They are sometimes mistaken for a Chihuahua, that small breed of dog that originated in Mexico. It could be because of its “un-cat-like” appearance. Or it could be because this rare breed of cat has virtually no hair.
The Sphynx cat first appeared in 1966 when a domestic cat produced a litter of hairless Sphynx kitten in Toronto, Canada. The hairlessness of these Sphynx kittens were discovered to be natural, a genetic mutation, which nevertheless became the foundation of today’s breed of Sphynx cats.
Appearance Of The Sphynx Cat
As already mentioned, the most distinctive feature of the Sphynx cat is its having extremely little fur, and sometimes no fur at all. Yet, despite this lack of hair in Sphynx cats, this breed comes in a variety of colors and markings like any ordinary cat.
The color of the skin is what the fur would be. Thus, a Sphynx cat may be white with pink nose leather and paw pads, black, blue, red, cream, chocolate, lavender, cinnamon, and fawn. The breed also has the usual cat markings, such as solid, point, van, tabby, tortie, and so on.
Sphynx cat breeders from Europe and North America have bred this cat with other normal-coated cats and then back to hairless in order to strengthen the genetic makeup of the breed. A Sphynx cat with a little fur feels like a warm peach or suede covered hot water bottle. But hairless or not, there is always hair found on the nose, tail and toes.
The Sphynx cat is a robust breed, medium in size and strong. The adult males are typically larger than adult females. They have a sturdy build and strong boning structure. The eyes are wide, giving off an open, intelligent expression.
Why Is The Sphynx Cat Hairless?
The hairlessness of the Sphynx cat breed is caused by a natural mutation of the genes. Specifically, the mutation occurs in an allele of the hair gene of cats. It is interesting to note that this gene is the same gene that produces the Devon Rex, a curly haired breed of cat. However, when cat breeders attempted to cross the Sphynx cat with the Devon Rex in an effort to strengthen this gene, it unfortunately resulted in serious dental and nervous system problems. Today, it is forbidden to cross the two breeds together.
Temperament Of The Sphynx Breed
Described by the French as “part monkey, part dog, and part child,” the Sphynx cat is many things indeed. Sphynx cats are known for their intelligence and extremely affectionate behavior. They love to curl up in their human’s lap, cuddle or simply be adorable, which they usually do when the weather has gotten too cold for their hairless, defenseless bodies.
They a friendly cat with an extroverted, outgoing personality. They go well with other pets and can often be found curled up with other Sphynx cats when sleeping or resting.
The Sphyinx cat’s hairless condition requires a special kind of care different from how you would normally care for normal coated cats. When taking care of a Sphynx cat, always take into account that it has very little or no hair to protect it from the environment. Here are some tips to help you care for your “furless” friend:
• When taking your cat outside, be wary of overexposure. Like humans, the Sphynx cat could get sunburns.
• As a general rule, don’t leave your Sphynx cat outdoors all by itself without at least some shade or water in a pan. Remember that your cat has very little means of conserving water to counteract the heat or body heat to counteract cold temperatures.
• The skin of the Sphynx cat can get easily dirty and oily, thus frequent bathing is required.
• When bathing your cat, use gentle, hypoallergenic soap.