In 1966 a domestic cat gave birth to a hairless kitten in Toronto Canada. It was discovered to be a natural genetic mutation and the Sphynx cat, as we know it today, came into existence. This cat and a few other naturally hairless cats have been found worldwide; produced by Mother Nature, they are the foundation for this unusual breed. Cat breeders in North America and Europe have bred the Sphynx to normal coated cats and back to hairless cats for more than thirty years. The purpose of selective breeding such as this was to create a genetically sound cat with a large gene pool and hybrid vigor. When properly bred, the Sphynx is a very robust breed with few serious health or genetic problems.
Sphynx are not always totally hairless and there are different degrees of “hairlessness.” There can be a fine down on the body which makes the cat feel like a warm peach. Some short hair is usually present on the nose, ears and sometimes on toes and tail. Seasonal and hormonal changes in the cat may also effect hair development. The texture of Sphynx skin has been compared to a suede hot water bottle or warm chamois, and some cats almost have a buttery feel to the skin. The skin is loose on the body which leads to that extra wrinkling effect you see on the cat. All colors and patterns are possible and may be presented at any stage of maturity. The color and/or pattern of the cat are seen in the pigment of the skin and the few hairs that are present. One of the most often questions asked about Sphynx is, “Don’t they get cold?” If it is too cold for you, then it will probably be too cold for a hairless cat. However, these cats are smart enough to find a warm spot in the house, curled up with a dog or cat or warm human, on top of your computer, or they will be snuggled under your bed covers.