14 May Donskoy Cat, aka Don Sphynx Cat
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- Size: Medium, 7 to 12 lbs
- Energy Level: 3/5
- Talkative: 4/5
- Coat: Extremely short to hairless
- Hypoallergenic: Yes, with varying degrees depending on the coat of each cat
- Seeking: Those who love extremely sociable and affectionate felines
- Child Friendly: Yes
- Personality Snapshot: Smart and super friendly, unconditionally devoted and affectionate
The first thing everyone notices about me my obvious lack of hair. But I’m not exactly bald – my breed actually has four different types of coats that range from total baldness to a sparse growth here and there.
The totally bald, completely hairless of our breed is known as the Rubber Bald. Yea, I know, not such a flattering name. But it is accurate – a Donskoy with this type of coat remains utterly hairless forever and as the name implies, the skin tends to have the appearance and even the texture of rubber. This hairless beauty is the most prized of all Donskoy coats.
The second, slightly less hairless of us is called Flock. A Donskoy having this type of coat appears to be hairless at first glance, but actually sports an extremely thin and soft coat that feels very much like the Chamois cloth that’s used to wash glass surfaces.
The third, slightly more hairy of us is called Velour. A Donskoy having this type of coat is commonly born with wispy hairs on its body and an apparent bald spot on its head that’s similar to a monk’s cap. These wispy hairs either remain after its first birthday or completely disappear by that time, giving it our breed’s signature bald appearance.
Finally, the fourth and most hairy of our breed is called Brush. A Donskoy having this type of coat has a few sparse growths of hair on its body, save for the back, neck and head. Interestingly, these hairs become very noticeable during the winter and are shed off during the warmer months. Pretty cool, eh
All of us – regardless of our amount of hair – have medium-sized bodies and are fairly graceful in appearance.
And while my hairless, wrinkly physique may give me a somewhat fragile look, I am actually quite well-muscled and flaunt very strong bones. Plus, my skin’s not wrinkled all over. Try touching me – my skin actually feels soft and velvety. The crinkliest areas of my body are really only my groin, neck, underbelly, sides of the legs as well as my stomach.
Even apart from my uniquely hairless nature, I look outstandingly different from other felines.
My wrinkly head is shaped like an oval with very pronounced cheekbones, eye and chin lines. My ears are large and wide and tilt slightly forward.
As for my eyes, I sport a truly unique trait that can’t be found in other felines.
My eyes have a couple of indentations above them about the size of a thumb that gives them a slight slant. To further differentiate my look, I have a small mouth with a protruding muzzle.
Oh, and I really must clear this up. I am not pot-bellied. It’s just that my well-developed stomach muscles are more obvious than other cats simply because of my hairlessness.
Lastly, in case you’re wondering what the difference is between me and the other hairless cat – the Sphynx – is, it’s all about the genes. The Sphynx’s hairlessness is caused by a recessive gene, which means both parents need to have that gene in order for a Sphynx to enter the world. If only one parent has the gene, then maybe only 50% of the litter will be blessed with hairlessness, which is why it’s not recommended to breed a Sphynx with a breed that doesn’t carry the hairlessness gene.
In the my case, however, it’s a bit different since my hairlessness is caused by a dominant gene, which means that our babies will end up hairless even if only one parent has the gene. That does make things a lot easier for us.
I am very affectionate and love to cuddle whenever I get the chance. I easily make friends with people and other pets. One very surprising trait I have is my exceptional sociability. I am never territorial and always eager to play even with strangers dropping by my home for the very first time.
I am pretty high up on the list when it comes to inquisitiveness. I like to spend a considerable part of my day snooping around and getting involved with the affairs in and around the home.
Although not very vocal, it is not uncommon for me to voice my say when you’re deciding where to put the new picture on the wall or lay out the carpet in the living room.
I am very playful and quite fond of being engaged in interactive games to wile away the time. This can be a doubled-edged sword. Some humans love that I can entertain my human companions for hours on end with my antics. But for others, my expectation to be constantly played with can come off too strong.
