The so called hairless Sphynx, also known as the Canadian Hairless Cat. The gene of hairlessness has appeared as a spontaneous mutation several times during the past century, in well documented occurrences in Europe, Australia and America.
famous early hairless cats are probably the two cats owned by a New Mexico
resident that have come to be known as the "Hairless Mexican". Most sources
agree that the first breeding program for hairless cats was initiated in Canada
in 1966, when a domestic shorthaired cat produced a hairless kitten. These early
cats were at first called "The Canadian Hairless", "Moonstone Cats" and
"Canadian Sphynx" - with time, "Sphynx" became the official name.
The Sphynx cats that we have today descend from a couple of domestic shorthair
farm cats that produced a hairless kitten. The hairless kitten named "Epidermis"
was put into a successful breeding program in Oregon. The Sphynx cat became a
recognized breed in the mid 1970's.
Breeding programs in the United States and the Netherlands were based on this
original line but have also continued to include hairless cats that appeared
spontaneously among domestic cats. The Cat Fanciers Association (CFA) accepted
this unusual looking breed for registration and competition in the Miscellaneous
Class in February 1998.
The Sphynx breed was developed with the help of the Devon Rex, the Devon Rex
sometimes occur with sparse fur.
To most people, hairlessness is a denial of everything that cats are about, and
it is true to say that, although a curiosity the Sphynx has won a growing band
of admirers (myself included!).
It is interesting, however, that the history of the Mexican Aztecs contains
stories of a breed of hairless cats which in winter developed a slight growth of
hair on the back and along the ridge of the tail. Some modern Sphynxes have the
The hairlessness, so called, because in fact the mature Sphynx has a very short
downy coat which can be felt or seen only with difficulty, but no true eyebrows
or whiskers - which is caused by a recessive gene. The mutation changed not only
the hair length but also the body type, so that the Sphynx does not merely look
like a domestic cat without hair. It looks like an entirely different species.
in cats with normal coats, the hair regulates body temperature, and the Sphynx's
lack of hair causes it to sweat and also makes it warm to the touch.
The Sphynx has a long fine and muscular body, barrel-chested, with long slim
legs and small dainty paws. The tail is long, thin and hard. the neck is is long
and supports a head which is slightly longer than it is wide. The ears appear
disproportionately large, wide at the base and round-tipped. The eyes are
deep-set and slanted. The skin should have the texture of chamois and may be
covered with a very short down. On the ears, muzzle, tail, feet and testicles,
there will be short, tightly packed soft hair. The skin is very wrinkled in
kittens and adults should retain as many wrinkles as possible, especially on the
head. These wrinkles provide much needed insulation. The lack of a thick
insulating coat makes the Sphynx very warm to the touch. Although these cats do
not have hair that needs to be combed, they do secrete an oil from their skin
and require frequent bathing.
Sphynxes are said to be champion purrers, is very people-orientated and
affectionate. They love attention! They will greet their owner when they come
home and are very talkative. They are highly intelligent, playful, cuddly, often
described as being "part dog, part child, part monkey, and part cat" - They like
to snuggle next to you to sleep and they want to be under the covers. They have
fun playing with appropriate cat toys and table tennis balls, most of all, they
really love affection from their owner. Some owners have described the Sphynx as
a "clown cat" - with it twisting and turning in mid-air and other antics it
certainly can be a very humorous cat at times.
Sphynxes are essentially indoor cats as they have so little protection from
adverse weather, and they do not like resting on cold surfaces. Their body
temperature is a degree or two above the average for normal cats and they have
voracious appetites to compensate for the heat loss.
Sphynxes have a characteristic pose, when standing, of raising one foreleg.
Kittens are born with a covering of fine down which they lose as they mature.
Coat colours and patterns can sometimes be seen faintly in the adult down and on
the underlying skin. They come in all colour variations.
The Sphynx cat requires weekly maintenance. Trim their nails as needed, your vet
can instruct you on how to trim the nails. The Sphynx needs a bath once a week,
use only products labeled "for cats only". Cats are very sensitive, so it is
very important to use products that are made specifically for cats. it is
important to dry them with a towel after a bath, and not allow them to chill.
The ears need to be cleaned once a week. The proper cleaner can be purchased
from your vet or a good quality petstore. Use Q-tips to clean and clean only the
area that you can see. If you have not done this before, your vet will show you
the area of the ear to clean and the proper method.
Remember the Sphynx is an indoor cat only. Their skin is very sensitive due to
the lack of hair and they can sunburn easily. If possible, make a place in front
of a window where the sunshine comes in. They will likely try to get into open
washers or dryers, especially ones that are warm and cosy. Try to keep the
washer and dryer doors closed and always double-check before starting a wash or
The Sphynx and allergies, contrary to what some people believe, Sphynxes are not
hypo allergenic. These cats still produce the protein to which allergic people
react and shed it in their saliva and dander. The lack of hair may help to
reduce the reaction in some people, but others are just as allergic to Sphynxes
as to other cats.
Sphynx owners should receive detailed guidance from the breeder of their cat and
follow their advice with great care.