In the mid-1960s, a domestic cat gave birth to a hairless kitten in Toronto. However, the kitten was not like a typical fur-lacking cat. On account of natural genetic mutation, the cat was almost hairless and got its name (Sphynx cat) from a famous Egyptian mythical deity—the Sphinx. The Sphinx had a lion’s body and a man’s head. The Sphynx cat and various other naturally hairless cats have been found around the world, not just in Canada. Cat lovers in Europe and America have bred the Sphynx cat with normal coated cats and bred them once again back to hairless cats for more than forty years. The purpose behind these selective breeding activities was to create a genetically sound cat with a large gene pool and hybrid vigor. To learn more about hybrid vigor, click here.
With angular faces, almond-shaped eyes, large ears, and smooth bodies, Sphynx cats are living (and purring) proof that there’s more to a cat than its fur coat alone. Now, let’s take a look at 5 of the most interesting facts about this cute hairless cat breed.
1. Sphynx Cats Are Extremely Social
Clearly, Sphynx cats don’t look like felines, and actually appear more like mole rats! Some people might assume that these cats are timid, dull and unappealing, but remember being told that you should never judge a book by its cover? Well, add a caveat to that—don’t judge a cat by its fur!
Sphynx cats might be devoid of fur, but not of warmth and love. Experienced cat breeders will tell you that Sphynx cats have an extremely gregarious nature. They display a high level of curiosity, energy, intelligence and affection for their owners.
Sphynx cats are extremely adorable, and are widely known to perform silly antics to catch their owner’s attention. They can sometimes be clumsy in their attempts to be the center of attention. They’re energetic and mischievous, and will always want to be near you if you happen to be an owner of this adorable feline. They often act more like dogs, frequently greeting their owners at the door and eager to meet and investigate strangers. Although sphynx cats are known to attract human attention, they also enjoy the company of certain other breeds of cats (and even some breeds of dogs).
2. Hairless, but from the Cold North
If I tell you to think about a mammal that is native to the cold climes of North America, you would probably expect it to be hirsute as it crawled over snow in the chilly winter. Ironically, the hairless Sphynx cat’s ancestors are from the cold north. After an Ontario cat gave birth to a hairless kitten in the mid-1960s, two separate sets of Sphynx kittens were born to owners in Minnesota and Toronto. Thanks to efforts of the cat breeders back then, the lineage of Sphynx cats prospered over time. This is not just in Canada; Sphynx cats also exist in other parts of the world. For instance, the Canadian Sphynx has a hairless doppelganger—the Donskoy from Russia.
3. Sphynx Cats Can Get Sunburn
After reading the heading of this paragraph, don’t start slathering sunscreen on your beloved Sphynx every time it sits in a sunbeam. However, you should bear in mind that due to its lack of a dense coat, a Sphynx cat’s skin is more sensitive than other cats. So yes, they can get sunburnt. They are a warmer breed of cats as well, roughly 4oC warmer than average. If you take them out on a scorching summer afternoon, they can get overheated. While they can go outside in temperate weather, they should mostly be kept as indoor cats.
4. Sphynx Cats Need Regular Baths
Just because Sphynx cats are furless, you might be fooled into thinking that these Sphynx felines are clean and hygienic. However, this isn’t completely true. Although a typical cat’s coat acts like a magnet for dust particles, pollen, and other substances, a Sphynx cat’s skin produces a lot of oil. Oil secretion on the skin of normal cats will help them keep their fur sleek, but in the case of Sphynx cats, it forms a greasy film on their bodies. Cat experts suggest that Sphynx owners should give the cats baths at least once a week to keep them clean, fresh and hygienic.
5. Owning a Sphynx Cat is an Expensive Affair
Unlike regular felines, Sphynx cats need a lot of attention, care and food. Sphynx cats are extremely hungry, thanks to their incredibly high metabolism, and always have an appetite. They need a diet that is high in protein for optimal health. In other words, keeping them well-stuffed and healthy means putting aside a bit of a larger budget for high-quality cat food.
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