ALL CAT BREED PROFILES

Bambino Cat: We Come in Peace

Bambino is sitting on a sofa. He is a breed of cat that was created as a cross between the Sphynx and the Munchkin breeds.
Jeremy Vaughn
Written by Jeremy Vaughn

If you are a cat lover who’s intrigued by the exceptional and the rare, you might find yourself weighing several cat breed options. The Bambino cat is a good example. From their wrinkled, hairless skin to their strikingly noticeable (some may say alien-like) features, you have to agree that this cat and the word “ordinary” don’t belong in the same sentence. However, the Bambino is not the only hairless cat breed currently known to man. You might wonder why you should choose the Bambino cat over the more-popular Sphynx.

While most people who adopt Bambino cats do so because they are attracted to the cat’s characteristic naked skin and short legs at first, they soon learn that this breed has so much more to offer. They are very affectionate and playful. Even though at first your kids might hide behind your legs at the sight of this cat, they will become fast friends with the Bambino in no time at all. These cats’ short legs make you think that there’s no way they would be able to keep up with your energetic children, but you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

A persong holding a Bambino Cat

Having existed for about a decade only, there is probably lots of information that you are yet to be privy to about the Bambino cat. But by the time you are done reading this, every available detail of the physical, social, and behavioral factors of this peculiar cat breed will be at your fingertips. Indulge yourself below.

Breed Characteristics

  • Adaptability: High

  • Grooming: High Maintenance

  • Health: Below Average Health

  • All Around Friendliness: High

  • Exercise Needs: Average

Cat breed groupHairless, Crossbreed
SizeSmall
WeightMales: 5 - 9 pounds

Females: 4 - 7 pounds
LifespanAbout 6 - 14 years

With their distinct hairless and baby-like appearance, it’s hard not to recognize a Bambino cat. However, it is possible to find a coated one; these would be referred to as a “coated bambino.” Some of them are covered with a layer of downy hair that feels like suede.

These cats are small in size with noticeably large and upright ears. They have a wedge-shaped head that is longer than it is wide. Their eyes are also large and almond shaped. Their firm chin and their scanty, short whiskers, are hard to miss.

Image showing a Bambino Kitten relaxing on a sofa

A Bambino cat’s body ranges from average to long. They are surprisingly muscular and stocky—usually sporting a wide chest. Their abdomen is round and shapely; they need the extra fat to stay warm.

All these are supported by somewhat short hind legs with even shorter forelegs. Surprisingly enough, this does not hinder the cat’s movement. The Bambino cat’s exotic looks are completed by a proportional, flexible tail which may or may not have a tuft of hair at the tip.

Main Highlights

  • Bambino cats are not hypoallergenic! Are you surprised? Being hairless doesn’t change that fact. Cat allergens come from saliva, urine, and dried skin flakes—not the fur.

  • Bambino cats are sociable, smart, and charming. They are also quite playful. This makes them great even for a household with kids and other pets provided the introduction is well done.

  • The cats’ short legs—a dwarfism inherited from their parent, the Munchkin—reduce their agility and ability to jump like other cats. Shorter leg muscles and tendons also reduce the cat’s shock absorbency, but your cat should have no problem walking and running around.

  • Their hairlessness leaves them defenseless against the elements—which means that they need to spend most of their lives indoors. Your cat will also need to be kept warm in a cold house.

  • Without hair to absorb their natural oils, these cats need regular cleaning with mild soap and warm water to avoid oil build-up.

  • One of their parents, the Sphynx, predisposes them to heart diseases. They are also vulnerable to periodontal diseases. With this in mind, your kitty’s teeth need more cleaning compared to the other ordinary cat.

  • The Bambino litters are most of the time short-legged, though there are long-legged ones on rare occasions. The long-legged ones are basically Sphynxes because they do not exhibit the Munchkin gene.

  • They feed quite well since their metabolism is high and also due to the extra energy needed to regulate their body temperatures.

  • The males weigh between 5 to 9 pounds while females fall between 4 and 7 pounds.

  • They adapt very well to new environment and traveling doesn’t bother them.

  • Due to their rare nature and possibly the amount of effort invested in developing the breed, the Bambino cats are quite expensive—both in terms of initial cost and maintenance costs.

Breed History

While short and hairless cats have always existed, the ones that made the Bambino a distinctive breed were the breeders at the HolyMoly Cattery—Pat and Stephanie Osborne. Greatly impressed by the behavior and the looks of hairless cats, they did extensive research and finally developed the Bambino breed.

Bambino is the Italian word for baby. These cats are possibly name in reference to Pat’s Italian origin and the kitten-like look that characterizes even adult Bambinos. It could also be derived from their bald appearance which reminds people of a newborn baby’s skin.

Image of a bambino cat meowing to his owner

The hairlessness is inherited from the Sphynx while they got their short legs from the Munchkin. It wasn’t until 2005 that the breed was officially recognized by worldwide feline organizations. Presently, it is possible to register your Bambino cat with the Rare and Exotic Feline Registry.

Size

The Bambino cats are smaller than normal cats especially due to their short legs. This feature occurs due to a type of mutation called pseudoachondroplasia—which in simpler terms is a type of dwarfism. They inherit this from one of their parents; the Munchkin. Dwarf cats have their fair share of limitations when it comes to jumping, running, and overall agility—although these cats are no less cheerful and playful than the other cats.

Personality and Character

These cats are friendly, smart, and charming. They have inherited this from both their parents. The Bambino cats are lap cats. They love to snuggle in their family’s lap or next to them in bed, and they enjoy being cuddled.

Bambino cat in a cat tree

Most other cats easily get stressed out by frequently-changing environments, but the Bambino adapts to new environments very fast. Better still, if you are the kind that likes to travel, a Bambino cat might just become your best companion.

