The Sphynx is a well known breed of cat distinguished by its lack of fur and wrinkled appearance. While in the past it has been promoted has a hypoallergenic cat, this is a misunderstanding, as the Sphynx cat is not truly hypoallergenic. Because of its lack of fur, the Sphynx requires special care and has specific medical challenges. The Sphynx originated back in 1966 with a single kitten, and more cats were selectively bred for the lack of hair and unique appearance. While the Sphynx does not have a traditional fur coat, it will often have coat-like patterns on its skin. These patterns are actually present in all cats but not visible due to the fur. The Sphynx also isn't truly hairless, but rather covered with a light down that is difficult to see. Sphynx cats may have whiskers or not. The face of a Sphynx is generally angular, and the body usually stocky. Sphynx cats enjoy the sun, due to their lack of fur, and are susceptible to getting cold in lower temperature environments. Some Sphynx owners will dress their cats to prevent this. Sphynx cats should never be outdoor cats; in cold temperature, they will not be able to maintain their body heat, and in warm temperature, they can get sunburned. Behaviorally, Sphynx cats are extremely sociable and outgoing. They are said to be intelligent and affectionate, along with having a high level of energy. Because the Sphynx is hairless, many assume that means that it will not affect those with allergies. Unfortunately, the opposite is true. Cat allergies are generally due to the dander produced by cat saliva, which dries on the fur, not the actual fur itself. Because the Sphynx does not have fur to capture this saliva, those with cat allergies may actually have a worse reaction to Sphynx cats than other cats. Medically, the Sphynx is actually an extremely healthy breed despite its unique considerations. Kittens do need to have their temperature monitored, and may be susceptible to respiratory infections. As a consequence, most breeders will wait until the kittens are fairly old to give them to new owners. The breed must also be carefully monitored, as they enjoy sun beams but due to their lack of fur can easily get skin cancer. The digestive system of Sphynx cats is also very fragile, and diet changes and medications may easily cause complications. Even stress can cause digestive problems in a Sphynx cat. Sphynx cats should also be bathed regularly to reduce the build up of oils on their skin, and their nails and ears should be carefully monitored at the same time.
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