When it comes to cats that have highly unusual appearances, you’d have to think for quite some time to come up with one more peculiar than the Sphynx cat breed- for the uninitiated, the Sphynx is the hairless cat breed that you may have seen on TV or film, but that are a whole lot less common out and about on the streets!
However, while many people in the UK have never actually seen a Sphynx cat in the flesh, they are nonetheless the seventh most popular cat breed in the UK, being closely beaten into sixth place by the Siamese. Of course the next obvious question is, “how come I’ve hardly ever seen one, if they’re so popular?” In this article, we will attempt to answer this question, as well as of course the universal question of what makes the breed so popular in general.
As mentioned, the Sphynx cat breed is currently seventh in popularity in the UK based on Pets4Homes advertisement data, and as the largest pet classifieds website in the UK, we think our data is fairly reflective of general trends! Here’s how they rank in the top ten:
When you consider the fact that we collate statistical data for every single breed listed on the site for sale across the UK, this gives an indication of the popularity of the breed as a whole!
Before we even get into the question of what makes the Sphynx such a popular breed, it is time to address one important question: If the Sphynx is such a popular cat breed, why don’t we tend to see more of them around? After all, rack your brains and think of the last time you saw a hairless cat strolling around the neighbourhood-the chances are that the answer is “never!”
The reasoning behind this is surprisingly simple-because the Sphynx cat is a hairless breed, they are not well prepared to stand up to the rigours of the British weather. They get much too cold in the winter, and even cooler parts of spring and autumn; and in the summer, they are prone to burning, as they have no fur to protect them.
This means that the majority of Sphynx cats are kept as indoor only cats, and do not have free access to the outside world. Some may have an enclosed run in the garden, go out under supervision, or even go out on a lead-and when cats of the breed to go outside, they will likely be wearing a little sweater for warmth, or a t-shirt for sun protection!
So what is it about the Sphynx cat that makes them so popular, and favourites among so many cat lovers? The answer to this question is not so simple, and is different for everyone.
First of all, the hairless appearance and feel to the cat’s body is not like that of a furry cat, and while not everyone likes this, some people think it is adorable and highly endearing. Additionally, if you do not live in an area where cats can go outside safely, or do not live on the ground floor, the sphynx is a breed that you can keep inside without any qualms, as they not only tolerate this but do not get on well outside.
The breed is also highly affectionate and outgoing, as well as very smart-they love to play, mock-hunt and generally, do everything else that any other cat can do!
For those that have a penchant for dressing their pets up, the Sphynx is again one cat breed that you can do this with without the fear of annoying them, as Sphynx cats do genuinely need coverage for protection in cold and hot weather.
Caring for a Sphynx cat has some elements to it that you will not find in the average furry cat-first of all you do of course have to take care to keep them at a comfortable temperature, as their lack of fur means that they cannot regulate their own core effectively.
This means having a stable ambient temperature in your home, and/or getting them jumpers and warm beds to stay warm in. They are also very vulnerable to sunburn-even if they do not go outside, they may get burnt simply from sunbathing in a very bright window-which is something else you have to bear in mind.
Additionally, Sphynx cats are distinct from other breeds in that they need to be bathed regularly-weekly, generally-in order to keep their skin in good condition. And not only do they tolerate this, but a lot of cats of the breed really enjoy it!
It is fair to say that Sphynx cat ownership needs plenty of research and is not to be undertaken lightly-but for their owners, they are hugely rewarding pets, and delightful to have around.