Saturday, December 09, 2006

Sphynx: About the breed

  • DragonheartSphynx are a naturally hairless breed of cats. However, Sphynx are not always totally hairless; they can have fine down on the body. Some light hair is often present on the nose, tail and toes. I (Dragonheart) am hairless except on the bridge of my nose. My humans says I feel like a warm chamois to pet. According to the Cat Fanciers' Association, "The texture of the Sphynx skin has been likened to suede, a hot water bottle, or a heated chamois."
  • Sphynx have no whiskers, or very short whiskers. I have tiny, short whiskers that curl. Sphynx do not seem to suffer for their lack of whiskers. As to why, no one knows! But even when it is dark out, Sphynx have no problems getting around, they get their bearings easily, don't bump into furniture, and love acrobatics of all sorts. They are very agile cats. So this is one fact about Sphynx that remains a mystery!

  • DragonheartSphynx get cold only if it is cold enough for a human to also be cold. If a human needs a sweater indoors, chances are Sphynx need one too, although they're also happy to find a warm human to curl up with (or another cat or even a dog if they are around).
    Also, Sphynx have a very high natural metabolism. Because of this higher metabolism, they eat more and more often than "regular cats" do, and need to be fed very high quality pet food. Their bodies have to work harder than that of other cats to keep themselves warm, due to the lack of fur.

  • Contrary to what was portrayed in an episode of Friends, Sphynx are friendly, extremely inquisitive and love to be the center of attention. Sphynx loved being pet and they love human companionship.

  • Because of the lack of hair that would normally absorb body oils, Sphynx need to be bathed periodically. Sphynx do clean themselves with their tongues, like other cats, but due to the lack of fur, their self-bathing isn't sufficient to remove all the oil. Sphynx eyes are ears need to be cleaned as well, since we lack hair in our ears, and so ear wax builds up more quickly, and we lack eyelashes, so dirt builds up more quickly in the corners of our eyes.

  • DragonheartSphynx are not hypoallergenic. However, some people who suffer from cat allergies can tolerate living with Sphynx cats. However, depending on the type and severity of the individual's allergic reactions, there are still people who cannot live with this breed. My human dad is allergic to cats, but he can tolerate Sphynx without any problems.

  • The Sphynx breed came into existence in 1966 when a domestic cat gave birth to a hairless kitten in Toronto, Canada. It was discovered to be a natural mutation and the Sphynx cat, as we know it today, came into existence. Cat breeders in Europe and North America have bred the Sphynx to normal coated cats and then back to hairless for more than thirty years. The purpose of these selective breedings was to create a genetically sound cat with a large gene pool and hybrid vigor. Because of these out-crosses, Sphynx come in almost every colour imaginable. Modern Sphynx to exhibit most of the eye and color patterns available in many of today's cat breeds, including pointed coat patterns (like a Siamese.)

  • Sphynx were named by a Cat Fanciers' Association judge, David Mare, in 1973. To him, these cats resembled a famous Egyptian cat statue in the Louvre in Paris. When he thought of Egypt, he thought of the many Egyptian sphinxes, including the Great Sphinx. Thus this breed of hairless cats came to be known as Sphynx.

  • Genetically, Sphynx hairlessness is produced by an allele of the same gene that produces the Devon Rex, which has only one of the usual two fur coats. The Sphynx allele is incompletely dominant over the Devon allele; both are recessive to the wild type.

  • The Sphynx is typically a medium-sized cat. On average, adult females weigh 6-8 pounds while males are 8-10 pounds. My breeder thinks that I will be a large Sphynx, like my grandfather, who was 15 lbs.

  • One of the most famous Sphynx is, of course, Mr. Bigglesworth, Dr. Evil's cat in the Austin Powers movies. Contrary to what some people believe, they did not shave a poor cat for the movie or use a Chihuahua. They used a Sphynx! The cat who played Mr. Bigglesworth is a Sphynx named SGC Belfry Ted Nude-gent.
The 142nd Carnival of the Cats is at The House of (Mostly) Black Cats. Visit them for more cat articles!


Anonymous said...

You certainly have lots of information about the Sphynx Dragonheart. Do you like riddles as your breed namesake does?

Anonymous said...

Cats take all shapes and forms, but we are all brothers and sisters. Thanks for the information about sphynx cats, and you wear your sweater well.

Anonymous said...

I think the two of you are precious beyond words! I have never seen babies like you but I hope that someday I'll have the chance!!! I love seeing your gorgeous pictures!!!Don't stop posing and stay warm!!!

Your Admirer,