Here are 18 facts about the Sphynx cat which has gained in popularity in recent years.
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- There are several starting points for this hairless cat breed because hairlessness in cats, due to a recessive genetic mutation, has occurred many times in different places. Convention has it that the Sphynx started in Toronto, Ontario, Canada in 1966, when a domestic shorthair, random-bred cat gave birth to a hairless offspring among normal kittens who was given the name Prune. Prune was bred back to his mother to produce more hairless cats. I have read that this line of hairless cats died out. Although the origins of the Sphynx cat are shrouded in a lack of clarity 😒.
- The other major starting point or origin of this breed would be in Minnesota when the same spontaneous genetic mutation produced a hairless stray barn cat in Wadena, Minnesota, on the farm of Milt and Ethelyn Pearson. The hairless cat was the offspring of a shorthaired cat by the name of Jezebelle. Her hairless kitten was named Epidermis (female). Jezebelle delivered Dermis, another hairless female. The two hairless cats were sent to the Z. Stardust cattery in Oregon and this was another starting point of the Sphynx breed.
- The Don Sphynx is the Russian variant of this hairless cat. It is not the same breed.
- People generally love or loathe the Sphynx cat.
- The breed is not entirely hairless although they look hairless as they are covered with a very short down hair which is almost invisible and cannot be felt when touched.
- There may be some short hair on the tail, back of the ears, toes and on the muzzle. They sometimes have crinkly whiskers. The CFA breed standard states that there are usually no whiskers but if they are present, they should be short and sparse.
- The Sphynx cat is often shown with highly wrinkled skin which seems to be particular to this breed because domestic cats don’t have this sort of skin. It seems to be associated with the mutation which causes the hairlessness. Kittens will have more wrinkles than adults and a wrinkled skin is desirable as per the CFA breed standard.
- Sphynx cats are predisposed to sunburn and therefore they need to be kept inside both for that reason and for the simple fact that they feel the cold being without nature’s coat.
- The Sphynx is a medium-sized, muscular cat. It is not fine-boned or delicate. This cat should not have the slender delicate appearance of the Oriental.
- The tail should be “whip-like”.
- The cat should give the appearance that they’ve just eaten a large meal causing the abdomen to be well-rounded.
- The toes are long and in between the toes you will see webbing. This is not specific to the Sphynx and is present on all domestic cats but it noticeable on hairless cats.
- The Sphynx is described as a “hot water bottle cat” because the body temperature seems to be about 4° higher than that of other cats.
- Sweaty secretions from the sebaceous glands accumulate on the wrinkled skin and need to be washed regularly together with the insides of the ears as there is no hair to filter out dust.
- The sphynx has extremely large ears which are set upright. The forehead should be wrinkled and the cat have a characteristically worried look.
- This cat breed is shown in all colours of all divisions in all categories. Despite having no coat or almost no coat you will see colour patterns. This is due to the fine down hair being coloured with the presence of melanin pigmentation. The pigment producing cells called melanocytes may also produce colour patterns because they are visible without the coat.
- The Sphynx is known to be intelligent and in one study was reckoned to be the most intelligent cat breed. They are monkey-like in their activity. Some people describe them as “part monkey, part dog, part child and part cat”.
- They have loud voices which can put even the voice of the Siamese cat to shame.