The progenitor of the Sphynx appeared in Toronto, Canada, in 1966, born to a domestic cat with a regular coat. The hairlessness is the result of a natural mutation and wasn’t the first example of hairlessness in cats. A pair of hairless cats had been known of in Mexico at the turn of the last century, but they were not related to the modern Sphynx.
The History of Sphynx
Sphynx Personality and Temperament
People who love them say that living with a Sphynx is substantially different from having a “regular” cat. The Sphynx is snuggly and affectionate, always wanting to be close to you. Partly that’s because he’s seeking warmth, but he is an unusually friendly cat who loves attention and touch.
The Sphynx adores having company, so if you work during the day, it’s a good idea to have two so they can play and sleep together while you’re gone. If you have more than one, you may find that they travel in pairs or “packs” for moral support, especially if they are in a new situation. You’ll know they are comfortable in a home when they start venturing off on their own.
Expect the Sphynx to follow you wherever you go. He’s always eager to “help” with whatever you’re doing. He will also be the household greeter, welcoming guests, giving head butts, even jumping on an available shoulder. If cats can be said to flirt, the Sphynx certainly does so. He’ll do anything for attention, so you will always be kept laughing by his silly antics. He is fearless, mischievous and clever.
The best thing about a Sphynx? There’s no “rubbing him the wrong way.”
What You Need to Know About Sphynx Health
All cats have the potential to develop genetic health problems, just as all people have the potential to inherit a particular disease. Any breeder who claims that her breed has no health or genetic problems is either lying or is not knowledgeable about the breed. Run, don’t walk, from any breeder who does not offer a health guarantee on kittens, who tells you that the breed is 100 percent healthy and has no known problems, or who tells you that her kittens are isolated from the main part of the household for health reasons.
The Sphynx is generally healthy, but he may develop certain conditions, including hypertrophic cardiomyopathy and a neurological disease called hereditary myopathy. Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is the most common form of heart disease in cats and causes thickening (hypertrophy) of the heart muscle. An echocardiogram can confirm whether a cat has HCM. Avoid breeders who claim to have HCM-free lines. No one can guarantee that their cats will never develop HCM.
Hereditary myopathy affects muscle function. It eventually causes death when the cat is no longer able to swallow. Fortunately, the condition is rare and breeders are working hard to eradicate it from the breed.
The Sphynx can also be prone to some skin conditions, such as urticaria pigmentosa and cutaneous mastocytosis, as well as to periodontal disease. Teach him to let you brush his teeth with a vet-approved pet toothpaste for good overall health and fresh breath.
Remember that after you’ve taken a new kitten into your home, you have the power to protect him from one of the most common health problems: obesity. Even though the Sphynx has a Buddha belly, he shouldn’t be overweight. Keeping a Sphynx at an appropriate weight is one of the easiest ways to protect his overall health. Make the most of your preventive abilities to help ensure a healthier cat for life.