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Sphynx cat

The Sphynx (aka Canadian Hairless) is a rare breed of cat with extremely little fur, or at most a short fuzz over its body, and no whiskers. Their skin is the color their fur would be, and all the usual cat marking patterns (solid, point, van, tabby, tortie, etc) may be found in Sphynx too. They are sometimes mistaken for Chihuahuass because of their extremely unusual and uncatlike appearance. They are very affectionate and like to cuddle with their humans, other humans, and each other.

It is essential to keep a sphynx cat warm and free from drafts, especially during kittenhood, as it is unable to regulate its own body temperature. Sphynxes are prone to hypothermia, chills, and conversely to sunburn and sunstroke because they lack the normal protection of fur. They are also prone to getting very dirty and greasy, since their skin produces the same oils as a fully-furred cat, but the oil is not spread over fur as usual.

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

There are also new hairless breeds, including the Don Sphynx and the Peterbald from Russia, which arose from their own spontaneous mutations.

Sphynx hairlessness is produced by an allele of the same gene that produces the Devon Rex. The Sphynx allele is incompletely dominant over the Devon allele; both are recessive to the wild type. Sphynx were at one time crossbred with Devon Rex in an attempt to strengthen this gene, but unfortunately this led to serious dental problems and is now forbidden in most breed standards associations. The only allowable outcross breeds in the CFA are now the American shorthair and Domestic shorthair. Other associations have different rules.

A well-known Sphynx is SGC Belfry Ted Nude-Gent who is in the Austin Powers movies. He plays the part of Mr. Bigglesworth, Dr. Evil's cat.

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