Currently there are both American and European (or Canadian) Sphynx variations. The Canadian Sphynx line began in Roncesvalles, Toronto in 1966 when a white domestic shorthair gave birth to a black hairless kitten named Prune. He was mated back to his mother to produce another “naked” offspring. These cats were purchased by Ridyadh Bawa. He and his mother, Yania, a Siamese breeder, and Kees and Rita Tenhoves, used the cats to develop the Sphynx. They gained and then lost provisional breed showing status in 1971 when the CFA ruled that an insufficient gene pool existed and no consistent standard was present. From there, the development of the breed relied on Mother Nature and the work of many people who identified and placed hairless cats with various breeders. Thanks to selective outcrossing with American Shorthairs and the Devon Rex, the Sphynx gene pool has broadened. In the 1990s, sufficient numbers of these cats appeared for their popularity to grow. The breed gained ACFA Championship status in 1994 and there are now five international breeder groups.
Friendly, inquisitive, and intelligent, the Sphynx is a definite lap cat if for no other reason than it craves your body warmth!
Friendly, inquisitive, and intelligent, the Sphynx is a definite lap cat if for no other reason than it craves your body warmth! Look for your Sphynx to sleep with you from day one. Open and gregarious, this cat will greet anyone who comes in the house. They get along well with other pets, and are highly active. This cat can entertain himself for hours on end, and they love their toys. Loyal, dedicated, and a pure joy, people who live with this kitty say they are the best and most affectionate feline companions they’ve ever known.
Without question, the bald, wrinkled Sphynx is an odd-looking cat. Their wrinkled faces are often compared to the wise character of the Jedi master “Yoda” from the Star Wars movies, while others feel the Sphynx cat has a “smile” reminiscent of the Buddha. These cats have incredibly soft skin that feels like chamois leather. They are warm to the touch and love to cuddle, especially during the winter months. They have long toes that they use very much like fingers.
The Sphynx is seen in a variety of colors including white, black, blue, red, cream, chocolate, lavender, fawn, and cinnamon. These cats can also display the following patterns on their skin: tabby, mackerel, spotted, patched, tortoiseshell, calico, and bi-color. Some Sphynx even display color pointing.
Although the Sphynx is a hairless cat, they do have grooming and maintenance requirements. Normally, a cat’s hair absorbs the oils that build up on its skin. This cat needs help to take care of this chore with weekly baths, otherwise, owners will soon find brown, cat-shaped stains on their furniture. Additionally, care must be taken to minimize the amount of sun exposure he receives. They can develop sunburns and be prone to skin cancers. This breed should never be left outside unattended. In the winter, they will need sweaters and coats to help them stay warm. These cats are “heat seeking” for good reason; they get cold! The Sphynx is not actually hypoallergenic. Cat hair does not trigger allergies. The culprit is the protein Fel d1 found in feline saliva, and in the animal’s sebaceous glands. Consequently, people who have cat allergies may actually experience a more acute reaction when coming into contact with this breed.
Photo credit: Eric Isselee/Shutterstock
Amy Tokic, Editor of PetGuide.com, is a passionate animal lover and proud pet parent of Oscar, a Shih Tzu/Chihuahua cross, and Zed, a Japanese Chin. Her love of animals began in kindergarten, when she brought her stuffed dog Snoopy into class with her every day. Now, she writes about her adventures in pet ownership and tirelessly researches products, news and health related issues she can share with other animal enthusiasts. In her free time, Amy loves perusing used book and record stores, obsessing over the latest pet products available and chasing squirrels with wild abandon (a habit attributed to spending too much time with her pooches).
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