Today I would love to introduce to you our four-legged flatmates, who unless I dress them promenade beside us completely without shame, in a manner of speaking as their mothers brought them into the world, naked altogether. They are Don Sphynx, hairless cats. Apart from mutual sympathies I share with them the same date of birth, as for cats without hair rather a date of rediscovery. In 1966 I came into this world with the name, which in translation means “reborn” and the very same year in Canada appeared the first cat without hair resembling ancient Egyptian Sphinx. I can see it as a symbolism and therefore appropriate these beautiful, intelligent cats a little bit. I know it is a big cheekiness, but I believe that fanciers from Russia will forgive me. As a matter of fact only in 1987 in Rostov-on-Don they began to observe and develop the process of natural genetic mutation of domestic cat, which carries the predominant gene of hairlessness for its grading up. It was given the name Don Sphynx. On the websites of Russian fanciers a beautiful story has become popular and is ever since passed from one fancier to another. It is about the first naked cat, which is considered to be the foremother of Don Sphynx.
The experienced cat fancier Elena Kovaleva sheltered a kitten in her house thinking her to be sick and helpless. The kitten did not have hair, except on the ears and paws. In the course of time the fancier became sure that she has got the one already discovered in Canada. She began her breeding career with this kitten named Varia. Elena started to present her ’naked’ wards at exhibitions. Gradually, Don Sphynx became recognised as a new cat breed. From the Canadian Sphynx, which carries a recessive gene, this cat is distinguished by the dominant gene of hairlessness. At first, the hairless cat was officially recognised only by the World Cat Federation (WCF) in 1997. Later on, by The International Cat Association (TICA) in 2005 and since January, 2011 it has also been a fully recognised race “Don Sphynx” by the international organisation FIFE, whose members we are too. This belle found her way to Slovakia 8 years ago.
In Slovakia, fancier Marta Nemlahova began to make history of Don Sphynx cat breeding. Other fanciers joined her and together they managed to import foreign lineages. Present-day Slovak fanciers can pride themselves with genuinely high-quality specimen.
Don Sphynx cat is not only interesting for her hairlessness, but she will also attract you with a beautiful and muscular body structure you can admire without “hairy” barriers. The muscles in motion wave under the firm skin, which gives the impression of softness and is pleasant to touch. It resembles small baby’s skin. The skin can be little hairy providing the softness of velvet or peach. However, the hair should not be longer than 2 mm. Some of the rare specimen can have rubber-like skin with no hair at all. When you want to stroke them your hand “rubs” exactly like touching the rubber. I, personally, was most surprised at skin density, which doesn’t easily allow one to pierce it with an injection needle and that we find out during vaccinations in particular. It has got the ability to regenerate quickly after potential injuries. The skin is firm, resistant; hence there is no reason to be worried that the “naked” cat is sensitive for its skin and hairlessness. It does not require any special care. Both human and Don Sphynx’s skin greases naturally. Warm water bath removes any extra grease.
All colour variants are admissible. What future fanciers may find interesting is that everybody can choose a kitten of whatever colour he likes most (e.g. patterned, tortoise-like; even with blue eyes). When mating parents with different colourings or patterns, the birth of kittens is very attractive for a fancier. A cat has got higher body temperature than a man (approx. two degrees and half difference). Therefore, when she sticks to you, she can warm you up like a heating mat. She is of medium height; her hind legs are longer than fore legs. She easily stands up on them and observes the environment, or discovers something new. When she raises her big ears and her beautiful almond eyes light up, then we say that she signalizes I guess “home”. She is a keen observer and discoverer. The whole appearance of this cat gives an impression of a mystery and, therefore, she is attributed comparisons to extraterrestrial beings. This will be appealing to fanciers looking for something mysterious in their pets, something between heaven and earth. Fore legs denote hands because of their dexterity. She can even handle articles such as pen, hygienic cotton buds, and manipulate them so expertly; giving you a sense that with little training she will paint a picture; or that she will clean your ears instead of you. She has got long fingers with membranes, which appear more like fingers of a monkey. She might swim with them well, however she prefers quiet pleasurable bath.
When people ask me why they are called intelligent, it doesn’t occur to me right away what exactly to say. I take it as a fact. But I will have a try. They are house-trained, they use toilet (just cannot flush it), they prefer clean environment, sweet-smelling bed is the best, they respond to the name and if they love you they are obedient to the command. They follow your daily routine and check rituals so that you do not forget anything. To the ladies they “shift” cosmetics; meaning you are beautiful even without make-up. They fix your haircut, because you do not know how to smarten up that useless hair on your head anyway. Hair elastics do not belong to you, so rather leave them all to them. It is because they like you to have your hair unfasten. They are able to clean the floor using a sponge so that you can peacefully go to work. They will finish it. When you are back home with a good feeling that you have earned enough to get their food supplies they welcome you warmly in the doorway expecting you to take after-work rest, of course together in your already shared bed.
They pamper you, they purr loudly, they stroke you with the paw on the face and if you deserve they give you even a kiss. They can hug you around the neck, they lay their head on your shoulder and by that they lead you to the state of absolute submission. They fetch a ball with no shame before dogs. They like toys, however far more they use kitchen utensils, bathroom equipment and stuff from cupboards in pursuit of perfection.
With great affection they raise their kittens. Some of the mothers even allow their tom cats to be present during the birth act. Joint custody of kittens is a matter of course. Everything you do they watch with great interest and eyes wide open. At that time you get the impression they “record” you and send you “home”. By such means they force you to behave in a refined and intelligent manner. And, who would manage this? The intelligent being after all. That is why man’s behaviour has to be of the same degree. Cat senses very rapidly how true your love towards her really is. If you give her all she needs, if you take care of her belly, her clean toilet, if you provide her with enough playtime and if you take care of her when she is unwell. And, if she is content she is devoted. She is not a pretender as it is commonly rumoured. But if she is disappointed by your approach towards her, she is unhappy, nervous, and eventually she can fall sick even to death. Cat as a domestic pet I recommend to all who want to experience warm feeling of mutual understanding between man and animal. This cannot be obtained by drill. Only by means of love you get a devoted companion. Don Sphynx is very perceptive cat. As she can be active during games; in the same way she can stay at ease. That is why she can be used for feline therapy.