Sphynx (cat): Wikis

  
  
  

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Sphynx
Sphinx2 July 2006.jpg
Alternative names Canadian Hairless
Origin Canada
Breed standard
FIFe standard
CFA standard
TICA standard
AACE standard

The Sphynx (also known as Canadian Hairless ) is a rare breed of cat known for its lack of a coat.

Anecdotal evidence shows that hairless cats have been the results of natural mutation that occurs in the cat population every 15-20 years. The contemporary breed of Sphynx (known also as the Canadian Sphynx, distinct from the Russian Sphynx breeds - Peterbald, Don Sphynx) started in 1966, in Toronto Canada, when a hairless kitten named Prune was born. The kitten was crossed with its mother, which produced one more naked kitten. Together with a few naked kittens found later it became the primogenitor of the breed. The first sphynx breeders faced a number of problems. The genetic pool was very limited, breeders had rather vague ideas about sphynx genetics, many kittens died. The naked male Epidermis born in 1975 to short-haired mother provided new material to sphynx fanciers and new genes for further breed development. In the early stages of the breed crosses with devon-rex were used, but later this crossing was frowned upon because it caused health problems and devolution. Now the Canadian Sphynx is a breed with a sound genetic pool.

Contents

Characteristics

The unique skin pattern of the Sphynx cat.

The Sphynx appears to be a hairless cat, but it is not truly hairless. The skin texture resembles that of Chamois leather. It may be covered with very short, fine hair, not unlike a peach. Because the sphynx cats have no pelt to keep them warm they huddle up against other animals and people. They even tend to cuddle up and sleep with their owners under the covers[citation needed]. Lack of coat makes the cat quite warm to the touch. Whiskers and eyebrows may be present, either whole or broken, or may be totally absent. The skin is the color their fur would be, and all the usual cat marking patterns (solid, point, van, tabby, tortie, etc) may be found on Sphynx skin. Owing to the lack of fur, Sphynxes require regular washing because there is no fur to soak up the natural oils in their skin.

Sphynxes generally have wedge-shaped heads and sturdy, heavy bodies.Standards call for a full round abdomen, also known as pot bellies [1].

Sphynxes are known for their extravert behavior. They display a high level of energy, intelligence, curiosity, and affection for their owners.[2]

Care

While Sphynx cats lack a coat to shed or groom, they are not maintenance-free. Body oils, which would normally be absorbed by the hair, tend to build up on the skin. As a result, regular cleaning (usually in the form of bathing) is necessary; one bath a week is usually sufficient.[3] Care should be taken to limit the Sphynx cat's exposure to outdoor sunlight at length, as they can develop sunburn and photo damage similar to that of humans. In general, Sphynx cats should never be allowed outdoors unattended, as they have limited means to conserve body heat when it is cold. Their curious nature can take them into dangerous places or situations [4].

Although Sphynx cats are sometimes thought to be hypoallergenic due to their lack of coat, this is not always the case for cat specific allergies. Allergies to cats are triggered by a protein called Fel d1, not cat hair itself. Fel d1 is a tiny and sticky protein primarily found in cat saliva and sebaceous glands. Those with cat allergies may react worse to direct contact with Sphynx cats than other breeds. However, conflicting reports of some people successfully tolerating Sphynx cats also exist [5]. However, these positive reports may be cases of desensitizing, wherein the "hairless" cat gave the owner optimism to try and own a cat, eventually leading to the positive situation of their own adaptation.

Health Issues

The Canadian Sphynx is recognized by cat fancy associations as being a healthy robust breed. Lack of hair can cause health issues with kittens in the first weeks of life due to susceptibility to respiratory infections. Reputable breeders will not let their kittens go to new homes without being at least 12 weeks of age to ensure the kitten is mature enough to cope in a new environment.

The breed does have instances of the genetic disorder Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy due to early outcrossing with Devon Rex and American Shorthair breeds. Studies are being undertaken to understand the links in breeding and the disorder.[6]

Sphynx cats can catch common feline diseases and should be immunized in the same way as other breeds.

Breeding

Two-week-old Sphynx kitten.

Although hairless cats have been reported throughout history, breeders in Europe have been working on the Sphynx breed since the early 1960s. The current American and European Sphynx breed is descended from two lines of natural mutations:

  • Dermis and Epidermis (1975) from the Pearsons of Wadena, Minnesota, USA.
  • Bambi, Punkie, and Paloma (1978) found in Toronto, ON, Canada and raised by Shirley Smith.

Other hairless breeds might have body shapes or temperaments that differ from those described above. There are, for example, new hairless breeds, including the Don Sphynx and the Peterbald from Russia, which arose from their own spontaneous mutations. The standard for the Sphynx differs between cat associations such as TICA, FIFE and CFA.

It has been theorized that Sphynx hairlessness might be produced by an allele of the same gene that produces the Devon Rex (re), with the Sphynx allele being incompletely dominant over the Devon allele and both recessive to the wild type. However a different genetic symbol (hr) is given to the Sphynx gene and it is more likely that these are different genes interacting with each other. The only allowable outcross breeds in the CFA are now the American Shorthair and Domestic Shorthair. Other associations may vary and the Russian Blue is a permitted outcross in the GCCF. In Europe mainly Devon Rex has been used for outcrosses.

12 week old kitten

In 1999 SGC Apophis Nordstrom of Classical Cats won the TICA International Alter of the Year. In 2006 SGC Classical Cats Valentino won the TICA International Cat of the year. In the Cat Fancier's Association, GC, RW, NW Majikmoon Will Silver With Age was Cat of the Year for 2006. The following year, GC, RW, NW Enchantedlair NWA Cornflake Girl was Kitten of the Year. These awards are handed out for the highest scoring cats, across all breeds during the current show seasons.

See also

References

External links








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