Physical characteristicsYou will hardly confuse a Sphynx cat with any other because these cats look... naked. The Sphynx is one of those few hairless breeds existing in the feline kingdom. Medium sized, they have an athletic body with fine boning and strong elegant legs; the back legs are slightly longer than the front ones. The paws are oval. The chest is rounded, wide and full. The tapering tail is long and whippy. The wedge-shaped head is slightly longer than wide. The whisker pads are very prominent, which gives the muzzle somewhat a square look. Most individuals lack whiskers. Even if they are present, they are sparse and short. The nose has a slight stop. The chin is strong and well-developed. The ears are extremely large. The skin is all over the body distinctively wrinkled. In fact, this is present in haired cats too, but their fur hides the wrinkles. Males weigh 8 to 12 pounds, females weigh 6 to 9 pounds.
TemperamentExtremely affectionate and active, Sphynx cats will follow you everywhere trying to help with everything you do. They love high spots, so do not be surprised to find yourself watched from the top of doors and high shelves. Don't ask how they got there. Sphynx cats tend to wag their tail like dogs. In fact, in the French breed standard, these cats are described as "part monkey, part dog, part child and part cat". Extremely curious and intelligent, with a personality of their own. They do not do well if left alone all day long, so another feline companion is recommended. This may also prevent your Sphynx from waking you up in the night.
Coat and groomingDo not let the "naked" appearance mislead you. Even though these cats appear hairless, it is not quite so. They do, actually, have a fine down coat that feels like suede. Sphynx cats can also have short, fine hair on the feet, on the outer edges of the ears, and on the tail. Even though it may seem weird, but regular grooming is necessary for these cats. It helps remove sebaceous secretions from the skin, which are an absolutely normal thing but the Sphynx has no fur to absorb them. Weekly baths are also recommended. If grooming and bathing aren't done on a regular basis, Sphynx cats can become sticky to the touch and develop skin problems. Shedding is very little in these cats.
All colours and patterns are possible, including the colourpoint one.
Photo of Sphynx kittens by Niklas Pivic
HealthGenerally, Sphynx cats are healthy. However, some bloodlines are prone to feline hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM). Sphynx cats can also get a sunburn more easily than furred cats.
Other interesting factsSometimes, Sphynx cats can be even more allergic than ordinary shorthair or longhair cats. This happens because the allergy isn't caused by cat fur but by cat saliva. Sphynx cats groom themselves as much as other cats, but, lacking the fur to absorb the secretions, they can cause more allergic reactions in some people.
The Russian variety of Sphynx cats is known as the Don Sphynx.
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