Do you remember the popular bald cat, “Mr. Bigglesworth” (Ted Nude-Gent) in Austin Powers? Or perhaps you recall “Mrs. Whiskerson,” Rachel’s cat in Friends? These wrinkled felines have made appearances in several Hollywood films, but little is known about the peculiar breed. My cat, Lucille Bald (shown below) is a Sphynx just like those seen in these films and television shows. If they are good enough for Hollywood, they are good enough for you and me.
- Non-shedding does NOT mean non-grooming
- Dog-like behavior
- Social and affectionate
Credit: Randa HallockThe hairless Sphynx cat, also known as the Canadian Sphynx, originated in the mid-1960’s in Toronto, Canada. Sitting high upon its lemon shaped head, are two large satellite ears. High cheek bones are reminiscent of their Egyptian counterparts and their wide-set eyes and short curled whiskers make this feline hard to resist. They are a medium- to large breed, with long legs, making them excellent acrobats.
Although, considered a hairless breed, these felines have the velvety appearance of peach fuzz; most often on their rump and base of their ears.
Sphynx cats vary in color, ranging from calico, white and other solids. Their eyes come in icy blues and emerald greens. Their whiskers and eyebrows may be sparse, while their wrinkles take center stage.
They have a rotund belly, however, this should not be confused with being overweight. These cats have a high metabolism, regardless of their lofty appetite.
Oddly enough, these bald felines, are incredibly warm, with a body temperature of around 39°C, or 103°F.
The Sphynx is an extroverted breed, exhibiting “dog-like” behaviors, such as, cuddling, playing fetch and greeting newcomers with a wagging tail. They are a quite social and make excellent family members. Their curiosity and fearlessness intrigue most owners. They have an unusually high level of energy compared to other breeds and a great affection towards their owners. They will leap tall buildings in a single bound; well, not exactly, but they do perform acrobatic moves much like a monkey. They enjoy scaling furniture, refrigerators and other high places. In fact, the Sphynx may land upon your shoulder as you walk by. The Sphynx is an intelligent breed, often forging a way through any obstacle.Credit: Randa Hallock
Due to their hairless characteristics, they love to burrow under blankets to keep warm. Beds, like this one, offer security and warmth for the Sphynx. Anything like a cocoon will do, because they appeal to their burrowing nature and keep their oil spots off your bed!
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The Sphynx cat does require special grooming considerations. Although, this is a low or non-shedding breed, they do produce a fair amount of oil. This oil is much like the oil humans produce, although it has a slight rust-colored appearance. You may see your Sphynx develop an orange tint as this oil builds on the skin. The oil may produce oil stains on furniture and blankets (regular washing is helpful). The skin is easily taken care of with occasional bathing, once per month. Any more than this, may cause dry skin and an increase in oil production. I always recommend using a shampoo specifically made for pets. The Sphynx has delicate, sensitive skin. You do not want to cause more harm than good. Skin irritation and yeast infections can result from using the wrong type of cleanser. The ears of a Sphynx may become wax filled, often a brown or black color. A quick swab with a cotton ball and coconut oil will remedy this. Their nails should be trimmed often, as they do tend to climb couches, chairs and bookcases.
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This is generally a hearty breed. Although, care must be taken due to its unusual appearance. The skin may become sun burned if taken outside, this should be avoided for long periods of time. Consider a baby’s delicate skin when opting to take your Sphynx outdoors. They are not genetically prone to health problems. Although, these cats are low to non-shedding, allergy sufferers must consider their allergy to cats before investing in this unique breed. Cat allergies are often related to cat dander rather than the cat’s fur. With this said, many people have found the Sphynx to be an excellent alternative to their furred cousins for reducing allergy symptoms.
As mentioned previously, the Sphynx originated in Canada, however other “like” felines were spotted around the rest of the world in Australia, Montana in the U.S., and in Morocco around the same time. The Cat Fanciers Association (CFA) finally recognized the breed in 2002 with selective breeding having produced this consistent and fantastic creature.
Typically these cats are purchased through breeders with costs at $900+Credit: Randa Hallock
Are you ready for your close-up? As most actresses and actors, this breed requires special attention and care. When considering a Sphynx as your next pet, remind yourself, this hairless character will be a lifetime companion and friend. These are social and humorous creatures making them fantastic additions to your home.