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About the Sphynx Cat

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Abstract

Although the Sphynx cat looks different than other cats, it is a great breed and companion pet. The first Sphynx was born in 1966, in Ontario, Canada. The Sphynx has been recognized as a cat breed since 1985. It is a very unique cat, because of its lack of fur. It is a medium to large sized, muscular cat, which have many different colors and patterns. The Sphynx is an overall healthy breed of cat, with little known genetic or health problems. This breed of cat requires a higher quality food than other breeds, due to a sensitive stomach and high metabolism. Sphynx cats need to be bathed often to keep them clean. If you want a new companion and friendly cat then a Sphynx cat is the cat for you.

 

The Sphynx cat is one of the most unique looking cats living, due to its lack of hair. There are only six breeds of cats in the world that are hairless. It is a fairly new breed of cat, only existing since the late 1960's and early 1970's. These cats are very friendly animals that love attention. Their lack of hair creates extra work for their owner. Before you decide to purchase a Sphynx cat, make sure you are aware of all of the extra care they require. Although the Sphynx cat looks different than other cats, it is a great breed and companion pet. 


Many people believe the Sphynx cat originated in Egypt; however, the first hairless Sphynx cat was born in Canada. In 1966, in Ontario, Canada, a black and white domestic cat delivered a hairless kitten (TICA, 2013). This kitten’s name was Prune. She was named Prune because of her lack of hair and extra wrinkles (TICA, 2013). Hairless cats are born with a hairless recessive gene that both mother and father must carry. By 1970, the Sphynx was extinct because of difficulty breathing and health issues (Livingston, 2013). Between 1975 and 1978, in Minnesota, more hairless cats were born (TICA, 2013). These cats were natural genetic mutations of haired cats. With careful breeding more hairless cats were produced. This mutation appears about every fifteen years in haired cat breeds (Reynolds, 2009).The Sphynx cat breed has been recognized by The International Cat Association (TICA) since 1985, and by The Cat Franciers' Association (CFA) since 1998. There are currently thousands of Sphynx cats registered to TICA today (TICA, 2013).


The Sphynx cat has a very unique look because of its lack of hair, but there are other physical characteristics to go with this breed. These cats look bald or naked, but they actually have a peach fuzz like hair covering their bodies (Reynolds, 2009). They may also have a small amount of hair on their nose, tail, and feet (Reynolds, 2009). Some Sphynx cats have whiskers and eyelashes; while, others have no whiskers or eyelashes. It is common for them to have wrinkles on their face and body (Livingston, 2013). Their head is longer than it is wide and have large ears. The cat's eyes are in the shape of a lemon (Reynolds, 2009). They have many different eye colors, from a baby blue to green to dark brown (Reynolds, 2009). Their body is medium to large sized and muscular. They have a long neck and tail, and broad chest. Its legs are long and muscular with small feet and oval pads (Reynolds, 2009). Sphynx cats have a variety of patterns and colors. There can be pink Sphynx cats, tiger striped, calico, and everything in between. There are so many different looking Sphynx, they can have colors and patterns of most haired cats, but with no hair. The average cat weighs between eight and fifteen pounds with the male usually being larger than the female (Livingston, 2013). When a person sees a Sphynx cat, some believe to be fragile, but they are actually strong and muscular.


The Sphynx breed is an overall healthy cat, but can become sick like any other animal. While there are few known health or genetic problems with the breed, two genetic conditions are known; they are, Hereditary Myopathy and Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM) (Livingston, 2013). As kittens they are at a higher risk of contracting colds and respiratory infections. They are at a higher risk due to a lack of hair called "cilia" inside their bodies (Livingston, 2013). This breed is susceptible to normal illnesses like the Cat Flu, just like other cat breeds. The breed has a more sensitive stomach then other breeds, and it is common for them the get Irritable Bowel Syndrome (Reynolds, 2009). This breed can also get sunburn if they are exposed to the sun for too long. To help prevent your cat from getting some diseases, they need to have all their vaccinations. These vaccinations prevent diseases like Feline Infectious Enteritis, Feline Respiratory Disease, and Feline Leukemia Virus (Reynolds, 2009). All owners should take their cats to a vet for checkups to insure they stay as healthy as possible.

