Few breeds are as controversial as the extraordinary looking Sphynx, which is also known as the hairless cat. Sphynx cats are descended from a mutation which occurred in Canada, but similar cats have been found in France, Australia and Morocco; the Brown and White colour combination is one of the most common. The earliest records are to be found in the Aztec culture, where the cats were documented for 500 years, in what is present-day Mexico.
The odd appearance of the Sphynx belies its sweet nature and friendly disposition. Due to its lack of hair, the Sphynx has no natural protection from extreme heat or cold and must be watched carefully.
- BREED DEVELOPED: 1966
- COUNTRY: Canada
- TYPE: Shorthair
- BODY SHAPE: Lithe with large, rounded ears
- MAXIMUM WEIGHT: 7kg/15lb
- PLUS POINTS: Highly affectionate, with a unique appearance; adapts well to apartment living
- WATCHPOINTS: Chilling and sunburn can be problems if the Sphynx is allowed outdoors.
The Sphynx may not have what most people would describe as appealing looks, but it has a very endearing and affectionate nature. The cat isn’t bald, but has a fine covering of short hair over its body, with longer fur covering its ears, face, feet and tail. It is a very elegant cat, often resting with a front paw lifted off the ground in a pose characteristic of the breed
Even without much fur, however, the cat’s coloration is easily seen, thanks to the pigmentation present in its skin. Bicolours, such as brown and white, are common, but other varieties have been developed. There are even some blue-eyed Siamese-type Sphynxes with characteristic coloration.
Despite its lack of fur, a Sphynx cat needs routine grooming, but with a soft cloth such as a chamois, rather than a comb. Its skin should be wiped at regular intervals to remove the sweat which accumulates, which can lead to infection of the follicles.
Its skin feels warm to the touch, and the Sphynx has a slightly higher body temperature than other cats. Its lack of fur means that the skin is easily injured, so Sphynxes should be kept away from other cats, in case of fights.
- The Sphynx has been called the ‘suede hot-water bottle’ because of the fine, peach-like down covering its body.
- The breed ranks among the most expensive of all domestic cats.
- The name for the breed comes from the Sphynx images I associated with Egyptian culture.
- Sphynxes have a thicker covering of fur as kittens than as adults. It is lost as they mature.