Hairlessness in cats is a result of mutation of genes that carry the code for normal hair growth and development. This is an extremely rare trait in cats. While mutation might be an unwanted result in breeding programs, there are actually breeders who specifically work with the hairlessness trait to continue producing hairless cats.
The Canadian Sphynx is one popular example of a feline breed that possesses the trait for hairlessness. The breed was originally developed in Toronto during the mid-1960s. The kittens are born devoid of hair, or with a sparse downy coat. Once the coat is shed off, there is no further growth of hair. Fur may be found on the cat’s ears, tail, muzzle, and sometimes feet.
Other distinct characteristics shared by the Sphynx and other hairless breeds include abnormal dentition, whiskers, and nails. Most have problems with their tear ducts and have noticeably enlarged sebaceous glands.
Hairless cat breeds have special grooming needs and your vet can help you meet your pet’s needs adequately. There is more information about pet care on this site.