Saturday, July 31, 2010

Creature Feature: Freak Week - Sphynx Cats.

(I'm still not sure what kind of Sphynx this is.)

If you thought dogs looked hellish without fur, wait until you see a hairless cat. Sphynxes (to use the term collectively) are unanimously associated with evil in the media. Seriously, the only time I have ever seen a sympathetic Sphynx was in Pet Shop of Horrors - a manga that asks its readers to rethink the world in general. They are very affectionate cats, albeit weird to hold and look at.

Dr. Evil described the sensation of holding a hairless cat as "holding somebody's ass." Lovely imagery.

There are three breeds of hairless cat, or 'Sphynx.' None of them come from Egypt, one of the few places where being hairless would be beneficial; one was born spontaneously in a Canadian litter, and the other two breeds - the Peterbald and Don Sphynx - are both native to Russia. The Russian breeds' hairlessness is a dominant trait while the Canadian version is simple recessive, so crossing the two will not necessarily guarantee a hairless litter. Outbreeding is forbidden in the Canadian Sphynx regardless.

There is also one hairless cat native to the Ukraine that has yet to become an official breed, but looks even freakier than the regular Sphynxes do.

Oh, Russia...or little country that used to be part of Russia, anyways.

Hairless cats still have very fine hair, often described as feeling like peach fuzz or Chamois leather. Unlike hairless dogs, hairless cats are far from ideal for those suffering from cat allergies; many allergies to cats come from the oils on their skin, not from their fur. Some individuals may have overcome their allergen through sheer willpower after acquiring a Sphynx, but by no means are they truly hypoallergenic.

So ends Freak Week...version 1.

1 comment:

  1. Important sidenote: It's not skin oils that cause allergies, it's a chemical from their saliva that gets deposited on their skin. While sphynxes are not naturally hypoallergenic, they need frequent baths, which as a side effect, tends to wash off those allergens. So if you properly maintain your sphynx, they won't bother your allergies. I say this as someone with a sphynx, with allergies to cats, but with no sniffles or watery eyes from my own kitty. :-)