Sphynxes – a variety of hairless cats

Sphynxes are unique breed, and despite its somewhat repulsive appearance, these cats have a kind of magical aura and magnetism that lures you in. They differ from other breeds as they lack fur.

It is believed that the Sphynx is one of the oldest cat breeds. During the reign of the ancient Egyptians, sphynxes were revered and sacred animals. Hairless Egyptian cats are lost in history, but their species were revived in Canada about 60 years ago.

Sphinx cat

How were the Sphynxes bred?

don sphynx cat

The true history of the ancient hairless cats is unknown. The origin of the modern Sphynx is considered to be Canada, but there is no actual information from where these cats came from. Sources claim that the cats were known in Mexico, India, America and other countries.

The first mention of the breed can be found in Aztec paintings. Most likely, those were not Sphynxes but Mexican hairless cats, which disappeared in the early XIX century.

According to legend, the Egyptian Sphynx was a guide between the worlds of humans and gods. Unusual cat statues guarded the entrances to the sanctuaries of the Egyptian pharaohs.

The most recent history of this breed begins in the XX century. The cat reappeared in Toronto in 1966. It is not known how, but one of the ordinary short-haired cats gave birth to a hairless kitten.
There have been attempts to recreate this with similar species. This is how the modern hairless breed was bred with the distinctive features of not having any hair.
The first “domestic” hairless cats were bred by Tatyana Smirnova, who brought two cats to Russia from America.

Description and breed standard

At first glance, it seems that the sphynxes don’t have any hair, but the opinion that these cats are completely hairless is wrong. Their fur is very short and feels velvety to the touch.

Their characteristics can tell everything about them: although the hairless cat looks like a terrible, scary beast, the phrase “a beautiful cat inside out, sweet and sociable” fits its description the best.

Today, we can recognize it by three types: Canadian, Donskoy and Petersburg Sphynx. Each of these species has a breed standard approved by the Association of Cat Lovers.

Brief description of the sphynx types:

Canadian Sphynx

Canadian Sphynx

This has been a breed for approximately 60 years. Their body is covered with barely a noticeable puff and has a small number of skin folds. The Canadian cat’s body is usually smaller in size than the body of a normal cat. By nature, they are surprisingly intelligent and loving, and it’s easy to create a bond with them.

Donskoy Sphynx

Donskoy Sphynx

This breed obtained its name from the city where it was bred – Rostov-on-Don. By size, Donskoy is larger than the Canadian cat. They have a lot of skin folds on their bodies. The first breed standard was proposed in 1992.

Peterbald Sphynx

Peterbald or the Petersburg Sphynx

Peterbald is an artificially bred breed, originating from St. Petersburg. The Donskoy Sphynx and Oriental cats were involved in the crossing experiment. The breed emerged about 20 years ago. Currently, experienced specialists are still working on improving this breed.

 

Standards of all types and characteristics of all breeds (comparative table)

Type

Canadian Sphynx

Donskoy Sphynx

Peterbald Sphynx

HeadThe length of the head is slightly bigger than its width. The nose is straight. A furrow between the nose and the forehead. Well-defined cheekbones. The neck is medium length, muscular. Whiskers may be absent.Well-defined cheekbones and eyebrows. Eyeballs are visually identifiable. There are vertical folds of the skin on the forehead. There are also folds on the head and neck. The nose is straight.  Fangs can stick out from under the upper lip. Whiskers are thick or absent. There are “bald spots” on the head.Wedge-shaped head. The forehead is flat. The profile is slightly prominent. The neck is thin and long. Cheekbones are flat. Whiskers are curved or broken off near the skin.
EarsLarge, like the wings of a bat. Upright.Large, wide, slightly inclined forward. With rounded tips.Wide, large, placed to the sides (as if they continue the shape of the wedge).
EyesWide, narrow at the edges (resembling the shape of a lemon). Slant-eyed. The eye colour can be different.Almond-shaped eyes. Inversion of the eyelids. Eye color – any type.Almond-shaped. Small in size. Eye color – bright green or blue. Can be dark blue.
BodyAverage size. Pretty muscular. Soft to the touch.Body size is average but muscular. It’s hot to the touch. It is the largest of all the species.A muscular, medium sized body. The chest and shoulders are not wider than the hips. Representatives are smaller in size than CS and DS.
Weight
adult cat
3.5 – 5 kg3.5 – 7 kg3 – 5 kg
PawsStrong, of medium length, proportional to the body. Hind limbs are a bit longer than the front.The forelegs are straight. Long paws with monkey-like fingers.
TailFlexible and long, tapering to a fine point.
FurThe appearance of hairlessness. The length of the fur is no more than 2 mm. Smooth to the touch. The skin is thick and wrinkled.The skin is elastic, folded. In the cold seasons, it can be covered with fluff.A thin undercoat. On top of the body, there are fewer wrinkles than on the top of its head. To the touch, the fur feels hot.
ColourAny colour.

