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What is a Sphynx Cat?

By Sheri Cyprus
Updated Jun 04, 2024
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The Sphynx is a rare cat breed that is either hairless or nearly hairless. Some Sphynx cats have more hair than others, but often the only hair this breed has is an almost invisible downy layer of fur and maybe whiskers. The Sphynx cat has a barrel-shaped chest, long legs and small paws. The body, tail and neck are long and the ears of a Sphynx cat are quite large in comparison to its head size.

Even though the Sphynx breed is basically hairless, it's not hypoallergenic. Yet, it still may be a good choice for those with milder allergies. The Sphynx cat usually needs a bath once a week because it lacks a coat to hold in its body oils. Care should be taken to dry the cat well after bathing. Of course, all domestic cats are meant to be indoors, but this is especially true for the Sphynx as it has no protection at all against the elements.

Like cat breeds with coats, all Sphynx cats don't look the same. The skin still has markings such as stripes, spots or points. Although the Sphynx cat may look quite delicate without fur, it's said to be a hardy breed. In general, Sphynx cats are known to have few genetic or other health problems.

The Sphynx is a social cat that usually doesn't like to spend mush time without human companionship. Sphynx cats are said to be easy-going clowns most of the time and are often quite active and curious by nature. The Sphynx may do well with another cat or even a dog in the household.

The development of the Sphynx cat breed was not intentional. It was the result of a natural mutation. A hairless kitten was born to a domestic cat in Toronto Ontario and this started the Sphynx breed, which is also known as the Canadian Hairless cat. By the mid 1970s, the Sphynx became established as a breed and breeding programs were underway in countries such as the Netherlands and the United States. The Devon Rex breed as well as naturally hairless domestic cats contributed to the development of the Sphynx cat.

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Discussion Comments
By anon85825 — On May 22, 2010

Sphynx are wonderful pets!

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