While I love any and all cat breeds. Persians do have a special place in my heart. But today, we are talking about something completely different.
They may not be everyone’s cup of tea. But they are an affectionate, active and uniquely beautiful cat.
In 1966 a hairless kitten was born in Toronto, Canada. This natural genetic mutated kitten was the birth of the Sphynx cat we know today. While this originated naturally it was breed with normal haired cats and then back again to hairless breeds. The diverse breeding created a genetically sound cat with few serious health problems.
- medium sized and muscular
- large, lemon-shaped eyes
- large wide open ears
- playful and energetic
- prefer to live with other pets and an active household
- attention-seeking personality
The most notable characteristic is that they look naked, or hairless. Although, they are not completely hairless. they have a thin layer of hair which can feel like peach fuzz. While it does not require the daily brushing like a Persian does and will not shed, this is not a low-maintenance cat. All cats have natural body oils, which are normally absorbed by the hair. Because they don’t have hair the oils and dander can build up on the skin. Because of this bathing is required 1 or 2 times a week. Their ears and claws need to be cleaned weekly as they get very dirty. If they are not bathed regularly the oil builds up and you will find oils stains on your furniture. So baths and grooming is necessary, but not the constant vacuuming necessary with Persians.
When you touch a Sphynx you will notice they feel very warm. This is because their body temperature is 4 degrees warmer than most cats. They frequently seek warmth. They like to lay on warm laptops, electronics, next to radiators or like to sleep with other animals and people to stay warm. They love laying in the sun due to the warmth. But you need to be careful them getting to much sun which can cause sunburn.
Sphynx must be kept indoors only. Their skin can sunburn easily and do not do well in cold temperatures. Some people like to put clothing on cats to protect them from cold temperatures and the sun. While they may look fragile, they are not. They are very active, robust and agile.
Some would assume that these cats would not cause allergies. This is usually not true. People who suffer from cat allergies are not actually allergic to the hair itself. They are allergic to a protein which is found in cat saliva. Unfortunately, there is no such thing as 100% hypoallergenic cats. The degree of cat allergies vary from person to person. And anyone with cat allergies will tell you that some cats bother them more than others and it is not clear why. There are some who say Sphynx cats cause less allergic reactions while others say they cause more because of the excessive oils.
I have a friend who has a daughter that is severely allergic to cats and they have 2 Spyhnx cats. Just being in the home her daughter does not suffer from any allergy symptoms. However, when she pets and cuddles the cats, afterward she starts to display allergy symptoms and must wash her hands and face after a petting session. In contrast, when she enters my home she immediately suffers allergies as there is certainly cat hair (despite my best cleaning efforts) throughout my home.
This is certainly just anecdotal evidence and may not be other people’s experiences. Another explanation is that people can develop resistance to their own cats but will exhibit allergies to unfamiliar cats.
While this is a rare breed of cat. You can still check shelters and rescue groups as they often have purebreds looking for new homes. Here are some resources for rescuing specific cat breeds.
Do you have a Sphynx cat? What do you think of them?