Somali cats are active, playful, intelligent, affectionate and lots of fun. Somali cats thrive on attention and make wonderful companions, putting the myth of the "aloof cat" to rest. As beautiful as they are to look at with their expressive almond-shaped green eyes and delicate markings, Somalis captivate their owners with their incredible charm, charisma and sense of humor.
All About Sphynx Cats and Kittens
The Sphynx cat has to be the most unusual breed in existence, as, unlike other cats, the Sphynx is hairless. The Sphynx is said to be named so because early breeders felt that there was a similarity between their cats and the Egyptian cat sculptures in the British Museum and the Louvre. The Sphynx is also known as the Canadian Hairless Cat. First bred in Canada, the Sphynx cat originated from a mutant hairless kitten that was born in a litter of shorthaired cats in 1966.
The Sphynx Cat Breed in Brief:
Origin: United States
Weight: 8-10 pounds
Average Litter Size: 1-3 Sphynx per litter
Grooming Needs: Medium
Life Expectancy: 15-20 years
Good With Kids: Yes
Good With Other Animals: No
Hairless cats have been around for ages – caused by a recessive gene, they can appear in virtually any cat breed known to man. Documentation of hairless cats can be found in France, Morocco, Australia, throughout the United States and Canada, and even Mexico had record of a hairless cat. In 1966, a hairless kitten was produced in a litter from two domestic shorthair cats in Canada, and a breeding program was established around this unique cat. The CFA granted provisional status to the breed, then called the Canadian Hairless, but it was short-lived. The following year, the CFA withdrew the acceptance, due to the fact that the breed had numerous health problems and the breed was allowed to fade into extinction. 3 hairless cats were discovered during the late 1970’s, however, and while the male was neutered, the females were sent to Holland, where they would be crossed with Devon Rex cats in an attempt to further develop the line.
In Minnesota, a hairless kitten was discovered by farm owners, Milt and Ethelyn Pearson, in 1975. This kitten, a little female, was named Epidermis and her hairless brother, Dermis, would be born a year later. Both kittens were then sold to a cat breeder, in Oregon, by the name of Kim Mueske. Kim tried to breed these cats to various shorthairs, hoping to produce more hairless kittens, but her efforts only resulted in more shorthaired kittens. It was only after turning to a genetics expert, Dr. Solveig Pflueger, that it was suggested to breed Epidermis, the female hairless, back to one of her male offspring. Success! The next litter included 3 beautiful hairless kittens, proving that the hairless gene was recessive and, in order for it to appear, had to be present in both parents. This idea was put into motion and, in 1978, Georgia Gattenby of Minnesota purchased 3 of the Pearsons’ hairless cats and began to develop her own bloodline. By out-crossing with Rex cats and then crossing back in to the hairless varieties, she was able to improve and develop the body type of the Sphynx as we know it today. While she was forced to sell her cats during the 1980’s, her stock would contribute greatly to the Sphynx as we know it today.
Some say that the Sphynx has a face that only a mother could love and, truth be told, it takes a very special person to be taken in by these unique little cats. Few people realize that the sweet-natured Sphynx is no more wrinkled than any other breed of cat, but there is something about the hairless appearance that either repels or attracts their human counterparts.
Surprisingly, the Sphynx kitten is really not hairless at all. Picking one up, many are surprised by how soft, downy, and warm hairless kittens can be – in fact, they are best compared to a warm fuzzy peach in texture. It’s a sensation that makes you just want to cuddle them closer and, believe it or not, the Sphynx cat uses that to his advantage. There’s nothing that Sphynx kittens like more than snuggling.
Another interesting and little-known fact is the wide variety of colors that the Sphynx come in. Found in a rainbow of hues, they are as beautiful and diversified as their furry feline cousins; any color and/or any pattern that can be found in felines is an acceptable color and pattern for your Sphynx kitten.
