11 Hair Raising Facts About Sphynx Cats
Sphynx cats are a beloved cat breed as unique as a cat breed can be. In fact, those who are totally obsessed with these frisky felines have a tendency to go ALL out and we decided it's high time we learned the ins and outs that make this fascinating cat so treasured by so many. These 11 hair raising facts may not be of the furry variety but they're definitely cat-tastic and sure to spike your interest in this amazing breed!
1. They're not actually hairless.
Sphynx cats appear completely bald but it's a LIE! While at first glance many individuals feel startled to look at what appears to be a completely naked cat but brace yourself to gently stroke one and you'll be amazed. The reality is that Sphynx cats are actually covered with a fine layer of soft fuzz! Often described as "downy fuzz" for how incredible soft it is, their not so furry fur is almost like stroking suede instead of a ball of fluffy love.
2. Here's a hair raising history lesson!
The breed has not really been around too terribly long and where they come from will probably startle you.
The first Sphynx cat was born in the 1960's way up North in Ontario! Yep, that's right, a nation known for being filled with snow 80% of the year gave us the world' first "hairless" cat. Born as a result of a natural genetic mutation, the breed took off from there. In the mid 1970's, two separate SETS of hairless kittens were born to owners in Toronto and Minnesota, both just as known for being icy cold as Ontario. Due to some intentional and well-planned breeding attempts we have today a modern, Canadian Sphynx that delights families everywhere.
Also noteworthy, the North American Sphynx is not the only hairless breed of cat. A separate breed entirely, the Donskoy is a similar hairless breed out of Russia and other hairless cats have popped up all over the world. However, the big difference between the Sphynx and the Donskoy is that the Donskoy's lack of luscious locks is due to a dominate gene abnormality and the Sphynx is due to a recessive gene abnormality.
In Russia, cat hairs you.
The North American Sphynx is the best!
3. They come in a wide variety
Sphynx cats actually vary in color, pattern, and pigmentation. A lot of times when we think of a Sphynx, we picture that grey-ish, nude, naked color but the truth is they are not all the same! In fact, there's probably a Sphynx colored cat for every variety of cat you can imagine, even tabby and tortoiseshell cats! Cuties!
4. They're actually WARMER than most cats.
In fact, to be completely technical, Sphynx cats are approximately 4 degrees warmer than most cats and as kittens they often prefer warm snuggles to stay warm.
5. Contrary to popular belief, they are NOT hypoallergenic.
Fel d1 is the allergenic protein in cat saliva and skin secretions that people are allergic to (it makes you itchy and your eyes red and puffy,) and Sphynx cats still possess this allergen. So, if you were hoping to take home a Sphynx to cope with your allergies, think again and maybe don't shell out for this breed. Sad!
6. They need a regular bath, once a week to be precise.
For most cats, the oils produced by their skin help keep their fur silky smooth but for a Sphynx cat, who doesn't have the same coat of glorious fur, it just basically forms a greasy film over their bodies and as their owner you have got to give them a nice bath once a week! And don't forget those kitty ears, you need to wipe them down regularly and gently with a washcloth (or cotton balls,) to keep their ears clean and free from the dirt and dead skin cells that would accumulate without your regular maintenance assistance. If you're considering adding a Sphynx to your family, be sure to well research this bath subject because you want to make it an enjoyable experience for both of you!
7. They have sensitive skin
Since your Sphynx kitty doesn't have a dense coat of fur to protect its skin it's really important that you're mindful of your cat's surroundings. Don't go slathering sunscreen on that fuzzy-not-furry feline, but be mindful because a Sphynx CAN get sunburned! Their skin is much more sensitive than your every day fluffy cat. On top of that, they can easily become over heated or cold so for the most part, your Sphynx cat should be a strictly indoor cat.
8. They eat A LOT
Sphynx cats have notoriously fast metabolisms so they definitely eat more than the average feline. Be prepared for that!
9. They're in the popular club.
Sphynx cats are actually ranked the 8th most popular cat breed in the United States, according to the Cat Fanciers’ Association registration statistics from 2014. So while our furry feline friends may be everywhere, Sphynx are extremely popular!
10. They're also super friendly
Whoever picked the name Sphynx must have been choosing it in irony because the stoic and ancient Egyptian Sphynxes are nothing like our modern cats today, that's for sure. Sphynx cats are very sociable, friendly, loving, and incredibly sweet! On top of being super playful, they're so sweet and friendly that "The Journal of Veterinarian Behavior" recently ranked Sphynx cats as the most affectionate cat breed! If you're wondering why Sphynx cats are so friendly and loving there's a few theories floating around. Some people say it's because the breed relies on it's humans for warmth while some experts think it's because of genetics (friendly breeding!) or as simple as Sphynx kittens are left with their mothers for longer periods of time than regular kittens tend to.
11. The famous Sphynx cats that played Mr. Bigglesworth in the popular Austin Powers movies had pun-tastic names.
There was a main Sphynx used in the movies and his name was Ted Nudegent. He was specially trained to sit still for long periods of time, usually around 45 minutes while actors screamed and actor Mike Myers petted him.
Ted's animal trainer, Tammy Maples, told Daily News that, "it helped that he had been a show cat and was used to having lots of people around, and also that he just loved Mike Myers. Mike always took time to talk to Ted. It wasn't just 'sit down, roll cameras.'"
Then, in The Spy Who Shagged Me, when filmmakers needed a kitten to play a young Mr. Bigglesworth they got a cutie named Mel Gibskin to play the role. Later, Mel Gibskin served as Ted's double when he grew up.