The bald Sphynx captures the imagination of many cat lovers. Although this unique breed is still relatively rare, owners’ enthusiastic praise leads to growing interest and gradually increases the popularity of the Sphynx.
The Sphynx Cat – Breed History
The gene of hairlessness has appeared as a spontaneous mutation several times during the past century, in some well documented occurrences in Europe, Australia and America. The most famous early hairless cats are probably the two cats owned by a New Mexico resident that have come to be known as the “Hairless Mexican”.
Most sources agree that the first breeding program for hairless cats was initiated in Canada in 1966, when a domestic shorthaired cat produced a hairless kitten. These early cats were at first called “The Canadian Hairless”, “Moonstone Cats” and “Canadian Sphynx” – with time, “Sphynx” became the official name.
Breeding programs in the United States and the Netherlands were based on this original line but have also continued to include hairless cats that appeared spontaneously among domestic cats. The Cat Fanciers Association (CFA) accepted this unusual looking breed for registration and competition in the Miscellanous Class in February 1998.
The Sphynx Cat –
The Sphynx’s most striking feature is his coat, or rather its lack of one. Although they appear to be totally naked, these cats usually have fine down all over their bodies, especially on the paws, tail and face. Their skin is said to feel like warm chamois, or the skin of a peach.
The unique look does not end there. Sphynx cats have wrinkled skin, especially around their head and neck, and especially large ears. These, along with large and expressive lemon-shaped eyes, create the exceptional alien look that is second to no other cat.
Sphynx cats are extremely affectionate and need a lot of human attention. They usually get along fairly well with other cats and dogs. These naked cats crave warmth and are often found in warm places or even wrapped around their favorite human’s shoulders.
The Sphynx Cat – Special NeedsThe lack of fur does not make the Sphynx a low-maintenance cat. The skin of the cat still secrets oils to nourish the non-existent coat and frequent baths are essential. Sphynxes also need to be kept in a warm environment. If living in a cold climate, adequate heating is required.
Owners of a Sphynx cat should receive detailed guidance from the breeder of their cat and follow the advice with great care.
The Sphynx Cat and AllergiesContrary to what some people believe, Sphynxes are not hypoallergenic. These cats still produce the protein to which allergic people react and shed it in their saliva and dander. The lack of hair may help to reduce the reaction in some people, but others are just as allergic to Sphynxes as to other cats.
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