This is the reason why I can be a bit too much to handle for newbie cat owners, especially if there isn’t another feline or cat-friendly dog in the picture. Even kids are okay, since I’m very friendly with children and won’t show aggression even if they roughhouse. Just make sure you supervise our play sessions since children can easily injure my delicate skin by handling me roughly.
In addition to my outgoing nature, I’m also quite brainy and can be taught a few tricks. I can even master voice commands easily with constant practice as well as lots of praise and treats.
My Ideal Human
I am perfect for cat buffs who want an extremely sociable and affectionate feline who is always up for play and interaction. The ideal human companion(s) will dedicate time daily to have a game or two as well as give me loads of cuddling and nuzzling while at it.
And just so we’re clear: I am a cat who craves companionship. I do not do well when left alone for long periods of time. You might even come home to see me pining away in misery from feeling ignored or isolated.
If you really must be away, make sure you get me some friends. I’m open to dogs, ferrets, other cats and even the occasional guinea pig or hamster.
My lineage began to take root in 1987 when Elena Kovaleva, an instructor at the State Pedagogical Institute in the city of Rostov-on-Don, Russia, rescued a young kitten that was being cruelly treated by young boys one afternoon. The hooligans placed it inside an empty bag and proceeded to use it for a game of soccer. This all happened in the vicinity of the river Don.
When Kovaleva opened the bag, she was really distraught to see that the kitten had lost most of its coat. She thought it was perhaps due to the mean treatment of the young boys and decided to bring it back home with her to nurse it back to optimal health. She named the female kitten Varvara.
Over time, Kovaleva noticed that Varvara’s coat became sparser even though she constantly cared for the young feline. She even gave it medicines and vitamins to make her coat grow back. To no avail, she became completely hairless after just a few months.
And when Varvara became of age in 1989, she gave birth to four kittens. Two of them had hair like normal-looking cats and two were almost hairless just like their mother. Kovaleva’s family members and neighbors told her that Varvara may be infected with a potentially serious illness that could be passed on to humans if the hairless cat and her kittens weren’t put down.
It so happened that a cat fancier and owner of the Myth cattery, Irina Nemikina (Nemykina in some accounts), heard of the impending extermination and managed to save one of the hairless kittens. She got a female one who was mostly black in color and named her Chitya.
Suspecting that Chitya’s baldness was a mutation, Nemikina began breeding her to long-haired and short-haired toms. What’s really surprising is that no matter how long the coat of the male cat Chitya was paired with, it always resulted to kittens that were almost or completely hairless.
Nemikina concluded that the lack of hair was brought on by a dominant gene that caused a mutation in the litter. She also thought that she might just be on the brink of establishing a new breed of cat.
And she was.
That’s the story of how my breed was founded. Nemikina specifically used “Don” to honor the place where Varvara was rescued by Elena Kovaleva.
It wasn’t until 1997 that the World Cat Federation (WCF) officially recognized the Donskoy. The International Cat Association (TICA) put our breed on its roster in 2005.
How to Keep Me Healthy and Happy
Being hairless, my coat demands none of the daily grooming and brushing that so many cat breeds require.
But that doesn’t mean I don’t have requirements. Just two, actually.
The first of them is that I need to be kept indoors. Always. Due to my lack of hair, I can easily get a bad case of sunburn when left outside for even short periods of time.
Similarly, I can also develop skin problems when subjected to chilly conditions since my skin is quite delicate and can suffer from nicks and cuts when the temperature gets nippy.
The last one is that I need a thorough wipe down or two weekly to prevent my skin from getting greasy. Since I don’t have hair to absorb the oil released by my body, I’m prone to attracting dirt and grime that can lead to parasites if not taken care of properly. Please wipe me. Thanks.
- I’m a feline of many names. Some cat associations refer to me as the Don Sphynx or Don Hairless.
- Like I said, I’m a smart cookie. So smart, in fact, that I’ll make up my own games when I get tired of tag, hide and seek, and fetch.
- I’m pretty generous. So much so that I’ve donated my genes so a new breed of hairless cats could be formed. They go by the name Dossow now and they’re a combination of me and the Hemingway Sphynx. And ‘though I hate to admit it, they just might’ve trumped even me in the uniqueness factor – not only are they hairless, but they have extra toes on their feet.