If there's a cat that stands out among the rest, it's the Sphynx. These non-furry felines may look sophisticated and graceful, but they're the best playful pals.
Sphynx cats first hit the big screen in 1997 as Mr Bigglesworth, the favourite pet of Dr Evil in Austin Powers. More than 20 years on, these adorable, hairless kitty's are currently one of the top ten most popular cat breeds in the world. In fact, feline lovers have been enamoured with them since the sixties.
History reveals that the Sphynx originated from Ontario, Canada and is the result of a genetic mutation. Back in 1966, a domestic shorthair cat gave birth to a hairless kitten named Prune. She was considered genetically special and was later bred with a Devon Rex to create a hairless breed.
They were initially referred to as the Canadian Hairless Cat. This was later changed to Sphynx due to their resemblance to the cats found in Egyptian hieroglyphics.
The Sphynx of today is actually the result of two more naturally occurring mutations of shorthair cats (one in 1975 in Minnesota farm and the other in 1978 in Toronto). Crossbred with Devon Rexes, breeders along the way developed the strong breed we now know and love.
• THEY'RE NOT NUDE
Yes, they're famous for their almost nude appearance. Yes, they're considered hairless cats. However, you might be surprised to know that sphynxes are covered with a fine layer of downy fuzz that's difficult to see but incredibly soft to the touch.
• SOCIAL SPHYNX
These not-so-furry felines are incredibly loving, sociable and playful. While some other breeds may go into hiding for hours, the Sphynx will greet you at the door and spend hours right by your side.
It may be because he's looking for a warm body to snuggle against; however, Sphynxes are known to love lots of attention and touch.
• MORE FOOD, PLEASE
Thanks to their high metabolism, the Sphynx love food and are known to eat more than your average cat. While they may love to eat, it's important to remember they have a sensitive digestion system, so serving small meals throughout the day works well for them.
• SHIP SHAPE SPHNYX
While the Sphynx may be hairless, it doesn't mean they don't need to be groomed. It is because of their lack of hair that they need a little extra attention.
Without fur to absorb their body oils, their skin tends to get oily. This means that while you don't have to spend time brushing their fur, you'll need to bathe them once a week to remove oil build-up. Remember to scrub in between their wrinkles and folds.
• SUNBURNT SPHYNX
Another thing to keep in mind when caring for your Sphynx is to limit its exposure to the sun.
As they don't have a dense coat to protect their skin from the harmful sun rays, prolonged sun exposure can leave them sunburnt. Keeping them indoors is usually sufficient to keep them protected.
• NO, NOT HYPOALLERGENIC
They may be hairless; however, despite the rumours, a Sphynx cat, sadly isn't hypoallergenic. So if you're looking to adopt one, thinking their lack of fur won't bother your allergies, it might be best to reconsider before contacting a breeder.
Sphynxes still produce Fel d1 protein on their skin and in their saliva, which can trigger your allergies and cause your eyes to grow itchy and red.
By: Melissa Especkerman