Elf Cat


elf cat
Elf Cat Photo of Kessler from Kristen Leedom’s cattery
 ©
copyright Kristen Leedom

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Introduction

This is an entirely new breed of cat at 2008; a deliberate hybridization of two well known cats, the Sphynx and the American Curl. The result, as expected, is an extremely interesting hairless, curly eared cat. This breed is at the early stages of development and is yet to be recognized by the cat associations.

The creators of this new breed of cat are Karen Nelson and Kristen Leedom, who have 16 years of combined knowledge and experience in the breeding of Sphynx cats.

Being a hybrid of the Sphynx and American Curl this cat has the characteristics of both. 

Karen and Kristen have drafted a breed profile for their cat (see below).

elf cat
Photo of Kessler: © copyright Kristen Leedom

The Foundation Cats – the Sphynx and American Curl

{Note: the cats portrayed here are not the actual foundation cats in this program}

1. The Sphynx

The Sphynx is a strong, agile and fairly large cat and these characteristics are carried forward to this new breed. The Sphynx is energetic, playful and above all said to be the most intelligent of all cat breeds. I can confirm through personal experience that they like human attention and are sometimes monkey-like in their agility, which is expressed through their mischievousness. Look at the photograph below for instance and the photograph in the middle of the Sphynx page

sphynx cat
Photo of Sphynx: by Skithund (Flickr)

The hairlessness (or near hairlessness to be more accurate) is due to a recessive gene mutation. With careful breeding the Sphynx is a strong and robust cat with no inherent genetically based health problems. {see also genetic diseases in purebred cats}

A hairless cat needs to be washed periodically including the ears (with care). This cat is best kept indoors for warmth and protection. These matters apply equally to the Elf cat.

Some characteristics of the Sphynx are naturally incorporated into the Elf Cat breed standard.

2. The American Curl

american curl
Photo of American Curl: by tanakawho (Flickr)

The American Curl is named after her curled ears, the result of a naturally occurring genetic mutation. Also the mutation that causes the curled ears has no secondary ill effects. As a result, this foundation cat is also a good all round healthy and strong cat, making an ideal co-founder of this breed. This is a medium energy cat.

Elf Cat – Appearance and Character with reference to the breed standard (profile)

You can see the full breed standard (profile) on the Elf cat website. I only cover some of the most notable sections of the breed profile. This is a  medium to large muscular cat and they have a bit of a belly (a particular characteristic of the Sphynx).

The head has prominent cheek bones that are very apparent. Another distinctive feature of the head is the prominent whisker pads.

The most distinctive feature is the ears (even more so than the hairlessness), which you can see clearly in the photographs. The gene that creates these ears (from the American Curl foundation cat) is dominant and as mentioned, benign, which means that the mutation does not produce negative secondary features which would make breeding doubtful.

The ears are “moderately large” and they should “curve back in a smooth arc”. The curl should be between 90º and 180º. As expected there are no “ear furnishings” (ear hair). The heading picture illustrates the ears well.

The neck is medium in length (my comment: the neck of a Sphynx cat is to my mind long, so this shortening is due, it seems, to the influence of the American Curl, a far more cobby cat).

The Elf cat retains the whip-like slender and tapered tail of the Sphynx.

The coat/skin – This cat is not completely hairless (neither is the Sphynx). The body can be completely hairless or be covered by a fine down-like fur. The skin should, ideally, be wrinkled particularly around the shoulders, ears and muzzle. There are usually no whiskers and if there are they are short and sparse.

See this interesting cat at www.elfcats.com and at sphynx-cattery.com/elfcat.html (link broken at 29th August 2011) and you can contact the creators of this breed from the websites.

I’d like to thank both Karen and Kristen for letting me present this cat on my website and in granting permission to use their photographs.

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