By Dr. Becker
The Sphynx cat’s somewhat intimidating looks hide his lively, mischievous, and affectionate personality.
Sphynx only look hairless – they’re actually covered in soft, fuzzy down. They need regular baths to remove the oils that collect on their skin.
These cats are natural entertainers and acrobats.
If you’re thinking of adding a Sphynx to your family, be sure to check your local shelters and rescue organizations for adoptable kitties.
10 Fun Facts About the Sphynx
The Sphynx Is a Relatively Young Cat Breed
The name and the appearance of the Sphynx give the impression this is an ancient, exotic breed, but that’s not the case. The Sphynx originated in Canada in 1966, when a strange little hairless male kitten named Prune was born. Prune’s offspring were also hairless, and a new cat breed was born.
The name Sphynx was chosen as a reflection of the breed’s sleek lines and resemblance to the iconic Egyptian statues.
The Sphynx Isn’t Hairless
Although many Sphynx look virtually naked and many people believe they are, these kitties are actually covered in a coat of fuzzy down that is very soft to the touch.
Sphynx can also have the same markings as other breeds (e.g., points, spots, tabby, etc.).
The Sphynx Has a Very Striking Appearance
This Sphynx has an unmistakable look, with his wedge-shaped head, enormous eyes and ears, and well-muscled neck. His body is also muscular, with a barrel chest and a full, round abdomen. His tail looks a bit like a whip, tapered at the tip, and some have a fluff of fur on the end.
The Sphynx has thicker paw pads than other cats, which makes him look at times like he’s walking on little cushions.
Sphynx Are Very Friendly and Affectionate
Don’t let the intense look fool you – Sphynx cats are not only outgoing and friendly (some say even dog-like), they also crave attention from their humans and love to snuggle.
Your Sphynx will want to be close to you at all times, partly because she loves the attention, and partly because she’s always looking for warmth. Sphynx are social to the point that they don’t do well left alone for long stretches.
You can expect your Sphynx to follow you around the house, curious about everything you’re doing and wanting to lend a paw. You can also count on her to greet guests to your home and entertain them with head butts and a bit of flirting.
Sphynx Have Toes Built for Action
Sphynx cats have incredibly agile toes. They use them like fingers to pick up things of interest to them!
Two Things Sphynx Need Plenty of: Warmth and Food
Your Sphynx is like a small heat-seeking missile, constantly in search of a warm target. If he isn’t cuddled up with you, expect to find him snoozing under a blanket, in the sunshine, or some other spot that gives off heat.
Sphynx have a very high metabolism and eat more than other cats. This is why they have a potbelly, which is a normal and healthy characteristic for the breed. However, this shouldn’t be a reason to overfeed your Sphynx, so if you’re not sure how many calories he or she should be eating daily, check with your veterinarian.
Sphynx Also Need Regular Baths
On a fur-covered kitty, the coat absorbs the oils produced by the body. Since Sphynx don’t have fur, the oils build up on their skin, which is why they need to be bathed weekly or every other week.
These kitties can also develop sunburn and skin damage from too much sun exposure, and since they have trouble conserving body heat, they need help staying warm in cold climates and during the winter.
The Sphynx Isn’t a ‘Hypoallergenic’ Breed
Cat allergies in humans are triggered not by fur or even dander, but by a protein found in a cat’s saliva and oil glands. This is why some people with pet allergies are actually more sensitive to Sphynx cats than other breeds.
Sphynx Are Natural Performers
The Sphynx is a bundle of energy and incredibly agile, much like a monkey. This kitty can comfortably balance atop doors, bookshelves, and human shoulders. And because she loves attention, your Sphynx will often do whatever it takes to be entertaining and bit of a show-off. This kitty is highly intelligent, curious, and mischievous, so she can be a handful at times!
Sphynx Are Generally Healthy
The Sphynx is a generally healthy breed, but like all breeds, he is prone to certain health conditions, including hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, and a neurological disease called hereditary myopathy, which affects muscle function.
Sphynx can also develop certain skin conditions, and periodontal disease, so it’s important to train kitty early to accept regular tooth brushing.