The Sphynx is a breed cat with a very special appearance. The cat has almost no hair and has a lot of wrinkles. Besides this special appearance the cat also has a very nice character. The Sphynx is a sweet, gentle and curious cat. Are you curious why the Sphynx has almost no hair? Then feel free to read on!
The ancestry: a genetic mutation perpetuated by humans
The Sphynx originates from Toronto, Canada. In 1966 a kitten was born here without her. This has to do with the genetic predisposition of the cat. The Sphynx has a natural genetic mutation that prevents them from getting hairs. Therefore the Sphynx is a special breed. Breeders from North America and Europe have continued to breed with this breed, for a period of more than 30 years they have bred both Sphynx with and without hair. By breeding very specific with strict requirements a genetically healthy breed has been created. This breeding has been very difficult because hairlessness is a recessive gene. This means that the gene is more often not transferred than not to the next generation. Breeders have spent a lot of time to breed enough cats that have this gene to create a large gene pool for this breed.
So people have had a great influence on the creation of the Sphynx. Its appearance was created by chance and maintained by man. At first this cat was called the Canadian hairless cat. Later this became Sphynx, because the appearance of this breed of cat is very similar to the monument from Egyptian antiquity.
The character: a very intelligent, curious but above all sweet cat
The character of the Sphynx is very special. The Sphynx has a lot of character traits that you also like to see in your fellow man. The cat is very loyal and listens very well to its owner. The Sphynx is always very friendly towards his owner and always knows how to feel if there is a situation where he can get a stroke over his sphere. Furthermore the Sphynx is very active and likes to do things. The cat is also very curious so there is a good chance that you will come and have a look around when you have visitors.
A Sphynx gives a lot of love to his or her owner. For example, the cat loves to cuddle and this breed often sleeps with their owner under the blankets. The cat likes to spend a lot of time with his or her owner. When you choose for a Sphynx you have to take into account that there is a big chance that it will follow you from room to room to keep you out of sight. If you are away from home a lot, the Sphynx may not be a good choice.
The Sphynx works well with children. However, the children will probably have to get used to the special appearance of the cat. The Sphynx also gets along very well with other animals. For example, if you already have a dog in the house, this is not a problem. If you let the animals get used to each other quietly, both animals can live next to each other in good harmony and even become best friends. The cat is also very playful and likes to play outside in the garden. The cat is also very intelligent. There are also several stories known from owners that the Sphynx provides itself with its own toys in case the cat gets bored. You can think for example of a branch in your garden or other material that ends up in its path.
If you are planning to buy a Sphynx it is important to remember that the cat is very active. So make sure that there are enough activities within reach for him, otherwise there is a chance that he will go out and do some research on his own. It is also important to know that the Sphynx can get cold quickly because of its hairlessness. In the winter months it may be wise to have a heater on so that the cat can warm up nicely. The cat is very intelligent and looks for the warm spots in a house when it is cold.
Appearance: a unique specimen
The appearance of the Sphynx is what makes this cat quite special. In general people think that all cats have hair, but the Sphynx is a special breed cat. It is not the case that a Sphynx has no hair at all. The super fine hairs are only almost invisible to the naked eye from afar. Many people often have to look twice before they realise it is actually a cat. These people don’t know that a cat can have hardly any hair either. However, it is noticeable that the hairs near the nose, ears, toes and tail are often a bit longer than the rest of the body.
Partly because the Sphynx has almost no hair, many people with a cat allergy can live with the Sphynx. This is because there are almost no hairs in the air, the cat has to take a regular bath so it leaves little skin flakes and because the saliva of the Sphynx does not contain the dust in its saliva that many people are allergic to. It is important to wash your Sphynx regularly as cats’ coats normally absorb body oils and retain dirt from outside. This is not the case with the Sphynx.
