Breeds

Bambino Cat Breed Profile: Care, Traits, Facts & More

We've all heard of the famous Sphynx cat, but did you know that there are many other hairless breeds? One of the latest hairless breeds is the Bambino, a kitty named after it's small size.

Tara Maurer holding cat smiling

Last Updated: March 19, 2024 | 7 min read

Bambino cat sitting on sofa.

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If you think all cats look the same, let me introduce you to a new, rare breed that’s gained a following for its unique appearance. What do you get when you cross the short-legged Munchkin with the hairless Sphynx? It’s the Bambino, of course.

Despite their small stature, Bambinos are playful, energetic felines. These quirky cats love spending time with their human companions and are friendly to people and other pets alike.

Still, the development of the Bambino has been controversial. Some argue that these cats have an increased chance of developing future health problems due to the purposeful breeding of gene abnormalities. Let’s explore this and more in our Bambino cat breed profile.

Breed Overview
    • weight iconWeight4-9 Pounds
    • height iconHeight5-8 Inches
    • lifespan iconLifespan9-15 Years
    • color iconColorsBlack, brown, fawn, cream, and white
  • Child Friendliness
  • Canine Friendliness
  • Trainability
  • Exercise
  • Grooming Upkeep
  • Breed Health
  • Kitten Costs

Breed History

Bambino cat hunched over looking to the left.
As you can see, this cat has Sphynx-like similarities.

The Bambino is a crossbreed of the Sphynx and Munchkin cats. Bambinos display the defining feature of each of their parent breeds—the Sphynx’s hairless body and the Munchkin’s short legs.

The breed was initially created in 2005 by Stephanie and Pat Osborne of Holy Moly Cattery in Arkansas. They named the breed Bambino—the Italian word for “baby.”

Since its creation, the Bambino has had a mixed reception among cat registries. The Rare and Exotic Feline Registry (REFR) recognizes this breed, and The International Cat Association (TICA) added the Bambino to its Experimental Registry in 2006. The Cat Fanciers’ Association will not allow the breed’s registry because it doesn’t want to encourage breeding cats with genetic abnormalities for aesthetic purposes.

In 2019, the Bambino breed made the news after the Netherlands Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority (NVWA) issued a warning to a Bambino breeder, effectively ordering them to stop breeding cats prone to serious health problems.

The intentional breeding of cats with genetic abnormalities like the Bambino and Munchkin continues to be controversial among breeders, veterinarians, and animal welfare advocates. Even so, crossbreeds of the Munchkin—like the Bambino and Kinkalow—continue to expand and gain popularity.

Appearance & Size

Bambino cat laying on a grey blanket.
This breed is typically on the smaller side.

Bambinos are a crossbreed of the Munchkin dwarf cat and hairless Sphynx, giving them the appearance of a hairless, wrinkly sausage cat. Bambinos are very small, typically no taller than eight inches and up to 17 inches long. They can weigh up to nine pounds.

The Bambino cat has a wedge-shaped head with large ears. Its large, almond-shaped eyes are slightly slanted and wide-set. Although these cats may have various eye colors, blue is ideal. Overall, its head is very similar to that of the Sphynx.

The Bambino’s body appears well-muscled and almost stocky. These cats have short legs and medium-sized feet with defined toes and prominent knuckles. Bambino litters may also have long-legged kittens; their height is the only difference between them and their short-legged siblings. Bambinos have long, slender tails that taper to a point.

Like the Sphynx, the skin texture of the Bambino feels very soft and wrinkled. Petting these cats is often likened to the feel of warm suede. These cats may be utterly hairless or have a peach fuzz-like coat.

Bambinos come in various colors and patterns. Typical colors are black, brown, fawn, cream, and white. These cats may be solid, shaded, bi-color, or pointed.

Personality & Temperament

Bambino cats playing with a toy on a grey backdrop.
Bambinos have a playful personality.

Bambino cats are known to be affectionate, playful, and people-focused. They are very social and get along with everyone.

These short-legged sausage cats also tend to be very vocal and demand attention from their human companions. They do not like to be alone for long periods, so make sure to spend time with your fur baby. Whether cuddling on the couch or adventuring from room to room, your Bambino will want to be wherever you are in the house.

Shedding & Hypoallergenic

You may be attracted to the Bambino for their hypoallergenic potential. Because these cats don’t have a standard coat, you won’t find hair tumbleweeds around your home. Unfortunately, like all cats, the Bambino still produces dander, which may irritate those with cat allergies.

Grooming

Don’t let the Bambino’s lack of fur trick you into thinking these kitties don’t need grooming. In actuality, hairless cats typically require more grooming than your average cat.

Because Bambinos lack an absorbent coat, their skin tends to get oily. These felines require regular baths to keep their skin clean and prevent problems like acne and infections. Expect to give your Bambino a bath or wipe-down once a week.

Be sure to buy the correct products for grooming your cat. Never use human shampoo or soap on your feline, as it can dry out your cat’s skin. View our picks for best cat shampoo and best dry shampoo for cats.

When washing your cat, check their ears for dirt accumulation. Use a soft wipe or ear-cleaning solution to remove any debris gently. You can also read our guide covering how to clean dirty ears.

