The Bambino cat is a mix between the Sphynx and Munchkin breeds.
This mixed breed is either a completely hairless cat, or has light, downy fur. It also often has the shorter legs of the Munchkin cat. This gives it a very distinctive look, but unfortunately comes with some serious health concerns.
Bambino kittens are social and friendly, like their parent breeds. But they won’t be able to jump as high as other breeds, and their legs will tire easily.
Let’s take a look at the Munchkin Sphynx cat in a little more detail.
What’s In This Guide
Bambino Cat FAQs
Take a look at our readers’ most popular and frequently asked questions about this mixed breed.
Bambino Cat Breed Review: Contents
- Where do Bambino cats come from?
- Can they go outside?
- How big are Bambino cats?
- Appearance and colors
- Health problems
- Bambino lifespan
- General care
- Are Bambino cats good pets?
- Bambino cat breeders
- Raising a Bambino kitten
- Rescuing a Bambino cat
What is a Bambino Cat?
It seems like a new cat breed pops up every few weeks nowadays. The current flavor of the month is a curious hairless dwarf called the Bambino.
By combining the hairless skin of the Sphynx and the short legs of the munchkin, breeders have obtained some unique results. To some of us this cat might look odd, and to others it’s perfect.
That’s kind of the point. The popularity of these weird breeds seems to be fueled in equal parts by adoration and intrigue.
The jarring aesthetic of the Bambino bald cat was definitely the goal of these efforts. But what else is going on behind the scenes with this unusual kitty?
Unfortunately, breeding for a distinctive look can often lead to dire health implications.
Bambino Cat History
Bambino means baby in Italian, and it’s not difficult to see where this name came from.
The Bambino cat’s hairless form almost resembles a newborn, as some are completely bald. If they do have it, bambinos hair is usually a very light, downy fluff.
The Bambino cat is the result of some fairly recent cross breeding. To learn a little more about the Munchkin Sphynx cat, we can take a look at its parents.
The Sphynx breed started when a hairless kitten was born in Toronto, 1966. The lack of fur was caused by a genetic mutation.
This cat, as well as other hairless cats, were bred with normally-coated cats to produce the Sphynx breed.
In an attempt to avoid inbreeding, breeders mixed a large variety of hairless and haired cats. And this created the Sphynx breed we can see today!
So what about the Bambino’s other parent?
Munchkin cats get their smaller stature from a genetic mutation called pseudoachondroplasia, or dwarfism.
Dwarf cats have been around since the 1930s. They were less common during the Second World War, but started to be seen again across the world in the 1950s.
The Munchkin as we know it today comes from a cat, in 1980s America, that had very short legs.
The breed was accepted by the International Cat Association in 1994.
Bambino Cat Personality
Bambino cats are reportedly sociable and friendly. This stands to reason as it matches the demeanor of both of their parent breeds.
They are said to be playful and entertaining, so they’re often considered by parents wanting a cat for their children.
However, even though Bambino cats are supposed to be among the friendliest breeds, you should always use caution. Young children should be supervised when playing with pets to make sure no harm comes to either.
Can Bambinos Go Outside?
Firstly, owners are keen to point out how agile their pets are.
Their ability to be mobile and move in a typically cat-like fashion will definitely be hampered by their short stature, however.
Their little legs may get tired out quite quickly. And they certainly won’t jump as high as a normal cat.
This is probably just as well, because part of cats amazing ability to survive long falls is due to their legs. Shorter muscles and tendons in the legs will mean less shock absorbency for your kitty.
Keeping your Bambino indoors can help to keep them safe from any large drops.
Another reason why Munchkin Sphynx cats should be kept indoors is their lack of fur.
Fur blocks harmful UV rays. So hairless cats like the Bambino can suffer when left in the sun. Keeping your cat indoors can be a good way to avoid this.
To find out more about outdoor vs indoor cats, take a look at our complete guide.
Bambino Cat Weight
Because this cat is a mixed breed, you can expect it to weigh somewhere in between its parent breeds.
Both Sphynx and Munchkin cats are described as medium-sized, despite the Munchkin’s shorter legs.
So, you can expect your Bambino cat to be the same.
Bambino Colors and Coats
Just because this mix is hairless doesn’t mean that it can’t come in a variety of colors.
The Sphynx cat can show any colors known to domestic cats. Similarly, the Munchkin cat comes in a huge variety of colors.
So, to predict the color of your Bambino kitten, you should look at the parents used.
Are Bambinos Hypoallergenic?
You might be drawn to a hairless cat breed if you are allergic to kitties.
But it’s really important to know that although you might think a hairless cat is hypoallergenic, they are not.
Dander, which consists of pieces of dead skin, is what flares up cat allergies.
You might well find a hairless cat causes you as many problems as a fluffy cat. Try to spend time with your cat before bringing them into your family to see if they would cause you any problems as a pet.
You can read more about hypoallergenic cat breeds here.
Bambino Cat Health Problems
Unfortunately for Bambino cats, their parents exposed them to a myriad of potential health issues.
Let’s take a look at the two parent breeds, and the health problems that they suffer.
Predominantly as a result of their distinctive appearances.
Sphynx cats have a well recorded risk of heart disease among other problems to do with their lack of fur.
Hairless cats need ideally to be washed weekly, as their hair cannot distribute the oils their skin exudes.
Build up of oil can clog a cats pores and cause nasty skin conditions.
The lack of hair also leaves these cats at the mercy of the sun.
Fur blocks harmful UV rays. So bambinos will need to spend the vast majority of their lives indoors, as we mentioned earlier.
If this wasn’t bad enough, bambinos have it much worse than other hairless cats. The shortened limbs come from their other parent breed, the Munchkin cat.
