Monday 7 February 2022

Photo of a Sphynx cat doing Pilates (plus a bit about the breed)

You can always bank on a Sphynx cat to look interesting in a photograph. This is one such example. It's obviously set up but done well. It caught my eye. The eye is immediately drawn to the webbing between the toes. The hairlessness of the sphynx cat shows us what is typical of all domestic cats, namely the webbing between the toes. This simply must be an adaptation for swimming. Domestic cats are pretty good swimmers which goes against the views of a lot of people that "cats don't like water". They don't mind water. Their wild cat ancestor does a lot of hunting near watercourses. These are good areas for prey animals.

Photo of a Sphynx cat doing Pilates
Photo of a Sphynx cat doing Pilates. Photo in the public domain.

This Sphynx cat looks nice and clean. You probably know by now that Sphynx cats have a problem with becoming grimy because the sebaceous glands in their skin which would normally deliver oil to the individual hair strands, instead deliver it to the skin where it attracts dirt. That is why they say that you have to clean a Sphynx cat with a damp cloth regularly. I've also heard that they can smell a bit because of this.

RELATED: Extraordinary face of a male hairless cat.

And of course, you can't let them wander around outside so they are always going to be full-time indoor cats. Perhaps a catio would be ideal but you would have to make sure that you don't let blazing hot Californian sun shine directly into it if your Sphynx cat likes to spend time on a shelf in the catio.

Sphynx cats are known to be monkey-like. They are good climbers and intelligent and mischievous. Of all the breeds, they are in the top echelon of intelligence it is said. Although you have to take cat breed intelligence comparisons with a pinch of salt. It is impractical, if we are honest, to compare the intelligence of the cat breeds. It's impossible to compare the intelligence of an adult domestic cat with that of a four-year-old child as well. People try to do it but I disagree with the idea.

RELATED: Cat Intelligence.

Sphynx cats are a bit like Marmite. You either love them or loathe them. They are certainly eye-catching. They are the most photogenic of all cats other than the supra-large Maine Coons.

This cat is not entirely hairless. For a start, they are covered with a very short down that is almost imperceptible to the eye and can hardly be felt. There may be a small amount of hair on the tip of the tail and the extremities i.e. the points may have a soft short dense hair. Sometimes you see them with crinkly broken whiskers.

You will probably see somewhere out there in the world a hairless cat that is not a Sphynx cat and neither is the cat a purebred cat. They are still out there but of course extremely rare. They have been around for thousands of years and the spontaneous genetic mutation which causes the hairlessness sometimes pops up. You will see hairlessness in dogs, rats mice and other animals.

RELATED: Do Sphynx cats smell?

There are various stories about the beginnings of the Sphynx cat breed. Gloria Stephens thinks that her research has produced the best example. She says that in 1974 in Wadena, Minnesota, USA, a female cat called Jezebelle gave birth a hairless kitten called Epidermis. She was female. The following year Jezebelle gave birth to Dermis another hairless female. They were sent to Kim Mueske of the Z. Stardust cattery in Tigard, Oregon.

The classic Sphynx origin story is that in 1966 in Toronto Canada a domestic cat by the name of Elizabeth produced a hairless kitten named Prune. And in 1978, 3 hairless kittens were rescued from the streets of Toronto. These three kittens may be the foundation for the Canadian sphynx. There are other stories. I think I will stop as it is confusing. Hairless cats have popped up in Paris, France and other parts of the world. Some said they were the offspring of Siamese cats. Others said that they were stray cats.

There is one thing that is certain which is that the first Sphynx cats that became the foundation cat of this breed were non-purebred cats, simply random-bread cats from which they were selectively bred to produce this popular and interesting breed.

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