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Sphynx

Sphynx

The most obvious feature of this striking cat is their lack of a fur coat; however, Sphynx cats vary in the degree of hairlessness, with some having a very fine ‘peach fuzz’ all over and others just a fine fuzz over the extremities. Due to the lack of fur, the Sphynx cats bone structure and musculature is there for all to see, and this is a remarkably robust cat, built on elegant long lines, with somewhat loose skin that forms wrinkles in some places. 

They have a somewhat wedge-shaped head with large eyes and ears, quite long legs and tail, and neat rounded paws.

The need-to-know
  • Benefits from an experienced owner
  • Needs high-level of enrichment including simulated hunting games and interactive play
  • Highly active and inquisitive cat
  • Sociable and dependent cat
  • Very talkative cat
  • Lean and elegant cat
  • Requires grooming once a week
  • Indoor cat
  • Not ideal for family homes
  • Can be regularly left for a few hours
  • Needs a calm environment

Key Facts

Lifespan: 8 - 14 years
Weight:  2.5 - 5.5kg
Colours:  Sphynx cats come in all colours and coat patterns, which can be seen in the very fine fur on their faces, and the pigmented skin over the body. 

Ratings

Family-friendly: 3/5
Playfulness: 4/5
Intelligence: 4/5
Tendency to vocalise:  5/5
Likes Other Pets: 2/5
Grooming needs: 3/5
Shedding: 1/5
Sphynx cat is standing on a windowsill

Personality

Another extrovert type, the Sphynx is an energetic, highly intelligent, curious and affectionate cat, described by many as being almost dog-like in their friendliness to both family and strangers. They are extremely outgoing, crave attention and will want to be involved in everything you do, to the point of potentially being irritating and in the way – be prepared to be supervised and assisted in all matters around the home, from paperwork to DIY, cooking to taking a bath!  

The Sphynx is also unusual in that they are extremely gregarious and will enjoy the company of other animals, particularly other Sphynx cats – note that this doesn’t mean they will entertain themselves, it means you will have several Sphynx cats supervising and assisting you at all times!  

Not unexpectedly for a hairless cat, they do like warmth and so can be extremely cuddly and enjoy sneaking under the duvet given half a chance!

Sphynx cats are having a nap on the sofa

History and Origins

Country of Origin: Canada

Other Names: Canadian Hairless Cat

These hairless cats were discovered in 1966 when a genetic mutation produced a hairless kitten in a litter of domestic shorthair cats in Ontario, Canada. There have been hairless cats known throughout history - in fact the Aztecs were said to keep them - and the hairless gene wherever it occurs (known also in dogs, guineapigs, mice and rats) has always appealed to some humans as an attractive feature to selectively breed for in pet animals. 

Most of the modern Sphynx cats today are descended from two kittens found in Minnesota in 1975, and three kittens found in Toronto in the 1978.  

Although often described as suitable for allergy sufferers, this is only true of the most hairless examples, and only true if the sufferer is allergic to hair, rather than cat saliva or dander. 

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