The original breed of Sphynx cats nearly died out in the 1800's but some of there genetics may have remained as recessive genes in other cats. In 1966 a hairless male kitten was born in Toronto, Canada, named Prune he was bred to his mother in an attempt to produce more animals of this type. Inbreeding resulted in the deaths of many kittens, and the line never did get established. Other hairless cats were found, and with some shorter haired Devon Rex cats, the breed finally was able to be considered healthy and viable.
The Sphynx cat is often marketed as a cat ideal for people who suffer from allergies, but they are not truly allergy free, and do require special care. Sphynx cats should not go outside as they are at risk for sunburn and have poor tolerance for cold weather. The fact that they lack hair means these cats are particularly fond of curling up on a warm lap, but are otherwise a more playful and active type of cat.
Due to their relative lack of hair, the Sphynx cat does require regular washing, and should be bathed once a week to prevent body oils from building up on their skin and in the folds of skin. The cats should also should have their ears cleaned on a weekly basis. This is because they do not have hair in their ears that would normally draw out the ear wax. As such the Sphynx cat may require more maintenance than a furry cat.
If you are interested in getting an exotic pet cat, such as the Sphynx you can find breeders at cat shows and in cat magazines, however you should be aware that it is especially risky to bring one of these hairless cats home before it is 12 weeks of age as they are more prone to respiratory problems while young.