The Don Sphynx looks so bizarre that at the beginning of the breed breeding rumors about mutations caused by “atomic radiation” made the rounds. However, this is a mistake: the fact that cats are hairless is actually based on an extremely rare but natural gene variant. The fact that this mutation systematically found its way into a controversial breed of cat happened initially by accident: a stray from a town on the Don became the progenitor of these naked cats. Meet the Don Sphynx!
Keeping and caring for the Don Sphynx
In our latitudes, you should only keep a Don Sphynx (like all hairless cats) as an indoor cat. Optional access to a secured balcony or outdoor enclosure would be ideal, but the animal must be able to retreat to the shade at all times when the sun is shining. With its unprotected skin, the Don Sphynx is naturally extremely sensitive to sunburn and cold. Drafts aren’t good for her either.
As free-roaming cats, the lack of fur means that the cats are handicapped compared to furry conspecifics. Even harmless catfights can quickly lead to serious injuries. There is also an increased risk of injury in the household, for example when walking along rough surfaces.
With a Don Sphynx, you should pay particular attention to their body care. The skin folds of the cat on the head, thighs, and stomach can become inaccessible places when cleaning and thus sources of eczema and inflammation if they are excessive – or for an older animal that is no longer so mobile. The Don Sphynx is helplessly at the mercy of the resulting impairments without your support. It is best to wipe your Don Sphynx down with a cloth every day or to brush it with a very soft brush.
Occasionally it may even be necessary to bathe the Don Sphynx or to clean it with a washcloth and animal shampoo – namely when the natural sebum film on the skin gets the upper hand.
The following also applies to the Don Sphynx: There can be a little more in the bowl. A hairless cat needs more energy than other cat breeds to keep its heat balance balanced despite the sparse hair. Also, the body temperature of the Don Sphynx is slightly higher than that of their normally furred conspecifics.
What may surprise some cat lovers in view of this: The Don Sphynx is not considered to be particularly susceptible to infectious diseases. This may be due to their metabolism, which is always running at full speed.
Peculiarities of the Don Sphynx
Don Sphynx cats are born with their eyes open or open a few days after birth – much earlier than other breeds. Kittens can have short, slightly curly fur, but this disappears within the first few years of life.
The skin of the Don Sphynx feels leathery and slightly “sticky”. Don Sphynx breeders distinguish different degrees of possible (residual) hair – from velor-like (“brush”) or micro-hair (“flock”) to “naked undressing” and “proper naked” variants, i.e. “naked”. undressed” and “actually naked” cats.
The absence of any hair often includes whiskers and vibrissae. There are facilities for the vibrissae, but the hair breaks off prematurely. Since the animals lack an elementary sense organ, Don Sphynx cats are considered in Germany as so-called “torment breeding”. As a responsible cat fan, you should be aware that when breeding hairless cats, an “impairment” is passed on as a supposed beauty feature.
Don Sphynx: character
Behind the strange appearance of the Don Sphynx hides a completely normal feline disposition. However, keeping the Don Sphynx is not unproblematic for various reasons. If you are interested in a Don Sphynx, you should be aware that the animals require a lot of attention, which can be very exhausting in the long run. The animal does not tolerate being alone at all. The Russian hairless cat is considered human-related, it meets strangers in a trusting and open-minded manner. The Don Sphynx occasionally shows character traits that one would expect from a dog. But for all her trusting nature, she retains the self-confidence of a cat.
The Don Sphynx is intelligent and resourceful. With her long, flexible toes, she develops great dexterity in manipulating things. Of course, she doesn’t stop at things like drawers or cupboard doors. You should therefore keep an eye on Don Sphynx cats to protect the animal from accidents and the household from constant confusion.
The deliberately “bred away” fur brings with it a number of disadvantages for the cat. It goes without saying that the hairlessness of the Don Sphynx is associated with special requirements and a great deal of effort in terms of care. Since the Don Sphynx also needs a little more food than other breeds of comparable size, the financial outlay is correspondingly higher.