The Bambino cat is a relatively new breed, with the first registered kittens coming on to the scene in 2005.
Although not the most common of breeds, they are becoming more and more popular.
With that in mind, today we’ll be talking all about the Bambino cat, including its characteristics, temperament, care, and more.
By the end of this post, you’ll have learned everything there is to know about this hairless breed that’s making its mark in the cat world.
Related: Things To Know about Minskin Cat Breed
1. The name Bambino means ‘baby’.
The Bambino is one of several dwarf feline breeds, also known as miniature cats.
Its name is derived from an Italian word that actually means baby.
This is because of the physical characteristics and baby-like appearance of the Bambino cat which will pretty much remind you of an adorable kitty.
2. It is an experimental breed.
The Bambino cat history starts from a story of experimentation. It is a result of cross-breeding between the short-legged Munchkin cat and the Sphynx cat.
Unlike older breeds, the Bambino was bred specifically for its look and personality rather than its ability to hunt or perform other utilitarian actions. This breed was made with two things in mind – size and coat.
The procedure made use of the recessive hairless gene in the Sphynx and the dominant short-legged gene of the cute Munchkin cat, which resulted in the physical characteristics of the Bambino that we see today.
3. It was recognized as an official breed only in 2005.
The Bambino cat was presented and first registered in TICA ( The International Cat Association ) by Stephanie and Pat Osborne in 2005. The TICA is the only organization to have done so.
It is believed that cross-breeding may lead to future health problems for this particular breed as the genes are passed on from one generation to the next.
Ethical reasons have created much controversy against this breed. Due to its controversial history, other associations have yet to decide on recognizing the Bambino cat as a breed.
4. Although they are considered to be part of a hairless breed of cats, they do have hair!
The most distinctive feature of the Bambino cat is its wrinkled skin, especially on the head, which may be cream to white in color or even black.
At a first glance, it may appear that the Bambino has a hairless appearance due to its velvety skin.
Upon taking a closer look though, Bambinos do have very short, fine hair.
This feature is largely due to genes coming from the Sphynx breed of cat and is a result of cross-breeding.
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5. They aren’t hypoallergenic!
People would like to think that because they don’t shed much, Bambino and Sphinx cats won’t cause allergies. While they may reduce the chances of causing allergies in humans, that doesn’t make them hypoallergenic at all.
A protein in cat saliva, known as Fel D1, is the main causative factor of allergies in humans. Cats do like to lick themselves a lot and in doing so, they do transfer that particular protein as well to their fur and skin.
This can, thus, still cause allergic reactions in sensitive individuals. In fact, it is quite misleading for a cat to be called hypoallergenic since all of them will carry a protein in their saliva that may result in allergies to humans.
The Bambino cat is no exception to this.
6. The Bambino cat is also a dwarf breed!
Due to the munchkin genes that they have in them, a Bambino cat can also be considered to be a dwarf breed.
The average height of the Bambino cat is around eight inches, with some even being smaller than that! They also weigh anywhere between 5-9 pounds.
7. The back legs of the Bambino are usually slightly longer than the front.
A bambino cat has a medium to long body with a broad chest and well-rounded abdomen. It also has a whip-like tail, which may be common in other cats too.
Aside from their wrinkly skin though, another distinct feature that comes from the dominant mutation (contributed by the Munchkin breed of cats) is their short legs, especially at the front.
Their short legs limit their ability to jump, unlike other cats. That said, their short legs do not limit their active nature at all!
Other physical features of a Bambino cat are its large ears which stand upright. This is also from the Sphinx cat gene, hence the similarity in those features. Their eyes are lemon-shaped and most of the time, blue in color.
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8. They will tell meow their minds out to talk to you!
If you plan to own a Bambino cat, be prepared to hear lots of vocal cries and meows. They may, in fact, be one of the most vocal breeds.
They will communicate with you constantly to express what they feel, especially during mealtime.
Bambino cats meow or vocalize too when they lack attention. To lessen excessive vocalization, give them lots of attention and playtime to keep them from getting bored.
9. They are intelligent and energetic.
Size never limits the Bambino cat. Although they may tire easily because of their short legs, they can be very playful.
They can be very curious too! This high-energy breed will explore every corner of your home or every tree in your garden.
Bambinos need a lot of space and toys to satisfy their never-ending curiosity. A scratching post comes in highly recommended too! They definitely need all that living space where they can spend all that energy that they have.
Being an intelligent breed means that they can also easily adapt to change. Highly adaptable, the Bambino does well with travel and changes in the home environment provided they are done correctly.
10. They show great affection towards humans.
Bambinos have an affectionate personality. Their playful and affectionate nature actually makes this breed get along well with other pets, including dogs.
They do quite well with children too. This makes them an ideal pet and animal companion to have in households since they easily adjust and adapt.
11. They need constant attention.
Unlike other cat breeds, Bambinos need to be showered with attention. They will constantly want to be by your side or to be noticed by their human.
This cat is not one that can be left alone for a long time since, as affectionate as they are, they do require that the same amount of affection be returned to them.
12. Unlike other cats, they need regular baths.
Due to the lack of a thick coat, the Bambino cat’s skin does have oily skin. Skin conditions, such as bacterial or fungal infections, may occur because of this.
Believe it or not, they can even develop acne due to an accumulation of dirt and oil on their skin. In order to keep their skin healthy, weekly baths are necessary.
Warm water a mild, aloe, and oatmeal soap may be used to bathe a Bambino. It may not be its favorite activity though. This video demonstrates how to properly bathe a hairless cat like a Bambino.
In case bathing may prove to be difficult, you can always use dry shampoo as an alternative to soap and water.
Besides baths, Bambinos need to have their teeth brushed on a regular basis as well since cats are known to be prone to gum disease.
