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Sphynx

 Sphynx

Description

The Sphynx is one of the most unusual and rare of all domestic feline breed. Its most distinguishing characteristic is that it appears to be entirely hairless. It’s not, really. The down-covered Sphynx is the product of a spontaneous natural mutation, a not-uncommon occurrence in the world of cats. The fine fur tends to be more visible on young kittens and then thins or disappears with age. The markings and coloration are highly unique to each cat, with coloration depending entirely on the pigmentation of its skin. All of the usual domestic cat colors and coat patterns can be found in the Sphynx. The texture of the cat’s skin resembles peach fuzz, feels like suede, and is noticeably warm to the touch. The whiskers and eyebrows may not be present, and when present the may be either whole or broken. Kittens are more uniformly wrinkled than adults, but mature Sphynx should retain some wrinkling, specifically around the neck and the shoulders. This breed ranges from medium to large in size (8-10lbs), making it heavy and muscular for its appearance and size. The ears are large, wide and upright similar to that of a bat. The eyes are widely set and round with a slight slant at the upper corner. The eye color can vary. The Sphynx belly is plump, often being described as having a pot belly. This is an expected characteristic of the breed and should not be discouraged, especially since the Sphynx has a hearty appetite and a very high metabolism.

Origin

Hairless cats predate the Sphynx and cat be documented back to antiquity, particularly in Mexico and France, but the Sphynx as we know it today is originally from a Canadian breed that developed a spontaneous mutation.  In 1966, one of a litter born to an ordinary short haired domestic cat in Ontario was born hairless. A Siamese breeder purchased that hairless kitten and used him as the foundation for a new breed with little or no coat. Breeders in Europe and North America set to work perfecting the breed, outcrossing the Sphynx with normal haired cats, and then back again, selecting kittens with physical and mental qualities that would be best for the perpetuation of the breed. This selective breeding produced a string and vigorous breed with a wide gene pool.

Compatibility

People who love them say that living with a Sphynx is substantially different from having a “regular” cat. This highly energetic cat is acrobatic, much like a monkey. They are excellent balancers show will climb bookshelves and doors and enjoy balancing on their owners’ shoulders like a bird. They love human attention and will perform shenanigans for everyone’s entertainment. They love company, so if you work during the day, it’s a good idea to have two so they can play and sleep together while you’re gone. If you have more than one, expect to find that they travel in pairs or “packs”.  The Sphynx will follow you wherever you go, and are always eager to help with whatever you’re doing. They do not especially like being carried or vigorously petted, although they will curl up on your lap or snuggle up next to you under the covers.

These cats prefer soft warm surfaces and are perpetual heat seekers, gravitating towards these areas in the house. Because of its friendliness and sense of humor, along with ease of handling, the Sphynx is a favorite with show judges. It does best as an indoor, and these same charming qualities can get it into dangerous situations. The Sphynx is a genuine extrovert and will demand your undivided attention.

Health

Genetically, the breed is strong and not prone to any illness specific to the breed. Because of their relative hairlessness, they are especially vulnerable to climatic changes, particularly extremes of heat and cold. Despite its apparent lack of hair, it is important to groom them. For a regular cat, body oils are absorbed by the fur, but the Sphynx, clearly lacking in that attribute, does not have a natural way of keeping the oil on the skin balance. They also must have their skin protected from the sun.

Sources

Cat Breeds list. (n.d.). Retrieved from catbreedslist.com.

Pawnation. (n.d.). Retrieved from pawnation.com: http://www.pawnation.com/cats/breeds/

Petwave. (n.d.). Retrieved from petwave.com.

Vetstreet. (n.d.). Retrieved from vetstreet.com.

Wikipedia. (n.d.). Retrieved from wikipedia.org: http://en.wikipedia.org