Why are Sphynx cats hairless? © Getty Images

Why are Sphynx cats hairless?

Asked by: Catherine Murphy, via email

It’s due to a mutation in the gene that is responsible for providing hairs with their keratin protein as they emerge from the follicle. The hair is formed, but it has a weaker structure and becomes easily damaged and dislodged.

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This genetic mutation can occur in cats naturally, but selective breeding for this trait since the 1960s has produced the Sphynx breed. Some Sphynx cats are completely bald, while others have short downy fur over their bodies or in isolated areas.

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