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The "E. T ." of the cat fancy: the wrinkled cat; the hairless cat; the "hot water bottle" cat! Not completely hairless, the Sphynx is covered with a light down like the skin of a peach.Description:Some people are repulsed by this cat, feeling it is the ugliest they have ever seen. Others are charmed by it; it is so ugly it is beautiful. To hold a Sphynx is like holding a hot water bottle. Its temperature feels at least four degrees higher than that of other cats, though it is no different. The Sphynx is not a hairless cat; it is covered with a very short down that is almost invisible to the eye and undetectable to the touch. There may be short, tightly packed, soft hair on the points and a puff of hair on the tip of the tail, and there will be some hair on the testicles. Whiskers and eyebrows may be present but are often broken or absent. The skin is wrinkled and should have the texture of suede. At first it was hoped that the Sphynx would be the answer for people who are allergic to cats. This is not the case, as the dander on the skin can produce allergic reactions. When the Sphynx sweats, with the sparseness of hair, normal follicular secretions may accumulate in the wrinkles; because of this the cat must be bathed often or wiped clean with a washcloth.The Sphynx is hard and muscular; the medium-long body should be fine or medium-boned but powerful, with a short, barrel-shaped chest. The front of the cat may be compared to a Boston Bull Terrier. The Sphynx should appear to be well fed but not fat; this is a delicate cat. The tail is long, whippy, tapering from body to tip (rat-tailed). The legs are long and slender, in balance with the body, but not fine boned; they are firm and feel muscular. The hind legs are slightly longer than the forelegs. The paws are oval and dainty, with long, slender toes.The head is slightly longer than it is wide, with prominent cheekbones and a definite whisker break. The profile has a distinct stop at the bridge of the nose. The very large ears are wide at the base and set upright. The large, round, lemon-shaped eyes slant to the base of the ears and are set slightly more than an eye's width apart and tend to be set back into the face. The muzzle is short. The neck is long and slender, giving an elegant appearance to the head.


The Sphynx has been known as the New Mexican Hairless, or Canadian Hairless; in the 1970s it was given the name Sphynx. The Canadian Sphynx originated when a male hairless kitten was born in Canada in 1966 to a black and white house cat. This hairless male was bred back to his mother, resulting in a mixed litter of hairless and furry kittens. Other hairless cats have shown up in Paris, some of them reported to be the offspring of Siamese. The Sphynx was granted championship status in the early 1980s in TICA.


Characteristics of the Sphynx include infinite patience and willingness to put up with almost anything. The Sphynx appears to be at great peace with the world, at ease with its surroundings, making a devoted pat and excellent show animal. You have to admire them. Even when they are sitting down they hold their head up high, always showing refinement. The French standards describe them as "part monkey, part dog, part child and part cat".

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Southern Alberta Cat Fanciers - Rene Copeland