Elf cats are extremely playful and intelligent cat breeds. They are hairless cats with curled ears. The hairlessness feature and muscular body of this cat are similar to the Sphynx breed, whereas the curled backward ears are a characteristic of the American Curl cats. They are quite social and friendly cats that easily develop bonds with new individuals.
In this article, we will discuss all about Elf cat breed; their price, characteristics, food, health conditions, and much more.
Elf Cat History
Developed by the crossbreeding of Sphynx cat with American Curl, Elf is quite a young hybrid cat breed—they have been around for less than two decades. The cat breed was developed by Karen Nelson and Kristen Leedom in 2004. The idea was to develop a hairless cat, like Sphynx but with curled ears.
Currently, Elf cats are not considered an independent cat breed by famous cat associations; they are recognized as a variation of Sphynx by The International Cat Association (TICA).
Elf cats are tremendously playful and social cats. They need the attention of their owners and enjoy being in the company of a family. These babies don’t want to be left alone for a long time.
If you have other pets at home and want to bring in some new pets that can easily adjust to a multi-pet household, Elf is your best bet because they easily get along with other pets. If you have other pets at home and want all of them to get along with each other, you may find the following resources helpful.
Elf Cat Appearance
Elf cats are much like Sphynx cats in appearance (cheekbones, whisker pads, hairlessness), except the curled ears that they inherit from their other parent breed—the American Curl. They have lean, muscular bodies and round ribs that give them a volumetric chest.
The smooth nape of the Elf cat passes into a bit curved line of the back. Their tail is medium-sized, proportional to the body.
Another important feature of this cat breed is that it has a hairless body taken from the Sphynx cat. It is completely normal for two parents to produce hairless offspring, provided that each carries one copy of hairless genes.
Coat Colors and Patterns
This hybrid cat breed comes in all colors and patterns. Although hairlessness is the main feature of this breed, still a short fine layer of hair may be present on the ears, tail, nose, and feet. This cat comes in different coat colors ranging from white, golden, cream, red, tortoiseshell, Black, smoky-shaded, blue-cream, calico, to tabby.
Eye Color and Shape
Elf cats have walnut-shaped eyes, i.e., round at the bottom and oval at the top. The eye color of Elf cats ranges between blue and gold. Elf cats have sparse, short eyebrows and whiskers.
Pointed Elf cats tend to have blue eyes because of the mutation that interferes with the melanin production in this breed. That said, there is no breed standard for Elf cats.
If you are thinking of adopting an Elf cat, here are a few tips for you:
Keep Elf Cats Indoors
The hairless body of Elf cats is very sensitive to temperature—both cold and hot weather conditions. With no fur on their skin, it is hard for Elf cats to regulate their body temperature. This is the reason that they should be kept inside. Keeping them inside will save them from sunburn and health issues, like dehydration during summers and respiratory issues during winters.
Besides that, the skin of Elf cats is sensitive and prone to cuts and scratches.
Provide Due Attention
It is an extremely playful and friendly pet that needs a great deal of attention. Elf cats thrive on the attention of their loving owners. So, it is crucial that you offer ample interactive and playtime to your Elf cat.
Removal of Oily Secretions from the Body
As we discussed earlier, the hairless skin of the Elf cat is sensitive, requiring special care. This includes wiping down your kitty for the removal of oily secretions from the body. Compared to most other cat breeds, Elf cats require more frequent baths and wipe-downs.
But fret not. Unlike most cats that hate water, Elf cats love water, making their bathing sessions a fun activity for themselves and their owners.
Ways to Keep Your Elf Cat From Getting Bored
Keeping your Elf cat indoors all the time might be boring. So, here are some fun activities to spice things up for your Elf cat.
During playtime sessions, you can play the following games with your Elf cat.
- Hide & Seek
- Fetching balls or other toys
- Go on a walk
- Chasing catnip mice
- Food games
- Racing up and down stairs
Do Elf Cats Make Good Family Pets?
Elf cats make great family pets. They are highly sociable and friendly cats and quickly develop a strong bond with their owners. They thrive on the attention of their owners and are always looking to entertain them with their antics. They are playful and easily get along with children, which makes them an excellent choice for a family pet.
