Cats called sphynxes are among the most loving and social breeds available. Despite their appearance of being unpleasant, independent, and unaffectionate, sphynxes are among the most affectionate and gregarious breeds available. What makes the breed so popular is its lack of hair, which is caused by a recessive mutation that happened spontaneously in Canada in 1966 when a litter of domestic shorthair cats produced a kitten that was born hairless.
However, although this kitten was not the first hairless kitten to be born, it was from this kitten that the selective breeding of hairless cats started, eventually leading to what we now know as the sphynx breed.
The absence of hairs inherited from the sphynx means that a sphynx with hair cannot be born, although it may be mistaken for one if it has the same markings as a sphynx. The following article on AnimalPlanet will help you understand why a sphynx cat may have hair if you’ve acquired one and observed it has it.
Are there sphynx cats with hair?
The Sphynx is a medium-sized feline with a powerful, muscular chest, long, thin legs, and blood vessels that are plainly visible in the veins of the legs and feet. The expression of the stare is one-of-a-kind, with deep eyes and no visible hair around them. The head is likewise devoid of whiskers and tactile hairs, and its shape is triangular at the back and rounded at the top. The body is riddled with wrinkles and loses fat as a consequence of its increased metabolism, which is caused by the absence of hair and the need to maintain a higher temperature to compensate for this.
Sphynx hairlessness is a recessive mutation, which means that in order for it to manifest itself in the kids, they must both inherit the two recessive alleles of the gene, which are not passed on in a dominant manner to the next generation. In other words, assuming that the S gene is responsible for this mutation (with S serving as the dominant allele and s serving as the recessive allele), only sphynx cats who are “ss” will be born hairless, and not those that are “Ss” or “SS.” It is true that a sphynx cannot be born with hair, however in order for a cat to be classified as a legitimate breed, two hairless cats (ie “ss”) must be crossed inbred, and hence no sphynx can be born with hair.
Why does my sphynx cat have hair?
It has previously been stated that in order for the Sphynx cat to be created, two hairless samples (Ss) must be crossed; nevertheless, with this combination of genes, there is no place for a dominant allele (S), which results in the birth of kittens with hairs. Furthermore, when a hairless sphynx (hs) is bred with a cat with hairs or with a few hairs, the offspring may be born with hairs and seem to be a sphynx, which is the source of the misconception. As a result, if you are ever in question about why your Sphynx cat has hair, it is quite possible that it is a mongrel.
Additionally, sphynx cats may be confused with another breed of cat called Donskoy, which is quite similar, but the mutation in this instance has a dominant character that is different from that of the sphynx breed, and as a result, they can be born with some hairs. We can distinguish four varieties of felines in the Donskoy based on the presence or absence of this characteristic:
Brushes: These are the ones that have the most hair on their heads. They are born with it, but eventually lose it in the areas of the head, neck, and upper back where it is most noticeable.
Velvet: They are born with a fuzzy coat that they lose over their first year, with some short hairs remaining on the face, tail, and legs, among other places.
Flock: They are hairless, but they have a kind of hair that provides a velvety touch that fades over time as they get older.
Rubber bald: These cats are born with no hair on their bodies or tails.
What if my sphynx cat has hair?
If your sphynx cat has hair, you know why, and it’s not a concern. Sphynx cats with no hair suffer skin issues and are more susceptible to cold or extreme heat, therefore their guardians should keep the home comfortable. They should also be protected from the sun, particularly in the summer, by wearing sunscreens with UV filters, since they are more prone to sunburn, allergies, etc. dermatological issues that would be less common with fur.
Is a hairless sphynx cat more allergic than a hairy sphynx cat? The answer is no, and in certain cases it is even beneficial. The sphynx cat is not suggested for allergy patients, and now you know why. The sphynx cat contains more allergens in its saliva and skin than other cats, however having hair reduces the amount of these allergens since the fur traps them. So shaving the sphynx cat is needless and unhelpful.
Keep in mind that the most important thing is not whether your sphynx has hair or not, but the companionship and attention you provide him. So love him unconditionally, understand his wants and provide them, and you will have a lifelong buddy.