The Sphynx is known as a hairless breed of cat. However, it is not really hairless. It is covered in a very short, soft and fine fur called “down”. Some people call this a “peach-fuzz” because it is like the velvety skin of the peach. Other people call this cat a “hot water bottle cat” because they feel warm to the touch.
It is a purebred cat and a pedigree cat. This means that each Sphynx cat has a family tree going back 4 years or more. The parents and grandparents will be pure Sphynx cats making the family “purebred”. Please take note that there are several different breeds of hairless cat. The other best know hairless cat is probably the Russian Don Sphynx.
There have been hairless cats worldwide for thousands of years. In the middle part of the 20th century (1901-2000) cat breeders wanted to breed a hairless cat. From 1966 to 1980 there were at least four attempts to start this cat breed. However, the history of the beginnings of this cat is not clear. There are different stories. Here are four:
- In 1966 a Sphynx cat called “Prune” was born in Toronto, Canada. Prune was the first Sphynx but his family died out. His mother was Elisabeth.
- In 1975 and 1976 two hairless kittens named Epidermis and Dermis were born in Wadena, Minnesota. Her mother had a normal coat. Her name was Jezebelle.
- In 1978, in Toronto, Canada, a cat with hair gave birth to hairless kittens who were rescued. These cats were possibly the beginnings of the Sphynx breed. Breeding really began in New York, USA by Vicki and Peter Markstein.
- In 1980 two hairless kittens called Pinkie and Paloma were born in Toronto.
How It Looks
As I said, it looks hairless but is not. It is hard to see the fine fur or even feel it. The cat is medium-sized and muscular. It weighs 8-15 pounds which is 3.5-7 kilograms. The skin is wrinkled. The Sphynx is meant to have wrinkled skin on the head and body. Kittens are more wrinkled than their parents.
The stomach looks round as if the cat has eaten dinner! This is quite noticeable.
Another noticeable bit of anatomy is the long toes. Sometimes the paws can look like a person’s hands. Their long toes allow them to pick up things more easily in their paws. They can use them to climb better than other cats.
The tail is like a rat’s tail, long and whippy. As you can see, the famous Sphynx ears are very large and upright.
Finally, although it sounds strange, this cat comes in a range of colors and patterns. They are not just skin colored. The colors and patterns are in the skin and in the fine downy fur. It can be hard to see.
Caring For The Sphynx
There are some things to do when caring properly for a Sphynx cat. Because they have almost no fur, they have less protection from temperature changes and the sun. They can get cold and sunburned. For these reasons, it might be sensible to put special clothes on a Sphynx and keep them indoors or at least out of the bright sun. They should be groomed weekly including a full wash and inside the ears. The wash gets rid of natural body secretions that get trapped in the wrinkles. And the ears are not protected by fur so dirt can get inside them.
This cat is playful and has some of the skill and behavior of a monkey. They are like little acrobats. People who know cats well say they are very friendly and intelligent. Some people say they are the smartest and friendliest of all the cats. The Sphynx is active and they like to talk. Female cats can make a roaring sound when ready to mate with a male cat.
There is no doubt that this is a very special cat.