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.