Although there are records of hairless cats as far back as the early 1900s, the origins of the modern Sphynx cat date to 1966. It was then that a pair of domestic shorthair cats in Toronto, Canada produced a litter with a hairless kitten, thanks to a random genetic mutation. In the following decades, breeders across North America and Europe began pairing hairless cats to “perfect” the breed, leading to a modern Sphynx breed that is stable and vigorous with a large gene pool.
The most noticeable physical characteristic of the Sphynx cat is, of course, its hairlessness. You may be surprised to learn, though, that not all Sphynxes are completely hairless—most of these cats have a fine down, or fuzz, covering the body. Sphynxes’ skin pigmentation is what gives them their color, rather than the fur color itself as is the case with most cat breeds.
Sphynx cats are medium- to large-sized and boast big, open ears that are somewhat reminiscent of bat ears. The eyes are wide-set and open, giving the Sphynx a friendly, inquisitive appearance. Sphynx cats are also noted for their wrinkles, which are usually most prominent around the shoulders, between the ears, and near the muzzle.
Sphynx cats have a hearty appetite and a high metabolism; this means that they are typically very energetic. You’re likely to see a Sphynx climbing, jumping, and performing acrobatic maneuvers that other cats wouldn’t attempt! Sphynxes love attention and are curious, inquisitive animals. They’re also very intelligent and friendly—they’re an excellent choice for families with young children or other pets.
The Sphynx is generally a very healthy breed, and there are no specific health problems that they’re predisposed to. Sphynxes’ dietary and care needs are similar to other cats, with one notable exception: skin care. Sphynxes will require regular bathing (at least once a week) to remove the build-up of body oil that isn’t absorbed by fur. They’ll also need proper sun protection if they venture outdoors.
Would you like further insight into these fascinating cats? Call today to learn more about the Sphynx!