But given that they have sensitive skin, you should teach your children to be careful while playing with Elf cats.
Do Elf Cats Get Along With Other Pets?
Elf cats easily get along with other pets. They are friendly and confident; they don’t hesitate to extend their paw for friendship with other pets. However, to ensure that your pets don’t step off on the wrong foot, you should carefully handle the first interaction between Elf cats and other pets. With Elf cat, your dream of cat and dog living together could come true.
Nutrition And Diet
It is an interesting fact that hairless cats need a higher caloric intake than other cats. Actually, hairless cats have to rely on self-generated heat to keep the body warm, so they have a high metabolism rate to keep converting calories into heat. Cat nutritionists recommend feeding elf cats (or hairless cats) around 5% of their body weight on a daily basis. A normal range of weight for Elf cats is around 10 – 15 pounds. If the weight is 10 pounds, then you need to feed it 0.5lbs (225 grams) of food each day. If your cat seems to be gaining or losing weight, you should make changes in the diet accordingly.
Brand of Food
Elf cats have sensitive stomachs, so it’s usually preferable to feed them the food recommended by their breeder or veterinarian. You may want to check out with the breeder about the brand of food they were feeding the cat and continue feeding that food brand.
If you want to change the food brand, do it after consulting with your vet. Shifting from one brand to another should be done gradually. Start by adding a small quantity of the new food to the old food and see if your kitty accepts it or not, and then decide accordingly.
While choosing the food brand, you should always check the ingredients and make sure that it has a healthy protein source and that there are no artificial flavors or ingredients.
The sensitivity toward too high or too cold environments prevents pet parents from taking Elf cats outdoors. They are prone to sunburn, and their hairless coat can cause them to feel too cold. Therefore, its exposure to the outside environment must be limited. But to keep them indoors all the time is a bit tough. You must satisfy its needs by providing them with enriched surroundings.
To keep Elf cats pleased and engaged in an indoor environment, you must provide them with plenty of physical activities. You can add different things to your surroundings to keep them content and active. A few ways to enrich the environment are:
Elf cats meet the criteria of a perfect candidate for training sessions. Their playful and intelligent nature, along with the sociable attitude of this breed, are indicators that you can train them as per your choice.
Positive reinforcement works well in training Elf cats. With treats in one hand and a clicker in the other, you can easily train your Elf cat to behave like a model feline citizen.
Regular grooming is a must for Elf cats. If sebaceous secretions are not removed, Elf cats may develop skin problems. It is always a good idea to give them a bath (or sponge bath) when it is necessary. Most of the Elf cats can tolerate baths, and few really enjoy it. For bathing purposes, make sure that you are going to use shampoo designed specifically for cats.
Bathing once every two weeks is generally considered reasonable, and between that period, you can keep them clean by giving a sponge bath or wiping them with pet wipes. Never use baby wipes on cats.
Since Elf is a hairless breed, it may result in the accumulation of dirt in their ears and eyes more frequently than in other breeds. You can use pet wipes or cotton balls to clean these areas of your kitty.
Overall, Elf cats are considered healthy cats. But like other cats, they are prone to certain health issues such as sensitivity to temperature, skin issues (rash, cuts and injuries, sunburns, and skin cancer), ear infections, etc. Besides, some Elf cats are also reported to experience gum disease and Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy.
Since Elf is quite a new breed, some genetic health issues are yet to be determined. To get an idea about what health issues might prop up in Elf cats, one can take a look at the health issues in their parent breeds—Sphynx and American Curl.
How Much Do Elf Cats Cost?
Elf cats are very rare. So, if you want to get your hands on this rare cat breed, you will have to pay a hefty amount. An Elf kitten may cost you up to $2,000 or even more. It is not an uncommon thing for people to pay a deposit to join the waiting list to secure an Elf kitten. However, be careful not to pay deposits by relying on online resources. Always go for a reputable breeder to avoid scams.
The only major difference between an Elf and Sphynx cat breed is curled ears. So, if you are unable to find an Elf cat, you may want to check out Sphynx cats—they are readily available.