HISTORY OF BREED
Hairless cats have spontaneously occurred in many places including the United States, Canada, Australia, and France. In 1902, Mr. Shinick in Albuquerque, New Mexico, acquired two hairless cats from local Pueblo Indians. These two cats were brother and sister, Nellie and Dick, and were never bred. In 1950, two hairless kittens were reportedly born of Siamese parents in Paris, France. On January 30, 1966, in Ontario, Canada, a normally coated domestic black and white female, Elizabeth, produced a hairless black male kitten named Prune These two cats were acquired by Ridyadh Yania Bawa to be used in a breeding program. Keese & Rita Tenhove joined the Bawas in this breeding of hairless cats that were called Sphynx.
The beginning of the Sphynx breed, as we know it today, began in June of 1978 in Toronto, Canada, when a Siamese breeder, Shirley Smith, was called upon to rescue two abandoned kittens born of a domestic short hair female. One of these kittens was a domestic longhair female and the other a hairless black and white male, Bambi.Mr. Hugo Hernandez imported the first Sphynx -cats from Canada into the Netherlands. He worked together with a Mrs. Hannie Nathans. Mr. Hugo Hernandez had two naked females, Punkie and Poloma and one male, Bambi, found in Ontario that was used in the Sphynx breeding program.
The Sphynx was accepted for registration, and competition, in the Miscellaneous Class by The Cat Fanciers' Association (CFA) in February 1998.
The Sphynx is a very robust breed with few health or genetic problems. It is a substantial cat, medium sized and strong, with adult males being larger than adult females. Adult females usually weigh between 6 and 9 pounds, while males are usually between 9 and 15 pounds; however, this can vary to some extent either way. Sphynx have sturdy boning and good muscle development and should have a bit of a belly as if they just finished dinner. The body is fine boned but muscular with a barrel chest. The legs are long and slender and have a bow legged appearance caused by the barrel chest. The paws are neat and oval shaped with long toes. The tail is long and tapering and hard to the touch. They have an open-eyed, intelligent face and a friendly expression. The head of this medium sized cat resembles that of a Rex although there is no genetic relation. The nose is short, eyes are deep set and the shape of a lemon; the eye color and the nose leather should reflect the color of the body. They can be registered in a wide variety of cat colors. The color is seen in the pigment of the skin and on the few hairs that they do have.
HAIR & SKIN
The main feature of a Sphynx is its lack of a fur coat! Although they are called hairless they do have a covering of very fine hair all over their body with noticeable hair often present on the nose, tail and toes. Whiskers & eyelashes are ___to non existent. Most often there is a fine down on the body, which makes the cat feel like a warm peach. The most pleasant texture seems to be on those cats with fine, short hair covering their bodies. The texture of the Sphynx skin has been likened to suede, a hot water bottle, or a heated chamois. Their skin temperature is higher than that of normal coated cats. They are extremely warm and soft to touch and have earned the name of 'suede hot water bottle'. Unusually for a cat the Sphynx sweats over it's whole body surface and needs to be regularly bathed or sponged to remove the oily secretion. Some are more oilier than others.
Wrinkled skin is highly desirable, particularly around the muzzle, between the ears, and around the shoulders.
Sphynx are extremely inquisitive and love to be the center of attention. They are a very lively, comical, and intelligent breed. They are extremely friendly and outgoing, always being in the mood to snuggle.
Sphynx have an abundance of energy and mischief and are always with you, on you or showing off for you. They perform silly antics for your entertainment and are sometimes downright clumsy…on purpose it seems.
Part monkey, child, and dog is probably the best way to describe them. They prefer to sleep under the covers next to their humans at night and bask in the warm sun during the daylight hours. They are not usually timid and aloof, as some domestic cats can be. Sphynx cats are not a one-person cat; they get along with every member of the family. There is never a dull moment when you have a Sphynx cat in the house to entertain you. Because of their extremely affectionate nature, they do best in homes with other pets.
They make great show cats because of this "look at me" attitude and they are easy for judges to handle. They have an abundance of energy and mischief and are always with you, on you or showing off for you. "Love Mooch" is the perfect term for these amazing cats.
Because of the lack of hair that would normally absorb body oils, the Sphynx needs to be bathed periodically. As a result, Sphynx cats do require weekly, monthly, to no bathing at all (depending on the individual cat). Some cats do stay cleaner than others. Bathing is a five-minute task easily accomplished since Sphynx kittens are accustomed to bathing at an early age. Some actually enjoy their baths and will purr while being lathered up and it takes no time at all to dry a Sphynx. Care is taken not to get soap/water in their ears and eyes while bathing.
Sphynx only require a bath when dirty, as too much bathing can cause skin to get to oily. Their noticeable lack of hair causes an oily build-up on the skin, especially on the insides of the legs and ears. Gentle goat milk soap, Oil of Olay Bath Wash or Dove Moisturizing Bath Wash can be used to bathe Sphynx. Baby wipes come in very handy on those days in between their baths and I prefer the type with aloe, which is soothing to the skin.
Due to the lack of hair, Sphynx cats' ears tend to build up with a brown waxy substance and require weekly to monthly cleanings (again depending on the individual cat). We use OtiCalm ear cleaner. After putting several drops in each ear, massage the base of the ear and allow your Sphynx to shake his head (to loosen the debris). Carefully use Q-tips to remove the wax. Care has to be taken not to injure their ears with the Q-tips. Never go farther down than you can see. Ear cleaning also takes only a few minutes.
One of the questions most asked is "Don't they get cold?" Well, of course, if it is too cold for you it will be too cold for a hairless cat too. However, these cats are smart enough to find a warm human, dog or cat to curl up with or they will get under your bed covers. Sphynx are indoor cats and should not be left outside unattended. As a general rule, Sphynx cats are comfortable when we would be comfortable [naked]. During the cold winter months,Sphynx cats should be provided with a heated pet bed or mat.
Because Sphynx cats tend to burn more energy to keeping warm, we suggest a high-quality food to maintain their supposed higher metabolisms. We recommend Wellness, Nature's Variety, and Science Diet Hairball food. We suggest the hairball food for the added fiber. Fresh water and kibbles should be made available at all time.Our cats are raised on a nutritious diet of dry and canned food. All our cats are free fed all the kibbles and fresh water they desire and are supplemented daily with wet food & vitamins.