In 1966 a domestic cat gave birth to a hairless kitten in
Toronto Canada. It was discovered to be a natural genetic
mutation and the Sphynx cat, as we know it today, came into
existence. This cat and a few other naturally hairless cats have
been found worldwide; produced by Mother Nature, they are
the foundation for this unusual breed. Cat breeders in North
America and Europe have bred the Sphynx to normal coated
cats and back to hairless cats for more than thirty years. The
purpose of selective breeding such as this was to create a
genetically sound cat with a large gene pool and hybrid vigor.
When properly bred, the Sphynx is a very robust breed with
few serious health or genetic problems.
Sphynx are not always totally hairless and there are different
degrees of “hairlessness.” There can be a fine down on the
body which makes the cat feel like a warm peach. Some short
hair is usually present on the nose, ears and sometimes on toes
and tail. Seasonal and hormonal changes in the cat may also
effect hair development. The texture of Sphynx skin has been
compared to a suede hot water bottle or warm chamois, and
some cats almost have a buttery feel to the skin. The skin is
loose on the body which leads to that extra wrinkling effect
you see on the cat. All colors and patterns are possible and may
be presented at any stage of maturity. The color and/or pattern
of the cat are seen in the pigment of the skin and the few hairs
that are present. One of the most often questions asked about
Sphynx is, “Don’t they get cold?” If it is too cold for you,
then it will probably be too cold for a hairless cat. However,
these cats are smart enough to find a warm spot in the house,
curled up with a dog or cat or warm human, on top of your
computer, or they will be snuggled under your bed covers.
Sphynx are medium sized substantial cats and not fragile in
any way. As with most cats, adult males are larger than females.
Sphynx have sturdy boning, good muscle development and a
bit of a firm belly as if they just finished a nice dinner. They have
an open-eyed and intelligent expression with extra wrinkling
on their head which some see as a worried or inquisitive look.
Sphynx are extremely lovable, known to perform silly antics
and can be downright clumsy in their attempts to be the center
of attention. They have abundant energy and are mischievous,
always wanting to be with you, on you or showing off for you.
Sphynx seem to prefer human attention but enjoy the company
of dogs and all other breeds of cats.
Because of the lack of hair that would normally absorb body
oils, Sphynx need periodic bathing, ear and nail cleaning.
A bath is not difficult with Sphynx, as most cats have been
acclimated from kitten hood with bathing and proper
grooming from their breeders. Some people who suffer from
cat allergies can tolerate living with Sphynx. This is because
there is no airborne hair to deal with and the reactive chemical
in their saliva is lower than many breeds. Regular bathing also
keeps the dander at bay. However depending on the type and
severity of the individual’s allergic reactions, there are some
who still cannot tolerate any feline dander.
Sphynx were accepted for competition in the Championship
class by The Cat Fanciers Association (CFA) in February of
2002. They are one of the most popular breeds in the cat fancy
today. Sphynx lovers consider them to be exceedingly rare and
unusual, and because of this most breeders have waiting lists
for their kittens. BUT...Once you have had a Sphynx throw
their arms around your neck and give your face loving wet
kisses, you too will be hooked on this wonderful breed.
Pricing on Sphynx usually depends on type, health, personality
and bloodlines, distinguished by Grand Champion (GC)
National Award winning (NW) and/or Regional Award
winning (RW) or Distinguished Merit (DM) parentage. It
is recommended that breeders have kittens available between
twelve and sixteen weeks of age to insure all inoculations,
physical development and social stability needed for their new
home environment, showing or transport are completed. A
good health checkup from a Veterinarian and previous health
scans of the sire and dam prior to attaining a kitten from a
reputable breeder, is always a good idea. Sphynx kittens need
a good diet high in protein and nutrition for optimum health.
Sphynx as most cats, have natural scratching behavior so
acceptable surfaces (e.g. scratching posts) should be provided.
CFA and the Sphynx Breed Council disapprove of declawing
or tendonectomy surgery for any cat. Sphynx are truly a rare
treasure and should be kept indoors, neutered or spayed
and provided with loving and interactive surroundings to
maintain a healthy, long and enjoyable life for you and your
new family member. For more information, please contact the Breed Council Secretary for this breed.