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When you hear about a cat with unusual features, you might think of your very own kitty and his slightly wonky eye or stubby little tail. Our cats’ individuality, both in appearance and in personality, is one of the things that make us love them so much, but what about the specific breeds that are known for having something . . . well . . . different about them?
What sets Sphynx cats apart from other breeds of cats is that they appear completely bald! Technically they’re not totally bald, they have soft downy fuzz instead of the usual cat’s coat – but it certainly makes them look unusual! They also have short hairs that grow on their feet, ears, tail and muzzle, and large eyes and big ears that are made even more prominent by the lack of hair. Like all cats, their hair follicles produce oil, and because they don’t have enough hair on their bodies to absorb it, sphynx cats need to be rubbed down regularly with a soft cloth to keep their skin in good condition, and bathed regularly too.
Munchkin cats are named after the ‘little people’ in the popular 1939 movie ‘The Wizard of Oz’, and are just as cute! They have short little legs due to a naturally occurring genetic mutation, with legs in three different lengths, referred to as standard, short and ‘rug huggers’ (very short). The recognition of Munchkins as a breed by The International Cat Association in the 1990s was seen as controversial because of possible health issues in the breed, but their short legs don’t cause any issues with their spine as they do in short-legged dogs. The Munchkin cat will run and jump the same as any other domestic cat.
The Manx gene has varying effects on the length of tail. True Manx cats have no tail and are known as ‘rumpies’, those with a short stub of a tail are known as ‘stumpies’, and those with a long although not full length tail are referred to as ‘longies’. There are many different legends about their lack of tail, one is that the Manx cat was the last animal to get on-board the ark, which meant that Noah slammed the door on his tail!
Scottish Fold Cats
As you might have guessed from the name, Scottish Fold cats have distinctive ears that fold forwards. Scottish Fold kittens have straight ears at birth; the ears of kittens that carry the folded ear gene begin to fold at 3-4 weeks of age. Scottish Fold cats are often described as owl-like or sometimes as an ‘owl in a cat suit’, due to their folded ears and large round expressive eyes.
American Curl Cats
Like the Scottish Fold, it’s the ears that give the American Curl breed their name. Unlike Scottish Folds, American Curl cats’ ears actually curl backwards. American Curl kittens are also born with straight, normal-looking ears that start to curl after three to five days, with the appearance of a tightly wound rosebud formation.
Do you have a cat breed with unusual features in your life? If you have a Sphynx, Munchkin, Manx, Scottish Fold or American Curl cat, please tell us about them in the comments below…
Images: The Pug Father / Mariko Kato / Vladimir Pustovit / Nickolas Titkov via Flickr and Jonik via Wikimedia Commons.
M. K. Clinton says
I had a solid black Manx named Amos. He was awesome and is now a character in my books. They are special cats.
One thing that I love about cats is all the variety of looks that they have. You’ve brought up some really fantastic kitties 🙂 I just love how unique each breed is.
Kitty Cat Chronicles says
We have sadly never seen any of these cat breeds in person before! Oh wait… we have seen a Manx. Mom says that she has always wanted to pet a Sphynx! When Delilah had her knee surgery a couple years ago, her leg got shaved bald, and Mom loved to pet it – she said it was super warm and soft! That must be what Sphynx cats feel like.
The Swiss Cats says
Those are unusual breeds indeed, mostly the Sphinx ! Mum was lucky to meet one of them, and that was a lovely cuddly kitty. Purrs
Cathy Armato says
These are such interesting kitty breeds. The Sphynx looks so regal. People think they’ve non allergenic cats but I don’t think that’s true? I love the Scottish fold as well, super adorable! I lost my beautiful Calico kitty about 2 years ago, just shy of 19 years old. Fun post!
I’m a huge sucker for a Scottish Fold. Every one I’ve ever met has been an absolute sweetheart <3
The Island Cats says
The mom has always wanted a Scottish Fold.
I have seen each of these breeds at cat shows – sadly, not very many Scottish Folds, as they are my human’s favorite of the five. I compete regularly with an 11-year-old Munchkin who is utterly darling and looks NOWHERE near her age!