pedigrees to determine any inbreeding/line breeding and if there is, ask the breeder to explain, along with any advantages and risks. 

  5. Make yourself familiar with genetic diseases (HCM) and any possible congenital defects that may occur in a breed – this is important in sphynx particularly when there is outcrossing to Devon Rex.

  6. Ask the breeder what they test their cats for and to see the results, as well as if you will be provided with a copy of applicable results if you purchase a kitten..  Please note how the information is verified – are samples for testing collected by vets, for example.  It is common that breeders test for:.​​

    • HCM annually by cardiologist,

      • Ask the HCM scanning breeder if they submit their scan results to a public database.  Many breeders review these databases to see where the incidents of HCM are popping up, and hopefully a feline research organisation will use these for research into the cause and inheritance of HCM.

      • Research HCM, its causes and why sphynx should be tested.  Unfortunately many breeders will tell you it is pointless to test as the results may change the following day.  Whilst true to some degree, it is usually these breeders who don’t apply the same principle when conducting their own personal health testing.

    • HCM DNA Test

      • Ask the HCM scanning breeder if they submit their scan results to a public database.  Many breeders review these databases to see where the incidents of HCM are popping up, and hopefully a feline research organisation will use these for research into the cause and inheritance of HCM.

      • Research HCM, its causes and why sphynx should be tested.  Unfortunately many breeders will tell you it is pointless to test as the results may change the following day.  Whilst true to some degree, it is usually these breeders who don’t apply the same principle when conducting their own personal health testing.

    • FIV and FeLV – particularly if the breeder uses or provides outside breeding services. 

    • DNA to identify diseases and or traits in their breeding cats

    • CMS – Congenital Myasthic Syndrome – this is a disease that was formally known as “spasticity”, and was introduced into sphynx through the outcrossing to Devon Rex.  Once breeding cats are tested negative for this there is no need to continue testing unless new lines are introduced. Be aware that there is only one DNA Testing facility that has the licence to conduct this test. 

    • Devon Rex/ Sphynx Hairless gene – this is more for breeding than health.  All sphynx have historical outcrossing the Devon Rex as this is how the breed was initially developed.  This test is used to identify whether the cat has a Devon Rex hair gene (curly hair) and/or known sphynx hairless gene.  Be aware that this test only tests for known genes and only one DNA Testing facility has the licence to conduct this test.

    • Blood Typing – verifies the blood type of the cat and is important for breeders as there can be blood type incompatibility in young kittens, which can be fatal.  Usually only done for breeding cats and can be done by vet, specialist or dna laboratory

  7. Ask the breeder if they outcross their lines to another breed, or if there is any outcrossing in their pedigrees.  If the breeder outcrosses, ensure that they have an experimental licence through their registering body.  Ask what breed they outcross with and verify whether there are any health issues about that breed that you should know.  Please note that members of this site do not advocate the cross breeding of sphynx to create cross breeds such as banmbaino's, elfs and dwelfs, we love sphynx just the way they are.

  8. Make sure you are aware of the kittens vaccinations, live/ killed, F3, F4 or F5.  Feel comfortable asking the breeder what they vaccinate for and why.

  9. Make sure that your kitten is microchipped – it is illegal for breeders to sell any cat or kitten in Australia without a microchip – this law does not apply to NZ.  If you are buying from a non-Australian breeder, the cat will have to be microchipped to come into Australia, but the microchip  will not be registered in Australia and you will need to register it with one of the microchip registries.

  10. Ask how long the breeder has been breeding.  Remember that every breeder has to start somewhere, and if a breeder you are talking to is a new breeder, this is not a bad thing.  Just information to be aware of.

  11. Ask the breeder why they breed and what their intention is for the future of the breed.  Again, most will have different answers, but this may help a buyer to learn more about a breeder.

  12. Have a look at the Code of Ethics published on the Breeders registering body website.  You will see what they have to comply with, such as age of kittens, mandatory desexing and vaccinations etc

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