 

Brief description of the experimental hairless cats types

Ukrainian Levkoy

Ukrainian Levkoy

Ukrainian Levkoy is an experimental cat breed, the first kitten appeared in 2004 in Ukraine. The main specific feature of this hairless cat breed is half-standing forward-curving ears. The name appeared due to the similarity of the breed’s ears with a Levkoy flower. Levkoys are quite rare, lovely and playful cats.

Bambino

Bambino

The Bambino cat is a new experimental breed, the first kitten was born in 2005. Bambino is a result of a crossbreeding of Sphynx and a Munchkin. The breeder gave the new cat breed the name “Bambino” (baby). And it absolutely matches the breed’s appearance and character. These lovely bold cats have short legs and thus are small. Bambino is a funny, playful and friendly cat.

Elf Sphynx

Elf

Elf cat is a wonderful hairless cat. The main distinctive feature of the breed is the shape of the ears. Their ears are really curled and the tips are bent back. This hallmark gives the cat breed the appearance of a mythical creature from Celtic epics. Because of this funny feature, they were also named Elfs.
It received its name precisely because of this funny feature.

Dwelf Sphynx

Dwelf

The Dwelf is a new small short-leg t and hairless cat breed with curly ears. The breed’s name appeared thanks to the elf and dwarf. Breeders crossed three cat breeds, the Sphynx? the Munchkin and the American Curl. Dwelf cats are good socialized and active. They are perfect companions with sometimes dog-like personality.

Minskin Sphynx

Minskin

Minskin is a relatively new cat breed, which only appeared a few decades ago, already in the 21st century. The main differences are the short legs and some fur. Minskin cat is the result of crossing between two breeds, Munchkin and furry Sphynx cats. They are often called hobbits precisely because of the furry paws.

In addition to these three species, there is another – the fourth type – the Bambino cat. It is a hairless cat with short legs. This breed was the result of a crossing between the Sphynx and the Munchkin cat.

The Sphynx colours

The color of the sphinx is diverse. They can be:

  • Solid colours: purple, gray, red, white, black Sphynx, pinkish color. They can also be blue.
  • Two-coloured: white-gray, gray-purple, black-chocolate.
  • Tabby-coloured: pattern on the fur.
  • Bicolored: the main color + white color.
  • Color point: similar to the color of Siamese cats.

Under the influence of sunlight, the cat can tan, and its color will become brighter.

Character

The breed may be distinguished by its repulsive appearance, but the sphynxes are friendly by nature and aren’t aggressive; in rare cases, they can be evil.

These cats love playing with toys, so owners will often have to clean up the scattered items.

The Sphynxes behavior at home is perfect as it does not have bad habits. These animals love receiving attention from humans, and they especially like it when people talk to the cats.

These animals take separation from people very hard. This breed tends to fall into depression if they are not receiving the attention they need. If something bad happens in the house, the cats become lethargic.

They are very vulnerable by nature. Therefore, if the owner is leaving for a long vacation, they should find some company for this cat. Sphynxes get along well with other animals, and by the way, this hairless cat is not afraid of dogs.

sphynx cat care

With children, these animals easily find a common language, and without any resistance, participate in games with children. They are not afraid of guests and often demonstrate their skills of eating food with their front paws. And these are only a few of the talents these intelligent animals have.

These cats can be trained, and then they can bring the owner objects in their teeth, open doors, and so on. The cat learns quickly to go potty in the tray, and you only need to show it once where it is.

The Sphynx should be raised by owners who don’t shout and assault them – they will not understand the reasoning behind such treatment. It is better to talk to them in a strict, emotional tone that the cats understand the best.

They don’t have a hunting instinct. This is due to its decorative nature. This breed doesn’t have whiskers, so they won’t be able to survive on the streets.

How to care for the Sphynx

Due to the peculiarities of the breed, the Sphynx must be cared for daily. Sphynx care should be based on the animal’s cleanliness. Many lovers of this breed do not know the whole truth about hairless cats, about their proper care.

Sphynxes, like people, sweat because sebaceous glands actively work under their skin. The skin becomes dirty, so you need to take care of the skin of the Sphynx every day.

The skin can be wiped with wet wipes. You especially need to wash the interfold zones. Water treatments for hairless cats, unlike other species, will accept it with pleasure. You can bathe the Sphynx once a week.

washing sphynx cat

You have to take care of its ears weekly. Gently clean the Sphynxes ears with cotton swabs soaked in a special solution. Dirty ears can indicate the presence of an infection in the ears.

Their teeth also need to be cleaned every day. The teeth of kittens are wiped with gauze, wound around the finger, and soaked in a herbal solution. Adult teeth can be brushed with a special toothbrush and toothpaste.

