They may look strange and even scary to some, but new research finds that the hairless Sphynx is actually the most affectionate of all cat breeds.
While cats are by reputation considered cold and solitary creatures that rarely display affection, a new study finds that this popular perception of cats is unfair and does not apply to all breeds.
A new study, published in the Journal of Veterinary Behavior, studied the friendliness of 129 cats from 14 breeds.
Researchers found that despite their disagreeable reputation, many cats are actually far more affectionate than they are given credit for.
Researchers found that purebred cats were the most amiable, with the hairless Sphynx cat being ranked the friendliest of all cats.
In contrast, researchers found that non-pedigrees were the least amiable cats and were the most likely to ignore their owners, shy away from affection and run away from strangers.
"There is a clear difference in friendliness between the purebred cats and the domestic shorthaired. In general, the pedigree cats are friendlier than non-pedigree," said researcher Dr. Marie Abitbol, of the National Veterinary School of Alfort in Paris, according to The Telegraph.
Researchers believe that the Sphynx's affectionate nature, which extends to being bathed or going to the vet, is because of its reliance on humans to keep warm.
Their friendliness may also be because breeders tend to leave kittens with their mothers for longer, during a critical period of their development when they are getting used to humans.
The study consisted of cats ranging from kittens to more than 20 years old. Both male and female cats were in the study and some were neutered. Researchers said that some of the cats lived in homes with other animals and children, and other lived in homes with only their owner.
The friendliness of cats was based on answers from a series of questions researchers asked their owners, like how their cat would react when they entered a room, how often it would rub up against them, whether it would avoid them, and how it would act around strangers and veterinarians.
Researchers noted that because the numbers of other cat breeds in the survey were small, the pedigrees were grouped together for an average friendliness score of 20.40.
The results showed that the Sphynx cat scored an average of 22.83 for friendliness compared to 18.93 for the domestic shorthaired tabby breed.
Other cats more friendly than the domestic shorthaired breed were Maine Coons, which scored 20.76 and Persians, which scored 20.38.
Cats Ranked in Order of Friendliness in the Study
1. The Sphynx
2. Maine Coons
4. Birmans, Somalis, Siamese, Russian blues and other exotic shorthairs
5. The domestic shorthair or the common tabby cat