The Sphynx cat has a very unique appearance, but his personality is even more unusual. It’s often said that Sphynx kittens are one part cat, one part dog, one part monkey and one part child – and most who have had the good fortune to meet one of these individuals are quick to agree with that description. The Sphynx is a very loving and loyal member of the household and has a strong tendency to bond with his or her choice in humans. That individual, they will follow around faithfully, winding around legs and wagging their tail happily. The Sphynx is also a very vocal individual and will often scold you if left alone too long, or greet you with a happy chirp when he sees you get out of bed.
In addition to their love of affection, the Sphynx also has a great love of mischief. They love to climb, hide and get into all sorts of trouble – everything is a toy, regardless of whether it’s a wadded up piece of paper that missed the trashcan, good china, or a family heirloom. If it can be moved, knocked over, or will produce some form of sound (crashing and breaking noises are especially fun), the impish Sphynx will believe it to be a noisemaker built just for her.
Sphynx can be wonderfully patient and affectionate towards children, though it’s important to note that they can run into problems when introduced to other animals. The Sphynx is not an aggressive animal by any extent, but they are not fighters either and their soft skin and lack of fur means that they can be easily injured when bitten or scratched by other playful pets. If you do intend to introduce a Sphynx into your home and you do have other pets, supervision is mandatory.
Caring for a Sphynx cat has to be a walk in the park, right? Well, this is a misconception that many people have about owning a hairless cat. Unfortunately, while it’s a nice concept that there might be a cat that requires no grooming whatsoever, in truth, it’s just not practical or fair to your pet. All pets should be groomed at least once a week, even if it’s just checking their ears and rubbing them down with a natural chamois cloth; not only does it help to remove dander and dirt, but it also feels good for your pet, is quality bonding time spent with your cat, and it helps you to be aware of potential problems before they arise.
The Sphynx kitten requires regular grooming, not only for the above important reasons, but also because it is required to remove the natural oils that a cat’s fur would normally absorb. Failing to wipe your Sphynx cat down regularly can lead to skin problems, making them sticky when you touch them, and leading to sore patches, acne, and other skin problems. It’s also very important to clean your Sphynx kitten’s ears regularly or they will get a build-up of ear wax in their ears; left untreated, this can lead to infection or, at the very least, run the risk of your kitten hurting himself, scratching at his ear.
It’s also highly recommended that you give your Sphynx a weekly bath. While most cats dislike water, Sphynx usually grow to enjoy their baths, provided they are always treated with a kind and patient mannerism and acclimated to it from the time they are kittens. Bathing your pet Sphynx is no more difficult than bathing a baby and, while it sounds like a lot of work, it can be done relatively quickly. Drying the Sphynx is even quicker – a few minutes snuggle time in a toasty towel and he’s happy and dry as can be.
The Sphynx cat is surprisingly a very robust and healthy breed of cat. Despite the concerns that many cat breeders first voiced when the breed was in its infancy, the Sphynx has far fewer health concerns than most purebred cats. The reason for this is generally attributed to what is known as “hybrid vigor” where out-crossing to another breed helps to stabilize and strengthen the existing line when bred back. One problem that the Sphynx cat can encounter, however, is that they are susceptible to what is known as feline hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, or HCM. The most common variety of heart disease found in felines, HCM can be found in various other breeds, as well as cats of mixed ancestry.
If you’re looking for a new pet, one should always give the matter careful consideration. What is your home like? How much time do you have to spend with your pet and, when you are home, how much of that time will be quality time, involving things like grooming or clipping toenails. Adopting any pet is a big responsibility and the Sphynx is no exception to this rule.
The Sphynx is not for everyone and the cost one must pay to adopt a Sphynx is often a good deterrent for the less-than-committed. Being that they are a rare breed, quality Sphynx are very expensive (usually $1,000.00 or more for a kitten), are usually sold already spayed or neutered and, more than likely, you will have to answer a lengthy questionnaire or attend an interview before you are even considered as a possible placement for one of these beautiful little Sphynx kittens.
Ready to add an exquisite Sphynx cat or kitten to your family? Visit our Sphynx Cat Breeders Showcase where you can find contact information for responsible Sphynx catteries and view photos, detailed information and litter announcements for Sphynx kittens for sale. Click here!