SPHYNX cats might be known for their coatless bodies but Port Elizabeth sphynx breeders say what really sets them apart is the fact that they are the most loving, in-your-face animals which always demand attention.
Psychiatrist and president of the Eastern Cape Cat Club, Dr Ian Taylor and Johan Groenewald, his practice manager and show manager for the cat club, have been breeding sphynx cats for more than 10 years.
Groenewald and Taylor, who are originally from Cape Town, have been living in Port Elizabeth for 20 years. They shared their knowledge of the unusual cats in this Q&A:
How long have you been breeding sphynx cats? For 12 years.
Are you the only people in the city breeding sphynx cats? No there is a new cattery called Muggleborn Cattery. The owner is Jacqueline Ludick.
Are sphynx cats rare in Port Elizabeth? Yes, there are not many sphynx owners.
Sphynx cats are also known for their lack of a coat which is unusual. Does this make them popular among cat lovers or are they becoming more popular? Sphynx cats are very popular in Johannesburg but not so much in Port Elizabeth. They don’t have hair, only a fine down on their bodies.
How many sphynx cats do you have? What are their names and ages? We have eight sphynx cats. My most famous cat is Taldi Lncats Amirs Meer, an imported cat from Pennsylvania in the US. She won the cat of the year show in 2005 when it was held at the old Tsitsikamma Conference Centre at the Boardwalk. In short, the cats names are Golly, Molly, Meer, Fabia, Lollipop, Chine, Dagwood and the youngest is Rosebud.
How much does one sphynx cat cost? Is there a price range? Plus minus R5500. This could possibly be more in Johannesburg and Cape Town.
Why would people buy sphynx cats? Sphynx cats are the most loving in-your-face cats that you can imagine having. They always demand attention.
Do you own other cat breeds? Yes, we breed devon rex and siamese as well. The devon rex has curly hair and is also a very friendly breed. Siamese can be temperamental but they are more like people. Each cat has his own personality and they are very regal.
What are they like to live with?If you love cats or animals it is such a honour to live with them. They always give you unconditional love.
What should people know about sphynx cats and their habits and what do they eat? Sphynx cats need a regular bath, because they are oily cats. If you sleep with them your linen might get black marks if you don’t wash them about every 10 days. They eat normal cat food and they are normal indoor cats. They cannot be allowed to roam because they are so friendly they get stolen. They also get sunburnt and scratched. This might cost you extra in vet bills.
How would you describe the look of a sphynx cat? The sphynx is named after the Egyptian Sphynx because of their looks, but they originate from Northern America, Canada.
Would you describe these cats as ideal human companions? If so why? Sphynx and devons are ideal companions. A friend once said to us when you are old and alone all you need is a devon and a TV. Well, sphynxes also fall into that category.
Since these cats have no coats, how do they stay warm?
They always look for warm spots in the house but you can also put jackets on them. Some people have wardrobes for their cats. They also have a very high metabolic rate.
Where did you get your first sphynx cat from?Our first three females came from England and America. We also got a locally-bred stud with origins in US.