Most cats are soft and furry. However, there’s a special breed of cats that are popular for being hairless. If you have only come across normal fluffy cats, seeing a hairless cat could be quite the shocker. They have a very different appearance from the hairy cats you are used to.
They are a striking contrast from the cute wide-eyed cat breeds you are probably used to. They have an elfish look, pointy ears, wrinkly sagged skin, and are generally odd-looking.
Despite their unique features, hairless cat breeds are quite affectionate and cuddly, unlike regular cats. They have a playful personality and like to seek out humans for warmth. Hairless cats are inquisitive and exceptionally intelligent.
Besides, they make cleaning up after them easy as you don’t have to constantly remove cat hairs from your clothes or furniture. Also, you won’t be coughing up hairballs anytime soon.
Are Hairless Cats Truly Hairless?
Hairless cat breeds are known for having no hair or fur on their bodies. However, these cats are not completely hairless. A lot of them are born with hair but they become bald in their first couple of years. Hairless cats retain some fine fuzz which gives them a downy feel. They have a short coat of peach fuzz-like hair on their body and there are tufts of hair on their tails and in-between their toes.
Are Hairless Cats Hypoallergenic?
A lot of people believe hairless cats are hypoallergenic because they have no hair. This is not entirely true. Cat hair does not cause allergies. Rather, it is the protein Fel d1, which is an allergen found in cat saliva and dead cells.
Hairless cats produce the allergen that causes hypersensitivity. However, they secrete them in much lower amounts than normal cats. Also, they shed less than the normal cat so there is less of their dander and saliva secretions sticking around the house. Hairless cats are bathed more regularly than normal cats. This removes most of the allergens.
All these contribute to making hairless cats a great option for cat lovers who are allergic to cats.
7 Breeds of Hairless Cats
There are seven significant breeds of hairless cats. They include:
The Sphynx is the most popular hairless cat breed. It is also the first hairless cat breed in existence. It was discovered in 1966 when a pet cat in Canada gave birth to the first Sphynx.
This led to a launch of a breeding program to discover the particular recessive gene which causes a lack of hair in cats. The research expanded the number of hairless cat breeds as most came from crossbreeding Sphinxes with other cat species.
The Sphynx cat is muscular and weighs about 6 to 12 pounds. Its skin is extremely wrinkled with different patterns and colors ranging from white to black, blue, cinnamon, red, lavender and white.
Sphinxes look hairless, however, they are covered in a fine layer of peach fuzz. They have long pointy ears like an elf and are skinny with rotund stomachs. They have large eyes and often have mismatched eye colors. Sphinxes are friendly and affectionate pets. They are quite playful and get along well with both humans and other pets.
Because of their hairless nature, they tend to accumulate dirt and sweat excessively and therefore need to be groomed and bathed at least every week.
The Donskoy first appeared in the 1980s in Russia where it was discovered by a Russian cat breeder. They are mistaken for the Sphynx cat or thought to be a hybrid of the Sphynx breed. However, they are unrelated to the Sphynx and have different genetic makeup. While the Sphynx’s hairlessness is because of its recessive gene, the Donskoy’s hairlessness is due to its dominant gene.
The Donskoy is a great companion and a loyal pet. Its skin is extremely wrinkled but unlike the Sphynx, it has a sleek body structure which makes it look graceful. Donskoy cats are large eyes and ears. They have oval feet with long webbed toes.
The Donskoy cat is quite peculiar because it grows a winter coat during the cold months and sheds it during warmer weather. It is the only hairless cat breed with this unique ability.
Like other hairless cat breeds, the Donskoy needs to be groomed frequently. However, bathing them too often can cause their skin to become extremely oily.
The bambino is a new addition to the family of hairless cat breeds. It was created in 2005 as a result of crossbreeding a Sphynx with a Munchkin cat. A bambino cat has a very unique appearance, taking after its Munchkin heritage. It has a long, low body with short, tiny legs. Physically, it is the feline version of the Dachshund dog.
Like most hairless cat breeds, it has large eyes and long, elegant ears. Its body is wrinkled and covered with fine peach fuzz. It is hairless but has tufts of hair on its tail like a lion. They are energetic and lively, with a friendly personality.
The Peterbald was created in Russia in 1988 by crossbreeding a hairless Donskoy with a Siamese cat. It has a small head, a slender neck, and a skinny body. It is less wrinkled than other hairless cat breeds. It is one of the most sociable hairless cat breeds.
It loves showing affection to its humans and even visitors. Like most hairless cats, it has large eyes and long, elegant ears. The Peterbald is quite vocal and makes a lot of noise talking to its human frequently.
The Elf cat came into being in 2007 as a result of crossbreeding the Sphynx and the American Curl. It got its name from its curly ears which gave it an elfish appearance. It is quite strong and healthy, weighing up to 15 pounds.
Like the American Curl cat, the Elf cat has beautifully curled ears with a hairless interior. It also has large round eyes. Its body is highly wrinkled, particularly its neck and head.
The Elf cat is quite playful and adventurous and gets along with other pets. It loves attention and hates being left alone for too long.
This is another cat with Russian origins. It is a relatively new breed and comes from crossbreeding the Sphynx with a Scottish Fold. It is quite friendly and playful without being needy like other hairless cat breeds. It has a sleek, muscular body with large eyes.
One of its irresistible features is its ability to fold its ears. Ukrainian Levkoy comes in different colors and patterns. It looks exotic and has a dog-like appearance, endearing it to the hearts of hairless cat enthusiasts.
The Dwelf is one of the most sought-after hairless breeds there is. It was created by crossing a Munchkin cat with a hairless Elf breed. It has a unique appearance that can be described as cartoonish. It has a long body with short legs and a low stomach. Its skin is wrinkled and has different colors and patterns.
In spite of their short legs, Dwelf cats can run swiftly and they love climbing. They have a playful personality and love attention.
Grooming and Special Care for Hairless cats
Though hairless, these cats still require adequate grooming and care just like their furry counterparts. Cat hair protects them against harsh weather so hairless cats require extra attention and special care.
- Since they cannot regulate their body temperature, they should be kept indoors.
- Hairless cats get cold easily during cold seasons. Likewise, they can get sunburnt when subjected to excessive sunshine. To protect them against harsh weather, they can be dressed up in cat clothes and custom-made jackets.
- Hairless cats need to be bathed at least once a week. Since they lack hair, sebaceous oil accumulates on their skin. If they are not regularly bathed, their skin would feel sticky to touch and they could develop skin problems. The accumulation of oil could also stain fabrics and furniture.
- Hairless cats have no hair in their interior ear. This makes them highly susceptible to ear infections. As a preventive measure, their ears need to be cleaned periodically.
- Unlike regular cats, hairless cats are quite social. Most hairless cats thrive on attention and love to be surrounded by humans and other animals. Neglecting them for long could cause them to pine away. Make out time to interact and play with your hairless cat. If you are too busy, have other pet animals around for companionship.
- Hairless cats are extremely active and have a high rate of metabolism. Provide them with superior nutrition for their energy needs.
- Hairless cats are vulnerable to heart disease due to inbreeding. Ensure that you buy from a trustworthy breeder and take adequate care of your cat so it lives a full, healthy life.
Hairless cats are thought to be low maintenance because they require less vacuuming and lint rolling than normal cats. However, they need special care because of their exposed skin and they require a large dose of affection and attention. Hairless cats make excellent pets and are a great addition to any feline-loving home.