It’s a good thing that the hairless Sphynx loves attention because he draws it wherever he goes. He is demanding of human attention and will do anything for a laugh.
The hairless Sphynx is an example of the cat breeds that come about accidentally. A genetic mutation brought about the birth of a hairless kitten to Elizabeth, a black and white domestic cat in Toronto, Canada. Elizabeth’s owner recognized that Prune, as the kitten was called, was unique and set about trying to reproduce him. He, along with other hairless kittens that were born in the mid- to late 1970s, was bred to furred cats, including the Devon Rex. The gene for hairlessness is recessive, so while some of the offspring were hairless, others had fur.
Originally known as Canadian Hairless Cats, according to The International Cat Association, breeders eventually settled on the moniker Sphynx for the unusual breed, a reference to the gigantic limestone sculpture in the Egyptian desert, worn smooth over the millennia through erosion by wind, sand and water. The Sphynx is recognized by the American Cat Fanciers Association, the Cat Fanciers Association and The International Cat Association, as well as other cat registries. Perhaps the world’s most famous Sphynx is Mr. Bigglesworth, played by Ted NudeGent, in the Austin Powers comedies.
This is a medium- to large-sized cat, muscular and heavy for its appearance and size. Its ears are large to very large, open wide and upright, much like the ears of a bat. The eyes are set wide and are round with a slight slant at the upper corners — lemon shaped, by most accounts. The widely set eyes and wide open roundness of the eyes give the Sphynx an approachable, friendly appearance. There is no specific color expected of the eyes, and can vary. Its cheekbones, meanwhile, are prominent, giving this breed a regalness that brings to mind Egyptian cats of lore.
In body, though they appear to be hairless, not all Sphynxes are hairless. They are actually covered with a fine gossamery down which can only barely be felt or even seen by the naked eye. Because of its fineness, the skin of the Sphynx is often compared to warm suede. Another unusual trait of this cat is its wrinkles. Around the shoulders, between the ears, and around the muzzle is where the wrinkles should be heaviest.
This is a high energy cat which can perform acrobatic tricks, much like a monkey. The Sphynx is excellent at balancing, climbing atop doors and bookshelves, and even perching on shoulders like a bird. They love human attention and will perform shenanigans for everyone’s entertainment.
Like a clown, the Sphynx will caper about and pratfall, it truly enjoys being a show-off. The Sphynx is curious and mischievous, and these qualities, coupled with the high level of intelligence found in this breed, can make it a handful. But, it is also a well behaved and easy to handle breed.
Because of its friendliness and sense of humor, along with ease of handling, the Sphynx is a favorite with show judges. It does best as an indoor cat, since these same charming qualities can get it into dangerous situation. It is also loyal and affectionate towards its owners, even following you around the house, wagging its tail. The Sphynx is a true extrovert. It will demand your undivided attention and hates to be ignored. The Sphynx also does well with other animals, both dogs and cats.