The food fed to a Sphynx cat needs to be a high quality food. This breed needs to eat extra food to help keep themselves warm (Reynolds, 2009). They have a more sensitive stomach, and a higher metabolism then other cat breeds (Kelly, 2013). The food they should be fed should be high in protein. The food should be made from meat, not from vegetables or fillers (Reynolds, 2009). Feeding a mix of dry and wet food or each alone is acceptable. If the food you feed the cat does not agree with them they may have looser and more pungent stool (Reynolds, 2009). Due to their lack of hair and their sensitive stomachs the Sphynx cat need to be on a good diet.

The Sphynx cat breed requires more care and cleaning than other cat breeds. These cats require a bath at least once a week, sometimes more often. The lack of fur on their body causes them to have a buildup of natural oils and dirt, giving them a waxy feel (Reynolds, 2009). They will leave brown grease stains where ever they lay a lot; therefore, bathing them often is a must (Kelly, 2013).  Most owners choose to bathe their cats with a baby shampoo or baby wash. Some of them really enjoy their baths while others hate getting a bath. Cleaning their ears, eyes, and feet on a weekly basis is also necessary. Their ears are cleaned using a Q-tip, wash cloth, or baby wipes, to remove the wax and dirt (Reynolds, 2009). The cat’s eyes may have a discharge which has to be cleaned a couple times a week, to prevent an infection. Their feet and claws also require a weekly cleaning. Cleaning their feet to remove dirt from around the pads and nails to is required to remove a buildup that forms (Reynolds, 2009). Trimming their nails is also important. All of this attention is necessary to keep them clean, healthy, and as risk free of infection as possible.

The Sphynx cat is one of the friendliest cat breeds, which makes them a great pet and companion. A survey performed in 2012, found that out of a fourteen different cat breeds the Sphynx cat was the friendliest breed (Evans, 2012). One of the reasons for the Sphynx being so friendly is that they rely on humans for so much care and to keep them warm (Evans, 2012). The Sphynx will demand their owner’s attention, and appreciate the attention they get. This breed of cat will always want to be around you, including sleeping in bed with you (Reynolds, 2009). They also get along with other cats and other types of animals. Sphynx cats also like to get dressed up in clothing. Dressing them in clothing helps to keep them warm (Reynolds, 2009). If you would be cold in your house with no clothing on, then they are probably cold too. They will become your new best friend and always keep you company.

The Sphynx cat, although it looks different, maybe even a little scary, is a great breed of cat. It is a newer breed of cat only in existence for a little more than forty years. They do not have too many health concerns and are an overall healthy breed. With the proper food and grooming you will have a great companion and family pet. You will never be lonely again with a Sphynx cat in your home.

Evans, R. (2012, December 2). Not the prettiest cat but the most affectionate: The Sphynx tops the polls when it comes to the friendliest feline. Retrieved October 20, 2013, from Mail Online: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2241755/The-Sphynx-tops-polls-comes-friendliest-feline.html

Kelly, D. (2013). Sphynx Cat Advantages and Disadvantages of Owning a Sphynx. Retrieved October 20, 2013, from Ezine Articles: http://ezinearticles.com/?Sphynx-Cat---Advantages-and-Disadvantages-of-Owning-a-Sphynx&id=6400297

Livingston, V. (2013, January 7). About the Sphynx Cat. Retrieved October 19, 2013, from The Cat Lover's Diary: http://www.catloversdiary.com/about-the-sphynx-cat/

Reynolds, A. (2009). Sphynx Cats What Every Potential Owner Should Know. Retrieved October 19, 2013, from Sphynx Cats: http://sphynxcat.s3.amazonaws.com/SphynxCats.pdf

The International Cat Association. (2013). Sphnyx . Retrieved October 19, 2013, from The International Cat Association: http://www.tica.org/public/breeds/sx/intro.php

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