Some describe the Sphynx breed as a bit like marmite. You either love it or hate it. It is perhaps one of the most extraordinary breeds and also one of the most recognisable due to the cat's distinctive lack of hair. It is a common assumption that the Sphynx is a completely hairless cat however this is not true. Although their coats certainly appear hairless, they do in fact have an extremely short fine down that feels like soft suede when stroked.
Although named after an ancient mythological creature (The Sphinx), the Sphynx cat pedigree is in fact a fairly modern breed only dating back to the mid 1970s. This is almost a century later than some other cat breeds such as Abyssinian and Burmese.
Hairlessness is a rare spontaneous mutation in cats, but several early attempts in the 1960s to breed hairless offspring led to fertility problems, and it wasn't until the 1970's that a successful breeding program was established in Oregon. Due to these fertility problems the Cat Fanciers Association withdrew recognition and it was only in 1998 that they officially recognised the Sphynx for registration and competition again in the miscellaneous class and 2002 that championship status was awarded.
Today's Sphynx has been bred to normal coated cats and back again many times over the last 30 years, which has resulted in a genetically robust breed that suffers few health problems or genetic defects.
Although most Cat Fanciers welcome the Sphynx breed as an interesting addition to the world of cats, it has been rather controversial. Some would argue that hairlessness is in itself a genetic defect that should not be encouraged, but others would counter that humans are similarly deficient when compared to our primate cousins, and yet we have coped well enough.
The first distinctive feature you will notice about the Sphynx is its serious lack of hair and wrinkly skin. They are no wrinklier than any other breed of cat but the lack of fur accentuates the wrinkles a lot more. Wrinkles are a very desirable characteristic in competitions when it comes to the Sphynx.
The Sphynx is of medium build, males tend to be slightly larger than females and they have a bit of a belly giving the appearance they have just eaten. The Sphynx has an almost heart-shaped head with the chin much narrower than the forehead and their ears are very large compared to the size of their faces. Their eyes are oval shaped and the colour depends on the colour of their coat, hazel and green are also accepted eye colours. Their coats come in a variety of shades.
Many people assume that because the Sphynx lacks a fur coat, allergic reactions will be dramatically reduced or non existent. However, this is not the case; the dander and saliva that all domestic cats have is still present in the skin of the Sphynx. It is this and not the fur that is responsible for the allergic reactions that many people suffer from. The main difference is that your Sphynx will not moult all over your house and leave the substance you are allergic to amongst the fur.
Bathing and Grooming your Sphynx
Although the Sphynx lacks a fur coat they still need to be bathed regularly to prevent oily secretions building up on their skin. It is best to get your Sphynx used to the bath at an early age because it will be something you need to do periodically to ensure your cat's coat is well maintained and doesn't cause any irritation.
Sphynx Character and Temperament
To say that the Sphynx is a lively cat is quite and understatement, they will spend hours playing and showing off to their owners in a cute and mischievous fashion. They absolutely adore human attention and demand a lot of it but are also lovable and extremely charming. They are fun to be around, always there to greet you on your return home and will snuggle up to you when you're feeling down. It is not uncommon for a Sphynx cat or kitten to curl up under the duvet with you go off to sleep.
Sphynxes tend to get on with children and other domestic animals very well and you will be surprised at just how intelligent they are. They can be trained to do 'dog-like' activities and even be toilet trained! Sphynxes are known for their large personalities and loyalty to their owners.
9 - 15 years
Average Litter Size
Around four kittens is an avarage number.