The body of the Sphynx has a medium length. The body is quite large and muscular and therefore feels quite hard. The cat usually weighs between 3,5 and 7 kilograms, where males are a bit heavier than females. Furthermore the cat has a rather wide and nicely rounded chest. What also stands out is the round belly of this cat. It looks like the cat has eaten just a bit too much so the belly is a bit swollen. The back of the cat is a bit raised because the hind legs are a bit longer than the front legs. Because of this the cat stands a bit forward in the jumping position. The legs are normal in size and are nicely in proportion to the rest of the body. They are quite muscular so the cat stands well on the ground. The feet are oval in shape and the pads are quite thick. The tail is quite long and very slim and flexible. Because of this the tail has the look of a whip. The tail also tapers into a fine point. The neck is rather muscular and also nicely rounded. The neck has a small bow. The skin is quite loose on the body so the cat has a lot of wrinkles.
These wrinkles are best visible at the head. Because of the many wrinkles it may seem as if the cat is looking a bit pathetic. At the wedge-shaped head the cheekbones are clearly visible and nicely rounded. The muzzle looks rather square because of the cushions near the whiskers. The nose is straight and the bridge of the nose is a bit higher than the rest of the head. The chin of the Sphynx is also well developed and is in a straight line with the upper lip. The ears are very big and have a broad base. Besides big ears the Sphynx also has very big eyes in the shape of a lemon. The eyes are quite far apart from each other. All colours are accepted with the eyes as long as they go well with the coat colour.
The skin and coat of the Sphynx
The Sphynx has virtually no coat. Only the feet, ears, tail and the scrotum often have short and fine hairs. The bridge of the nose often has a normal coat. The rest of the body can vary from place to place and from cat to cat. Here spots can be completely hairless but there can also be very short downy hairs present. These downy hairs are hardly visible to the naked eye from a distance. When you stroke the coat/skin of the Sphynx it gives some resistance. The skin is quite loose so the cat is also a bit wrinkled. This is the case for the muzzle, ears and shoulders.
The different colours and patterns are not easy to take apart. Almost all the colours and patterns can occur in the Sphynx but are not always easily visible. In the sun the colours are a bit more intense and often easier to see. For the exact colours and patterns it is wise to take a look at the breed standard.
The upbringing: let a kitten get used to human touch.
It is very important that a kitten grows up in a trusted environment. Until a kitten has reached the age of 14 weeks it will not be able to be placed in a new household, either physically or mentally. It is important to leave a kitten with his or her litter and in the presence of the mother until this age is reached. In this way a kitten can slowly get used to life and learn the basic skills – such as being house-trained – in a familiar environment.
This first period in a kitten’s life is also called the socialisation period. This period consists of two parts. The first socialisation period takes place when a kitten is 3 to 8 weeks old and the second socialisation period takes place when a kitten is 8 to about 14 weeks old. In this period a kitten is, as it were, prepared for the rest of his or her life. For example, a kitten learns to deal with scary noises and gets used to human touch.
It is important to pay sufficient attention to this socialisation in order to prevent the development of anxiety disorders. It is also very important that your kitten wishes for human touch. This is especially important with the Sphynx as this cat needs a little more care than other cats. Because the cat has virtually no fur it is important that the cat bathes regularly to stay clean. By bathing a kitten from an early age he gets used to this and the care in later life will be a lot easier.
In addition to the socialisation period, it is also very important that a cat is raised well in his or her new household. It is important to make it clear to a cat what the rules are in a house. You can do this by rewarding your cat for good behaviour and addressing bad behaviour. By doing this immediately after the good or bad behaviour, your cat will discover a connection and show good behaviour more often.
Care: give your cat a regular bath
It is important that you take good care of your Sphynx so that it stays healthy for longer. Good grooming ensures that your cat is comfortable in his skin and reduces the risk of certain diseases developing. Because the Sphynx has virtually no coat, caring for this cat takes a little more time than other cats.
Most cats have a full coat which absorbs the body oils well. With cats the occasional combing of the hair is often enough to keep them in good health. Because the Sphynx has almost no hair it is important to bathe your cat regularly. Because there are hardly any hairs on the body, the body oils cannot be absorbed well. This results in a greasy layer on the skin which you can best clean by bathing your Sphynx at least once a week.
It is also important to clean your cat’s eyes and ears properly. These places can sometimes get a little dirty. By removing this in good time, you can prevent the development of infections. A cat’s nails also need some care. Because a cat naturally scratches a lot to remove the dirt under its nails it is wise to get a scratching post in the house for this purpose. In addition, it is important that you cut your cat’s nails once in a while to prevent deformities.