Trim your feline’s nails periodically to prevent injury to your cat (and yourself). Indoor kitties especially need their nails trimmed regularly since they are less likely than outdoor cats to wear down their nails. Contact your veterinarian if you’re unsure how to cut your feline’s nails safely. You can also bring your kitty to the groomer to pay for this service.

Avoid dental disease—common in felines—by regularly brushing your cat’s teeth. If your cat can’t stand their teeth being brushed, consider purchasing dental treats or a dental water additive to support your cat’s oral hygiene.

Care

Before bringing any cat into your home, ensure all cleaners and dangerous products are stashed behind closed doors. Check that all your houseplants are feline-friendly; many flowers are also toxic to felines.

You should also cat-proof your home by securing bookshelves and other tall furniture to the wall. Keep appliance doors (like the washing machine) closed and trash cans covered. Always burn candles out of reach of your furry friend.

Exercise

Despite their short legs, Bambinos are very rambunctious, playful, and high-energy. They enjoy running around the house, exploring, and squeezing themselves into small spaces.

These cats can spend hours chasing toys and running through tunnels, so ensure you have plenty of toys for your Bambino to play with throughout the day.

Litter Box Maintenance

Location, location, location. This principle applies to real estate and is 100% applicable to the litter box. Always place your cat’s litter pan in an accessible area. If you have a two-story home, you’ll ideally have a litter box on each floor.

As you would expect, cats like a clean litter box. Scoop the box once daily at a minimum. You should also regularly empty the box and clean it thoroughly. Regular maintenance will not only keep your kitty happy, but it will also alert you to any health problems. Changes in litter box habits could signal an underlying health issue.

Health Care

Three Bambino cats sitting wearing sweaters.
These kitties tend to get cold since they don’t have a coat.

As with all felines, your Bambino will require veterinary care. Together, you and your veterinarian are responsible for your feline’s health. If you notice any changes in your kitty’s behavior, alert your vet. Your observations are valuable in diagnosing and treating health problems.

It can be overwhelming to think about the possible health problems for your Bambino. Pet insurance is available to help give you peace of mind. It can help pay for a part of the unplanned vet expenses included in your policy. We encourage you to learn all about the best pet insurance

Nutrition

All cats thrive on a high-protein, meat-based diet specifically developed for cats. Do you need help figuring out where to start? Check out our pick for the best grain-free cat foods for high-protein, low-carb options.

While it’s tempting to free-feed your feline, most kitties thrive when offered measured proportions at scheduled meal times. Measured portions are especially important for the Bambino so they don’t become overweight. Weight gain puts extra pressure on your Bambino’s spine and increases the likelihood of developing diabetes.

Training

Cats can be challenging to train, but it’s not impossible. Always reward your kitty for good behavior and ignore destructive, attention-seeking behavior. Any positive or negative attention will encourage your kitty to continue said behavior. Typically, cats respond well to treats and verbal praise.

Health & Lifespan

There are two health problems known to exist in dwarf cats like the Bambino. These issues are present in the founding dwarf cat, the Munchkin, and all dwarf cats carry Munchkin genes:

  • Lordosis: An inward curvature of the spine that compresses the heart, lungs, and trachea.
  • Pectus excavatum: This is characterized as a malformation of the sternum, causing a “caved-in” chest appearance.

Bambinos are also prone to another genetic health problem, hereditary myopathy. This condition is characterized by generalized muscle weakness. It is a common Sphynx cat health issue, which is likely how the Bambino inherited this health problem.

Finally, the Bambino is prone to skin conditions due to their lack of hair and overly oily skin. This breed has an increased chance of developing bacterial or fungal infections. They are also prone to sunburns and, as a result, melanoma.

The Bambino’s lifespan is 9 to 15 years.

Price

Bambino kittens cost around $2,000 to $3,000. Due to their rarity, kittens with odd eyes or true blue eyes typically cost more.

As Family Pets

Bambinos love everyone they meet. They will get along with other people, children, and pets, including cats, dogs, and even small animals. Just remember to introduce your Bambino to new pets carefully. Running introductions could cause aggression or other issues.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some questions our readers frequently ask about the Bambino cat breed. Don’t see yours? Ask us in the comments.

Are Bambino Cats Rare?

Yes, the Bambino is a rare breed that is also quite controversial. These cats are very difficult to breed—about 25% of embryos die in the womb—so these cats usually have minimal litters.

What Is The Smallest Hairless Cat?

Even though the Bambino is small, there are still smaller hairless breeds. The Minskin is typically four to six pounds, making it even smaller than the Bambino. The Dwelf is another tiny hairless cat, maxing out at seven pounds.

Other Hairless Breeds

Are you looking for other hairless cat breeds? Our list of 15 low-shedding cats features several hairless cats, including the Donskoy and Peterbald. You can also read about the popular Sphynx cat, including Sphynx cat colors and the unique Maine Coon Sphynx mix.

Why Trust Love Your Cat?

Tara is a lifelong cat lover. She has lived with cats for 20+ years and lives with two nine-year-only domestic felines, Luna and Lucy. Tara is dedicated to providing our readers with the best information on caring for their furry friends. She spends countless hours researching each topic to provide the most up-to-date, quality information.

Cat in front of a Japanese shrine.

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