While Sphynxes may not be everyone's cup of tea, these hairless felines sure have dominated the Internet the past few years! With their big ears, round eyes, knobby knees, and sleek, hairless bodies, these "alien" kitties are certainly eye-catching. And they prove that a fluffy coat isn't everything! Here are 8 facts you might not know about our fine feline friends!
1. They're from cold climates!
Surprisingly, one breed of Sphynx is actually descended from the land of ice and snow! You’d think they’d come better prepared for the cold climate, like Maine Coons. But the ancestors of the modern-day Canadian Sphynx have been bucking expectations since the 1960s, when an Ontario cat gave birth to a hairless kitten, and again in the mid-70s, when two separate sets of hairless kittens were born in Toronto and Minnesota. The hairless kittens were born sans fur because of a genetic mutation.
2. They’re not really hairless.
While it might look like Sphynxes are as bald as the day is long, if you look closely (and are lucky enough to pet one), you’ll notice that they are actually covered in a soft, down-like fuzz … similar to a peach! While they’re not as plush and fluffy as their fully-furred counterparts, Sphynxes are soft and almost feel like touching suede.
3. They’re also not hypoallergenic.
Though some people believe that hairless cats are hypoallergenic because of their furless state, it’s not true! Sphynxes still produce the protein Fel d1, which is the allergen present in cat saliva and dander that causes the allergic reaction.
4. They come in patterns and colors.
Perhaps the first thing you think of when you hear “hairless cat” is PINK. But Sphynxes actually come in a variety of colors and patterns, from tabby stripes to calico and tortoiseshell spots!
5. They run hot.
Interestingly enough, Sphynx cats are hotter than any other cat. That is to say, on average their body temperature is about four degrees warmer than other cat breeds. However, because of their lack of insular fur and inability to keep their body heat trapped, they are prone to getting chilled! Make sure to keep your Sphynx warm and cozy; cat sweaters are ideal.
6. They can get a sunburn.
Due to the lack of pigmentation and fur, Sphynx cats are more likely to get sunburnt than other cats (but even furred cats can get sunburn on their ears and noses). If you plan on having your Sphynx venture into the Great Outdoors, be sure to keep them well-covered in the sun.
7. They’re not as low maintenance as they seem.
You might think that because there is no long, furry coat to maintain, the Sphynx’s grooming needs are minimal. But in reality, these furless felines need frequent bathing. They still secrete the oil that would normally keep a cat’s fur coat smooth and silky. But in Sphynxes, it can leave them feeling a little greasier than normal, so they require more frequent bathing. Their ears also require frequent cleaning because there is no fur to block the dirt and debris.
8. They’re good eaters.
Because they lack a fur coat to insulate and regulate their body temperatures, Spyhnx cats have developed a fast metabolism to help keep warm. Thanks to this, they need more food than your average kitty, and some vets may recommend a special diet to keep Sphynxes well nourished and fit.