Just like with other cats it is also important to make sure you get enough exercise and love for Sphynx. This can be done by playing with the cat on a daily basis but also by getting enough active toys in the house. Cats – especially the Sphynx – are naturally very active and full of energy. They need to be able to put this energy into something.
The food: give your cat a balanced diet
It is very important for a cat’s health that this food is of good quality. You can choose between wet food and dry food. For example, wet food means raw meat. Raw meat is a good source of food for cats as cats are by nature true carnivores. The cat naturally hunts mice and other vermin that consist for the most part of meat. A cat therefore derives most of its nutrients from natural proteins and protein. Wet food such as raw meat only has the disadvantage that it does not have a long shelf life.
Dry food like cat food has this. Cat kibble has a very long shelf life and gives little mess. The disadvantage is that the food looks less like the natural food of the cat. In addition, cat kibble often contains quite a lot of carbohydrates while cats have problems processing it.
Whatever feed you choose, it is important to look carefully at the ingredients. Make sure you have enough natural proteins but not too many carbohydrates. In any case, don’t feed your cat cereals and vegetables as a cat will get virtually no useful nutrients from them. In most cases, however, there is a breed-specific food that is completely tailored to the wishes of a particular breed. For example, the Sphynx has a somewhat higher energy requirement compared to other cats. For the Sphynx, ROYAL CANIN Sphynx Adult is a good example of food that takes this into account.
Diseases that are common in this breed
Unfortunately, cats, like humans, can also be affected by diseases. There are diseases that can be specific to a certain breed, but also general diseases that can occur in almost all cats. Almost all good breeders test for certain hereditary diseases so that the chance that these diseases are passed on to a litter is as small as possible. Often breeders also give a document with a kitten in which the absence of certain diseases is guaranteed.
The Sphynx is generally a fairly healthy breed. There are not really certain diseases that are specific to this breed. However, the cat may have a number of general disorders that can occur in several cats. These diseases are:
- Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM)
- Hereditary myopathy
HCM is a hereditary heart defect. The risk of thrombosis is quite high with this abnormality as the blood is less well pumped through the body. There are a number of symptoms from which you can recognise this disease. Your cat has less appetite for food, gets faster breathing and can paralyse the hind legs.
Hereditary myopathy is a condition that affects the functioning of the muscles. The muscles of the cat start to work less and less so that the cat also has difficulty swallowing. There is a chance that the cat will no longer be able to swallow at all, resulting in death. This is a rare disorder and the breeders are hard at work breeding away this disorder.
How old can a Sphynx get?
A Sphynx usually becomes between 15 and 20 years old. Exactly how old your cat gets depends on several factors. With good care and sufficient love, life expectancy will increase. Diseases and ailments can throw a spanner in the works and reduce life expectancy considerably.
What you need to know before you take this cat into your home
When you take in a Sphynx it is important that you are well prepared. By taking a good look at the character of a certain breed and by looking at what is needed in terms of care, you will not come across any surprises.
In addition, it is important to know that the Sphynx is a fairly rare and sought after breed. Because of this the demand is higher than the supply, you will most likely end up on a waiting list. So do not assume that you will have your Sphynx in your home at very short notice. To end up on a waiting list it is wise to register at a cattery.
When you get your Sphynx it is wise to keep it indoors. Because it is a rather rare breed it can happen that your cat is closed for example. Outdoors you cannot guarantee the safety of the cat. It is also important that your cat has been dewormed, given the basic inoculations and possibly chipped. This chipping is certainly sensible with this breed as the breed is quite rare. When your cat is stolen or lost it is easy to find its way back.
In general, if you give your cat enough love and attention, he will have a loving and long life.
How much does a Sphynx cost?
The Sphynx usually costs between $1750 and $4400. The cat is very expensive because it is so rare and they are purebred. How much the cat exactly costs, depends on several factors. For example, the quality, size and coat colour of the cat can all influence the final price. Moreover, there is a big difference in price between show cats and pets. Cats that are suitable as show cats are a lot more expensive than cats that are not.
Share your experiences with the Sphynx
The Sphynx has a special appearance because the cat has almost no hair. We are very curious what made you decide to take this breed of cat into your home. You can let us know by leaving a comment on this article!