Notwithstanding their short legs, the cats are able to move about with energy and gusto. Don’t hesitate to get down and have some fun with them. Be sure not to leave your cat alone in the house often because they do not do so well on their own. They like the sense of belonging, and they highly appreciate the company that you or other pets in the house offer.

Health and Potential Problems

Bambino cats are predisposed to possible health problems due to their ancestry. These problems can mostly be attributed to their unique appearance. Lack of hair makes it hard for them to distribute the natural oils produced by their skin. If they are not regularly washed, their pores can easily clog—prompting awful skin conditions. Without hair, they have no way of blocking the harmful UV rays from the sun and also the cold when it is chilly. The exposed skin is also prone to yeast infections.

Bambino kitten lying down on a blanket

The Bambino cats inherit a predisposition to periodontal disease as well as Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy—a genetic heart disease from the Sphynx. Their Munchkin gene could also expose them to spine deformity and lordosis which can be linked to pseudoachondroplasia—the mutation responsible for their shortened legs.

The cats also require normal healthcare routines like vaccination and deworming to keep them in good shape.Since the breed has not been around for long, research is still underway to determine other genetic health problems.

Care Features

Bambino cats love to be petted. This helps strengthen the bond between them and other members of their family. Since they are playful, playing with them goes a long way. Keeping your cat away from excess heat and exposure to the sun protects him from getting burnt while making him wear a warm sweater or a jacket when it is cold keeps his body temperature well-regulated, so he won’t have to use his body fat to compensate for the heat loss. You may also choose to buy feline sunblock at pet shops and veterinary clinics, or igloo-type beds specially meant for hairless cats.

two Black bambino cat

Since these cats are more likely to suffer skin injury than your average cat, you should make the environment they live in as safe as possible. Providing an indoor play zone, cat furniture, and toys will greatly reduce boredom and help your cat live an accomplished life. Provide your kitty with his own litter tray and ensure that it is refreshed every 2 to 3 days to ensure that it remains as clean as possible.

Feeding Schedule

Due to their high metabolic rate, the Bambino cats have a big appetite and enjoy their food. With their sensitivity to cold comes the need to have a high-calorie diet to help with heat regulation. They should have access to food and clean water around the clock.

Image of a bambino cat in a studio

High-quality cat foods made for hairless cats are available and are the best option for your cat. Breeders and veterinarians can also be good sources of information concerning your cat’s dietary needs. If you choose to keep your cat on a raw diet, organic meats could be a better option. Shredding or mincing the meat before feeding it to the cat will help with digestion.

Coat, Color, and Grooming

Bambino cats come in different pattern and colors with white, pinkish, creamy or black being the most common. Hairlessness robs the cats of the ability to absorb and distribute their natural body oil. Apart from this, dirt accumulates very fast in areas such as the ears, under the nails, and in the skin folds. If neglected, this could lead to serious health issues. That is why the Bambino cats need to be bathed with warm water and shampoo at least every 2 to 3 weeks. Do not use a hair drier on the cat’s skin as it can cause burns.

Close-up of two bambino cats

While bathing depends on the condition of your cat’s skin, be careful not to bathe your cat too often as this could cause dry skin and dermatitis. Wiping between baths can help reduce dirt build up. While the rest of the body should be given a good scrub, the ears, eyes, between the toes, and the nail beds should be gently cleaned as well. The ears need to be gently cleaned daily as they produce excess wax. Trimming the nails every two weeks is good enough.

Their skins are pretty sensitive, so you should use a mild shampoo. Clothes could also irritate their skin, interfere with their body temperature regulation, or even hinder their movement. Although, when it gets cold, you may be required to make them wear clothes. There’s a delicate balance in-between. If you are not sure of how to properly care for Bambino cats, you could always consult a vet to be on the safe side.

Children and Other Pets Compatibility

The Bambino cats relate very well with children due to their friendly and interactive nature. Their agility and high energy make them great playmates for children. This is especially so when the children treat them with respect and affection. They get along with other pets and in particular pets who reciprocate their friendship. Proper introduction should be done to ensure harmonious living amongst the pets and family.

Wrap Up

With so many cat breeds all over the world, breeders trying to come up with new breeds each day, and with several other hairless cats available, you can easily get confused. It is with this in mind that we seek to familiarize you with this rare and exotic cat breed. Bambino cat is bred from the Sphynx and the Munchkin. It is a high maintenance cat breed. These cats are also quite expensive to purchase. The cat is hairless and smaller than your ordinary cats. They require more than the regular grooming to keep their skin clean and healthy.

Two black bambino kittens sitting at the window

A Bambino cat tolerates new environments, kids, other pets, and even visitors to the house really well. This trait makes them an awesome addition to any family. They relish any attention given to them and reciprocate the same to family members. They are a lap cat, but they are exhibit a high level of playful energy. They love companionship and hate solitude.

Having existed for about ten years only, a lot remains to be seen about this breed. Research is still underway in matters concerning health, lifespan, litters, and adaptability among other aspects. But one thing’s for sure: all the extra care and attention you have to invest in this cat will be paid back to you tenfold. The Bambino cat’s faithful companionship is priceless.

A bambino cat in a towel looking at the camera

Are you prepared to care for Bambino cats the way these precious little beings deserve? Or are you looking for a cat that’s easier to maintain but no less affectionate? If you have any concerns or additional information, do not hesitate to give us your feedback below.

About the author
Jeremy Vaughn
Jeremy Vaughn

Jeremy Vaughn is a member of Canadian Professional Pet Stylists, who lives in Winnipeg. Creating new looks for cats and other pets is his passion. Jeremy shares his house with the wife and wonderful Siamese cat.

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