This cat breed does not have not only fur and whiskers, but they also don’t have eyelashes. Because of this, dust can get into their eyes, and in the worst cases, an infection can develop. Therefore, their eyes should be washed daily.

You can trim the claws yourself, but for the first time, it is recommended to do it at the vets.

Sphynxes are very clean cats, and their tray must be kept clean. Otherwise, an unpleasant surprise will be waiting for the owner in a secluded place.

The animal is very thermophile. If the room is cold, the owner has to get warm clothes for the pet. The recommended room temperature is 20-25 degrees. Sphynxes do not mind basking on top of a warm place, which is why you should place a small blanket or towel on top, so it doesn’t burn the cat.

Nutrition of the Sphynx

Sphynxes love to eat, so make sure you follow a feeding regime, so the cat will not have problems with excess weight. You need to look after the cat, so it doesn’t try to take leftovers from the table. The adult cats are fed twice a day. You should combine dry and natural food for the cat.
Pets eat low-fat meats, cereals, vegetables and fruits, egg yolks, dairy products (kefir, cottage cheese), cheese. For cooked food, you can add vegetable oil.

lot of sphynx kittens eating

Dry food must be of premium quality. It contains nutrients and minerals that will contribute to the full development of the cat.

The Health of the Sphynx

Modern Sphynx breeds have a good immune system, although there can be some special cases. Like all cats, representatives of the breed are contraindicated against drafts. Illnesses that Sphynxes can have are often associated with their hairlessness. The lack of hair exposes the breed to colds, dermatitis, and acne.

Ringworm is common for Sphynx cats, but thanks to its hairlessness, this can be detected faster than in an ordinary cat. If the cat has spots on the skin, then the nature of their occurrence should be determined only by a veterinarian.

Since Sphynxes love heat, and the skin has the property to tan in the sun, it is necessary to limit their stay in the sun to avoid them getting burned or having heatstroke.

Hot radiators and heaters are risk objects too. By the way, the body temperature of the Sphynx can reach 39 degrees, but no more. Many owners get scared by not knowing this, but do not worry – this is a normal temperature for a cat.

The ears of the animal are susceptible to an ear mite, so it is worth carefully monitoring the hearing of the pet.

Inversion of the eyelids or entropion in Sphynxes is very common and appears in severe forms. If not properly treated, the animal can lose its eyesight. If the animal’s eyes are watering, it is necessary to seek help in a veterinary clinic. Do not prescribe medication for your pet individually.

The health of a Sphynx also depends on how they are fed. With the wrong feeding schedule, the pet may suffer from obesity or develop a gastrointestinal tract disease. A fat Sphynx is clumsy and suffers from excess weight. While vitamins are very useful for Sphynxes, with proper food, cats can do without them.

Vaccination of kittens should be carried out in accordance with the vaccination calendar. The first vaccinations for cats are done after 8 weeks, then 12, and after a year.

How long does the Sphynx live?

The average life expectancy of the Sphynx is 10-17 years. With proper care and hygiene procedures at home, pets can live up to 20 years. In history, there are cases when the duration of the life of a cat reached 30 years!

You can determine the age of the cat by the deterioration of teeth. At the age of approximately 10 years, the teeth begin to fall out.

How much does the Sphynx cost?

The price of a pet depends on why it is being bought. If the owner plans to participate in exhibitions and engage in breeding, the cost will be higher.

A male cat is cheaper than a female cat. A female breeding cat costs more than a male cat, although usually, the cost of a male of other breeds is more expensive than the cost of a female. For a kitten, you should contact the nurseries.

Before buying, you should know the following facts about Sphynxes:

  • Kittens should be playful.
  • Before you buy a cat, you should have a basket or a carrier. If it’s cold outside, put a blanket in it.
  • In a new place, the kitten needs an adaptation period.
  • It is better to take a kitten from a nursery or from responsible breeders when they are at least five months old.

Taking care of a kitten

Female pregnancy is calm and easy. Two to five kittens are born in one litter. Hairless kittens are born blind. On the fourth day, newborns open their eyes. Kittens are at first looked after by the female cat. Kittens can have a small amount of fur.

Complementary foods are introduced when the kitten is one month old. You can start with beef or cottage cheese. Until they’re three months old, the tiny Sphynx eats six times a day, and starting from six months; they eat three times a day. At nine months, they are fed twice a day.

sphynx kittens

A small kitten Sphynx needs the same careful care as an adult. The skin must be cleaned off from dust and dirt. Kids need to be bathed once a week with a special shampoo. Eyes, teeth and ears also require daily care.

Like any other breed, hairless cats have their advantages and disadvantages. The calm nature of this breed is a definite plus, but it has its minuses too. The breed is very dependent on the human, not just emotionally, but it requires careful daily care.

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