Their ears need a lot of cleaning too! The lack of hair around their ears can lead to a lot of waxy build-ups which may clog their ears.
After bathing, it is recommended that their ears be wiped with a soft cloth or wet wipe since the was is considerably softened right after a bath.
There are ear cleaners for cats that can be used to clean the insides. If none can be found, Q-tips can be used as a replacement. Check out for any redness or odor in your cat’s ears since these may be signs of infection.
Bambinos also lack hair on their paws so you can expect these to easily accumulate dirt. Because of this, clipping their claws is even more important.
Nail clippers designed for cats are available in pet stores. Care should be taken when doing so in order to avoid any injury.
13. They need sunblock!
Some owners like to take their cats outside for fresh air, but it should be done on a very limited basis with the Bambino.
The Bambino’s lack of hair means it is also highly vulnerable to the sun’s rays. They can and will become sunburned in a short amount of time. When not well protected, too much sun exposure may even lead to skin cancer.
This is especially true of the white-skinned variety which is incredibly sensitive to the sun.
When taking a Bambino cat out to play, it is recommended that sunblock that is formulated for cats be placed on them to protect their sensitive skin.
14. They need jackets during winter!
Just as it is easy for Bambinos to feel hot and get sunburned, their lack of a coat makes them easily feel cold as well. The lack of fur makes it difficult for Bambino’s to control their body temperature.
Especially-made jackets or coats be placed on them during colder weather to keep them warm. Knitted ones can do wonders for them and keep them comfortable.
It won’t hurt too for them to snuggle with their humans, which fits perfectly with their loving nature.
15. They may be small but they can eat!
Bambino cats have a high metabolism and no hair coat, making them extremely sensitive to cold.
Because of this, these cats require a special, high-calorie diet to help regulate their body temperature and power their highly active personality.
Another thing to take note of when it comes to the Bambino’s food is the amount of protein that they require. Owe it to the fact that being cats, they do come from a line of carnivores.
Veggies, fruits, and food high in carbohydrates don’t go high up in their food list so you shouldn’t expect the Bambino to have the same diet as its human.
Bambinos like having small portions of food all throughout the day. It is best that their food bowl is always filled with food so they can eat whenever they feel like it.
Snacks are to be avoided in order for them to eat the food that they really need.
16. They may be prone to heart disease.
Although an overall healthy breed, there are a few concerns to be addressed with this cat.
Crossbreeding may lead to some unavoidable genetic abnormalities that may have to be addressed in order for the Bambino to live a long, healthy, and normal life.
The main health care concern with this breed is a genetic heart disease called Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM) to which they’re prone.
This comes from their Sphynx breeding, as HCM is a common problem among that breed. This involves an enlargement of the heart muscles which may be congenital or inborn.
In this case, a cat may need special dietary requirements, such as a low-sodium diet, in order to prevent the condition from worsening.
Another health problem that you can expect from a Bambino cat is a condition called lordosis, which involves an inward curvature of the spine.
If the curvature gets to be too much, it may affect the Bambino’s other organs so it is best to have a vet check this condition out if it does happen.
The munchkin gene may also contribute to another health condition in Bambinos. This is known as Pectus Excavatum.
This condition causes a deformation of the breast bone of cats. This deformation may be quite severe to the point that it may affect how it lives.
It may result in difficulty in breathing as well as loss of appetite that may ultimately lead to weight loss.
17. They may live up to 15 years.
The life expectancy of the Bambino cat is a question that has yet to be definitively answered due to its very short history.
This breed has only been around for about 15 years, which is on the low end of a cat’s life expectancy.
However, breeders and vets have speculated that the average life expectancy for this breed could be anywhere from 9 years – the life expectancy of a Munchkin – to around 15 years – the life expectancy of a Sphynx.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A SPHYNX AND A BAMBINO?
Although they may look quite similar, a bambino has shorter legs compared to a sphynx. This is due to the dominant munchkin gene which is part of the genetic makeup of the Bambino breed.
WHAT IS ANOTHER NAME FOR A BAMBINO?
Bambinos are also known as “minskins”, which means a cross between a munchkin and a sphynx. This is a name that you may encounter when talking to breeders
WHAT COLORS DO THE BAMBINO CAT COME IN?
The most common colors of a Bambino cat are cream, white and black.
HOW MUCH DOES A BAMBINO CAT COST?
Due to its rarity, a Bambino cat can be quite expensive. A Bambino kitten will range anywhere from USD 1800-3000.
HOW LONG DO BAMBINO CATS LIVE?
Due to them being quite a new breed and an experimental one at that, the life span of a Bambino cat is yet to be determined. From what is known so far, it is said that a Bambino can live up to 15 years.
WHERE CAN YOU GET A BAMBINO CAT?
You can get a hold of a Bambino cat through a reputable breeder. They may come quite costly though if bought through breeders. Thie video below has some tips that you can check out to help you if you are looking for a breeder to trust.
You can also try looking at adoption websites near your home to see if there is one in need of a new home.
Although they look exotic and somewhat intimidating, the Bambino cat is actually a wonderful breed to have as a pet.
Their loving, easy-going nature and high energy make for a playful kitty that can thrive in almost any home environment, and with no coat, they rank incredibly low on the allergen scale.
Do remember though that despite their “hairless” appearance and small size, grooming and proper diet are still of utmost importance with this breed.
This is especially true since with this breed being at its earliest stages, there may still be a lot that needs to be known when it comes to the Bambino.
Do you have a bambino cat? Let us know your experience with them below!
Ben is an animal lover, blogger, and all around geek. He divides his love equally between his family, his animals, and his video games. In his spare time he is attempting to get a blog off the ground. Boy, are they heavy!