The Sphynx is a specially bred type of cat, also known as the Canadian Hairless. One of Its main distinguishing characteristics is seemingly (but not actually) hairless skin which is the same color as their fur would be, also showing the same common cat fur markings you would see in other breeds such as spots, stripes and waves.
Instead of the normal thick fur attributed to most breeds of cat, the Sphynx has only a small quantity of ‘vellus hair’ coating its body. Vellus hair is fuzzy, light colored and barely noticeable, meaning that the Sphynx is much more sensitive to cold temperatures and sunlight than other breeds. This characteristic also makes Sphynx cats very warm to the touch.
It is common for this breed to lack whiskers, although they are sometimes present – as well as eyebrows. The Sphynx has a large wedge shaped head and long triangular ears. Picking up a Sphynx cat will reveal that it is surprisingly heavy for its size, sometimes weighing up to 7kg. They are bred to have a slight pot belly to help with digestion, the Sphynx’s tail length and thickness is similar to that of most other breeds – but again hairless.
This breed is relatively unique in that it needs to be bathed at least once per week, and also requires frequent ear cleaning. This level of care is once again due to the Sphynx’s lack of fur. Problems stemming from neglect of proper grooming include various infections in places like the eyes and nose, and an increased risk of skin cancers. Fortunately most Sphynx enjoy bathing, water and human interaction in general - making it less of a chore most of the time.
Sphynx cats make excellent companions as they are playful, intelligent and affectionate. Sphynx’s are also territorial and highly energetic; they get along well with other cats in general. The breed’s life span is between 13 and 15 years as an average, though some can live beyond the age of 17 with a healthy lifestyle and diet. Sphynx require a constant supply of food. Due to their lack of insulating fur they rely on food not just for nourishment, but to produce vital heat which helps regulate their body temperature in times of need.
The Sphynx will usually have 2-5 kittens in a litter, the kittens must be kept in a warm and sterilized germ free environment, and with their mother for at least 12 weeks before being moved to a different location, due to their lack of hair, and proneness to infection. Sphynx are highly affectionate as kittens, and are known to cuddle up to their owners for warmth day and night, but this type of cat is not recommended for owners with young children as they can be quite temperamental when handled heavily or aggravated for long periods of time.