The Sphynx is not the first instance of hairlessness in domestic cats. This natural, spontaneous mutation has been seen in various locations around the world for at least the last ninety-something years, and probably longer. The Book of the Cat (Simpson, 1903), mentioned a pair of hairless cats belonging to a New Mexico fancier. Called the “Mexican Hairless,” these cats supposedly were obtained from Indians around Albuquerque.
The cat fancy’s version of downsizing — the Munchkin — has cat fanciers on both sides hissing over whether the breed should be recognized. While most new breeds have to face periods of resistance before acceptance can occur, the battle over this breed is particularly heated because it raises questions regarding where “unique variety” ends and “abomination” begins. This point has been previously raised within the cat fancy concerning breeds such as the Sphynx and the Manx. The word (or words to that effect) was even applied to the Siamese when it made its debut in London in 1871.