Science //

Sphynx Cats

Richard Withers favours pets that need minimal grooming

Sphynx Cats are an enigmatic breed that emerged in the United States in the 1960s when backcrossing (crossing a hybrid with its parent) led to the birth of ‘naked kittens’. Given the less than desirable nickname of the ‘Hairless Mexican’, this now-extinct Mexican breed gave many crazy, cross-breeding scientists big ideas. Famous Sphynxs soon emerged en-masse, with their odd appearance attracting the most attention, given less credit is their intuitiveness, intelligence and allegations that they may be evil.

Without a pelt to keep them heated, Sphynx cats are prone to the cold and thus massive fans of warm beds and notorious for sneaking, welcome or not, under blankets with their owners. A good snuggle is something they crave, and they’re perpetually honing in on heat. Though extroverted in their behaviour toward humans, Sphynx Cats can become completely disinterested in other cats, preferring to bask in the attention they receive from their owners, become overly competitive and adopt blatantly elitist attitudes toward other felines.

With a skin texture that is comparable to chamois leather, the Sphynx is not truly hairless. Their variations in skin colour are actually indicative of what colour their fur would be like, if it existed in greater quantities.

Their lack of pigmentation and fur leave them exposed to sunburn, and coupled with their tendencies to wander and follow every ounce of curiosity to its end, it’s best to keep a very close eye on a Sphynx. That or at the very least it’s important, however resistant they may be, that an adequate amount of sunblock is applied prior to their leaving home.