Cat Breeds 101: Donskoy

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Cat Breeds 101: DonskoyPhoto – Wikipedia – lic. under CC 3.0

Even if you are subscribed to cute cat channels on YouTube or cute cat pages on Facebook, it is still pretty likely that you haven’t seen much of the Donskoy. You see, this “cat from outer space” is usually not what people have in mind when they talk about “cute cats.”

The Donskoy is a hairless cat. Some might describe it as “bald as on the day it was born”, except the Donskoy is not born bald at all. (Well, some varieties of it are, but generally, it is not.) Most Donskoys are, in fact, born with a coat of hair, but as the cat matures, all its hair falls off, leaving just its soft, velvety, wrinkled skin. And though wrinkles are often avoided by humans, the unwritten rule with Donskoys is, “The wrinklier, the better.” [1]

For the lazy cat owner, the Donskoy might initially seem like a dream come true. Here’s a cat that doesn’t shed (after its coat is completely gone) and never needs brushing!

But then the truth comes to mar the dream: the Donskoy is not a low-maintenance cat. Its skin gets dirty, and it needs to be bathed every week. Like other cats, it needs weekly tooth brushing and annual professional tooth cleaning. Its nails still need trimming. And because it has no fur to protect it from the heat and the cold, if you bring it out into the sun, you need to apply sunscreen or your cat could get sunburn! And then in winter, it needs warm clothing to keep it from getting chilled. You might say this is an ideal breed for people who love to dress up their cats – that is, if they don’t mind ending up with something that looks like Master Yoda in a dress. Speaking of Master Yoda, this is, incidentally, a long-living cat, with a lifespan of up to 20 years.

Now many of us would probably wonder, where on Earth did this cat come from? Or, judging by the looks of it, did it come from Earth at all?

Yes, the Donskoy is very much an Earth cat. Its first recorded reference was when a woman found a bald kitty near the Don river in Russia. The kindhearted lady thought the kitty was ill and took it home to care for it. But it was quite healthy after all and went on to have kits of its own. When the kits grew up into bald cats as well, the humans around them realized they were looking at a distinct cat breed with a dominant hairlessness gene. [2] And so the Donskoy was discovered.

Aside from its lack of hair, the Donskoy is characterized by a dense, pear-shaped, muscular body; strong bones; a fat belly; and long, slim, inward-bending toes with webbed skin in between. It is a sociable cat that thrives with a companion pet. It is certainly very warm, both figuratively and literally (touch its skin and see). It is also easily trained. The Donskoy can be a good addition to families who prefer their pets to be one of a kind. [3]

[1] Donskoy, Cats 101. Animal Planet.
[2] Breed of the Week – Don Sphynx (Donskoy). Vetsure.
[3] Donskoy. The International Cat Association.

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