In 1966 a domestic cat gave birth to a hairless kitten in Toronto, Canada. It was discovered to be a natural mutation and the Sphynx cat, as we know it today, came into existence. This cat and a few other naturally hairless cats have been found worldwide. These have magically been produced by Mother Nature and are the foundation for this unusual breed. Cat breeders in Europe and North America have bred the Shpynx to normal coated cats and then back to hairless for more that thirty years. The purpose of these selective breedings was to create a genetically sound cat with a large gene pool and hybrid vigor. This is a very robust breed with few health or genetic problems.
The Sphynx is not always totally hairless; there can be a fine down on the body, which makes the cat feel like a warm peach. Some light hair is often present on the nose, tail and toes. The texture of the Sphynx skin has been likened to suede, a hot water bottle, or a heated chamois. This is a substantial cat, medium sized and strong, with adult males being larger than adult females. Sphynx have sturdy boning and good muscle development and should have a bit of a belly as if they just finished dinner. They have an open-eyed, intelligent face and a friendly expression. The Sphynx are extremely inquisitive and love to be the center of attention. They prefer human attention but enjoy the company of dogs and other cats.
Because of the lack of hair that would normally absorb body oils, the Sphynx needs to be bathed periodically. This is not a difficult task with a cat that has been accustomed to a bath from kittenhood and it takes no time at all to dry a Sphynx. Some people who suffer from cat allergies can tolerate living with Sphynx cats. However, depending on the type and severity of the individual's allergic reactions, there are still people who cannot live with this breed.
(This text is taken from the CFA breed profile for the Sphynx. For a complete breed profile, visit cfa.org.)