Proponents of short-legged cats are keen to mention that it stems from a naturally occurring mutation. This mutation is called pseudoachondroplasia, a type of dwarfism. However, natural does not mean good.
It is important to note that in Europe deliberately breeding a cat to have this kind of mutation is illegal and considered an act of animal cruelty.
Let’s look more closely at some of the problems it can cause.
Lack of agility
Dwarf cats are inevitably unable to jump as high or run as fast and far as your average cat.
Since cats are inherently acrobatic it seems mean to deny them this ability.
Furthermore, dwarfism causes short limbs due to a cartilage deficiency, so this goes a lot further than just stunting Bambino cats height.
Spine and Chest Issues
Pseudoachondroplasia has also been linked to lordosis, a spine that’s too curved.
In addition to this it increases the risk of Pectus Excavatum. This condition presents itself as a caved-in hollow chest.
Back to the Bambino
Bambino cats haven’t been around long enough for us to draw any targets conclusions about them.
But if their parent breeds are anything to go by, they’ve been dealt a bad hand.
Bambino Cat Lifespan
Bambino cats haven’t been around long enough to accurately state their life expectancy. Munchkins and Sphynx cats live on average fairly unremarkable, 13 and 14 year lives respectively.
Make sure your cat is regularly checked by a vet in case any of the above mentioned health complications arise.
We have to use Munchkins and Sphynx cats to estimate because the Bambino cat breed has only been around for just over a decade.
Caring for your Bambino Cat
Cats have fur for a reason! Lack of fur means your Bambino will struggle to keep itself warm in a cold house. You may need to invest in a sweater for your cat.
But, also make sure they’re protected from harmful UV rays by keeping them indoors.
Are Bambino Cats Good Pets?
The truth is the Bambino hairless cat is a very new breed, so there’s a lot we just don’t know. But, what we do know are the problems that plague their parent breeds.
It’s also just not very nice to deliberately breed animals with stunted limbs and a high risk of skin conditions.
While they may well make good pets in terms of their temperament, buying one will help increase their popularity and cause more to be bred.
The USA is one of the few countries in the developed world that allow the sale of cats deliberately bred with pseudoachondroplasia.
Popularity Increases Breeding
The more people that buy these bald cats, the more breeders will deliberately pass on these harmful genetic mutations.
While they command such a high price, supply will meet demand. Of course, its entirely up to you.
Bambino Cat Price and Breeders
As with all cats, the Bambino cat price often depends on the breeder. We had a look around and found some listed in the US for around $2,000!
This isn’t surprising; designer cat breeders often charge dizzying prices. Bambino breeders are no exception.
They also demand a very high level of care, so that’s extra work for the breeder. Which they will pass on to you when the kitten is sold.
Due to their proportions, Bambino kittens look a lot like adult Bambino cats.
Short legged cats look a lot like kittens generally, which is part of their appeal.
It’s important to remember that the skin care routine with hairless cats starts from day one, and is especially important in their first few months of life.
Rescuing a Bambino Cat
If your heart is truly set on owning one of these dwarf cats, you may want to consider rescuing an adult.
This can be a good way to give an older cat a second chance at a happy home. But also stops encouraging breeders to breed more potentially unhealthy kittens.
Because the Bambino is a relatively new breed, there aren’t many rescues dedicated to them.
But take a look at rescue centers for the parent breeds, and you might find a cross. Let us know in the comments if you know any Bambino cat rescue centers, so we can add them to this page!
Pros And Cons of Getting A Bambino Cat
Let’s quickly review the pros and cons of this bald cat before you make a decision.
- These are social, friendly cats.
- They are well suited to families with younger children.
- They have a multitude of health problems.
- These dwarf cats have to be kept indoors for their own health.
- As a relatively new breed, we don’t have much reliable information on lifespan.
- Plus, as a mixed breed, inherited traits are unpredictable.
Should I Get a Bambino Cat?
As we mentioned earlier, Bambino cats suffer from a number of health issues inherited from their parents.
Cute and cuddly dwarf Bambino cats might not be everything you thought they were.
You might have changed your mind about what the perfect addition to your family will be.
So, if Bambino cats are a no go, what other options are available?
If you’re desperate for a hairless cat, it’s probably better to go with a Sphynx. Though far from the most healthy breed, this bald cat definitely has it better than Bambinos.
To their credit, Sphynx cats have a sturdy, strong, much more traditionally cat-like, frame. Compared to the Bambino, Sphynx hairless cats are incredibly well proportioned.
If you’re interested in a small cat, but are put off by pseudoachondroplasia, you do have options.
Take a look at the alternatives to teacup and miniature cats in this great article on those breeds here.
Have Your Say
We would love to hear what you think about the Bambino cat. Have you ever owned one of these small kittens?
Tell us about your experiences in the comments below!
- The cat encyclopedia DK
- Medical, genetic & behavioral risk factors of Sphynx cats R. D. Clark DVM
- The munchkin cat Phenotypic and genotypic characterization College of veterinary medicine, University of Missouri – Columbia, Columbia, MO
- Why I Can’t stand the hype over dwarf cats P. Khully VMD
- Pseudoschondroplasia GHR
- Wedderburn, Pete (October 2008). “Cat breeds–Trophies with hidden problems”. Journal of Small Animal Practice. BSAVA Companion 49 (10): 7–9
- European convention for the protection of pet animals
- Natural history study of pseudoachondroplasia J. McKeand, J. Rotta, Jacqueline T. Hecht
- Pet dander and perennial allergic rhinitis D. V. Wallace
- Gough A, Thomas A, O’Neill D. 2018 Breed Predispositions to Disease In Dogs and Cats. Wiley Blackwell
- Hawes et al. Factors Informing Outcomes for Older Cats and Dogs in Animal Shelters
- O’Neill et al. Longevity and mortality of cats attending primary care veterinary practices in England
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