Underdogs of the Animal World: Sphynx Cat

Sphynx cats are, (as we say in good ol’ Blighty) a Marmite animal. You either love them or you hate them. For those of you who recoil a teensy bit when you see their adorable, old person faces, shame on you! Just kidding. I totally get your aversion, I really do. Cats should be so fluffy that they hide every time they see you coming, ‘cause they know you’re gonna wanna stroke the bejesus out of them, amiright? But don’t be too quick to overlook the Sphynx cat, with its wrinkly weirdness. There’s a lot more to them than meets the eye.

Firstly, just like the awesomeness that is Ellen Page, peanut butter and, everyone’s favourite human, Ryan Gosling, Sphynx cats hail from Canada. The first one was born by accident, when a genetic mutation started it all off. The mutation meant that a hairless kitten was born to a very surprised fluffy mommy cat in Toronto. They named the wrinkly kitty Prune, which isn’t nearly as rad as the equally cool Canadian mutant, Wolverine, but whatevs.

It was then decided by someone important that hairlessness was totally where it’s at with cats, so they tried and failed to create a whole hairless breed using Prune. He had a few sickly descendants, which were bred with Devon Rex and American Shorthair cats, and because the mutation gene is recessive, it took a while to end up with a bunch of hairless kitties, but they got there in the end.

Even though they’re called hairless, and look hairless, Sphynx cats actually do have fur, it’s just very fine fur that you need to pretty much get up close with a magnifying glass to see. They don’t have whiskers though, despite having the space. Unfortunately, Sphynx cats do trigger allergies in people unlucky enough to suffer with them. Hands up fellow sufferers. Yeah, it sucks, but there are support groups and Tamagotchis, so it’s not all doom and gloom. Plus, if cats are any more work than the electronic dinosaur I keep neglecting to feed, its sneeze status might just be a good thing.

Sphynx Cats can look pretty darn serious in photos, but they’re actually the life and soul of the party. Seriously, they know how to have a good time. Sphynx cats are definitely people persons, and will hunt out any stroking-inclined individual within a ten mile radius in the hopes of getting some affection. They love to be the centre of attention and will make sure that everyone is made aware of their attention-seeking needs. All that love-chasing does get tiring after a while though, so it’s probably no surprise that Sphynxes like a good cat nap, sometimes cuddling up under the duvet with their human friends. A good quality in cats and members of One Direction, not so endearing when spiders start getting affectionate.

But before you run off to Canada to hunt down your own Yoda-like, you need to know that Sphynx cats are pretty high maintenance. We’re talking Mariah levels of diva-tude. If you think that you can just let your Sphynx carry on its existence without a care about personal grooming, uh uh honey. Nope. All cats secrete oil from their skin and, whereas most cats have fur to soak it up, the Sphynx isn’t so blessed, so they have to be cleaned every week. Also, earwax is a big issue, but don’t go all Hannah Horvath! Nothing smaller than an elbow, people! And Sphynx cats have hardcore weather issues. If it’s cold, they need a cute sweater, and if it’s sunny, they need protection from sunburn. Basically treat them like a Toddlers and Tiaras kid and you’ll do just fine.

Sphynx cats are the original CatDog. Actually, while we’re on the subject, can anyone answer one very important question for me? HOW DID CATDOG POOP?! Ok, that’s not the point, but seriously. Anyways, these cats are said to have the best qualities of both cats and dogs which make them freaking awesome. So what are the best things about cats? YouTube videos and purring. What are the best things about dogs? Eternal devotion and the face they make when cotton candy disappears in their mouths. So can you safely assume that Sphynx cats won’t beg you to rub their belly and then rip your face off? And that they won’t turn their nose up at your every movement, like you’re some kind of social leper who hasn’t mastered basic toilet training and likes to lick windows for lols? Pretty much, yep.

So if you’ve been influenced by my kitty spiel, perhaps you’ll want to give adoption a go. Or if you got lost when the word CatDog was written, here you go…

You’re welcome.

Featured image via Shutterstock. Additional images via Gemma Correll and Shutterstock.

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