I have always been a lover of creatures, my home has never been complete without a fur (or scaled) baby for me to cuddle and love. I am a self confessed cat lady and all the things I thought I loved about cats momentarily went out of the window when I happened upon a breed I would covet for years to come… The Sphynx.
I have spent an age wanting to cuddle this hairless creature and just as long wondering what its skin felt like. Many a night I have Googled these little naked kitties and followed various Sphynx Instagrammers to learn all I could about this breed of cat that has completely enthralled me since first sighting all those years ago. It was an animal that I thought I would never have the pleasure of being owned by… until now.
I was fortunate enough to finally welcome Dorian Gray to our family in July of this year, the glamour rat that has taken over our home, our hearts and our lives. He is the oddest looking, most beautiful creature I have ever had the pleasure of caring for (Thank goodness my other babies cannot read) and I cannot, after two months, imagine our lives without him.
I often liken Dorian to the son I never had because caring for and being owned by a hairless cat is like having another baby in the house. They require a considerable amount of care, more so than other cats (I have had a fair few) and I have been kept from sleep many nights with him in our home. The beauty of this little man is that he is perfectly suited for me, his cat mum, in every way! He challenges me daily but loves me equally and no matter how much we irritate each other; we always turn to each other for love and comfort. He came to me at a time when I needed him more than he needed me but he has taught me that he in fact, needs me most.
No amount of research can prepare you for ‘owning’ a Sphynx until you have one for yourself, but here are a few things that I have learned about Dorian and his kind in my first two months as a ‘Nudist Feline Lover’.
This is one of the most talkative cats you will ever ‘own’. Their breed is notorious for their ability to vocalise their displeasure and have a conversation with you, it’s human, about the facts and meaning of life. I often find myself talking back to Dorian as he moans and groans at me in bath time, calls me from the opposite end of the house, shouts at me for not feeding him on time or just decides to run around and have a rant – One of the perks of working from home. While at first and majority of the time this is really cute, it can also turn a phone conversation into a conference call or leave the neighbours wondering if I have lost the plot. Not only are they talkative but one could also safely assume that they were a South African breed with their loud and unassuming outbursts, Dorian is no different. He often howls out in his deep, baritone mew, increasing in volume as I ignore his latest protests.
No. Not all of the time. In fact, they do try their best to keep themselves clean but their lack of fur is an unnatural occurrence. As his mum, I need to make sure that what Dorian cannot clean, I step in and do for him. This means a regular bath (Opinions differ on how often ranging between weekly to monthly), an ear clean, a claw cleaning and frequent bum / tail wipes after his litter box experiences. Contrary to popular belief, Sphynx cats are not completely hairless however their instinctive grooming is not sufficient to effectively remove the dirt, grease and oils that build up on their skin and thin velvet layer. These creatures love a good rub and tickle so for my enjoyment (and his), regular cleaning means a happy cat and cat mum – Loads of love and cuddles! He is at his most vulnerable when snoring peacefully in my lap and so I jump on this opportunity to remove the ear and claw wax build up where possible, this is the least traumatic way for him and means I can spend the time to groom him properly, like a good mum should. I thought buying baby wipes was a thing of the past, now I buy 5 packs of them a week. You know, just in case.
Love, Love, Loads of Love
I have alluded to this earlier but I must emphasise this again now, these cats need and love a lot of love. Of course, they are not the only breed to do so but with all the various cats that I have had in my life, Dorian is one of the neediest. These cats do not like to be alone and Dorian will vocally remind us of this regularly. If he is alone upstairs (Big brother Ragnar is out gallivanting most of the day) and wakes to realise he is on his own, he makes a speedy dash down the stairs to look for companionship. He is generally always in a room with people if Ragnar isn’t indoors but when he is, he can be found cuddled up to him (or holding him hostage). Without fail, Dorian sleeps next to me every single night, either under the covers or under my pillow and never ceases to remind me of his presence.
Unlike their furry cousins, these naked kitties do not have a warm protective layer to keep them comfortable in the cold. It was imperative that when Dorian arrived, so too did his cat jumpers (Yes, that is a thing!) and we have a number of fleece blankets we now refer to as the cat blankets. Dorian is the first to dash under a cover or duvet when feeling the English chill and I have had to learn to be mindful of how warm or cool his skin feels to the touch. Like with a baby, I spend the evenings making sure my feline son is comfortable.
All the attention
It is nearly impossible to take Dorian out of the house without attracting attention from curious outsiders. Despite the Sphynx coming into the UK in 1988, a large number of people have never even heard of the breed let alone seen pictures of one. It is easy to forget his oddities when living with him day to day but be quickly reminded of them when we leave the house and people want to touch him or have photos taken with him. He has since become famous at our local vet and has his picture up on their website along with a few other curious pets registered there. As an indoor cat, he spends most of his time in the house with me away from the elements however in the interest of giving him some fresh air, we have a leash and like to get him outside every now and again. This of course attracts the attention of all the neighbours and extensive conversations about the Sphynx breed and their nuances will ensue.
I am certain this is a breed thing but I can confidently say that this is a Dorian thing. He is super intelligent! Dorian is hyper aware of his surroundings and loves to watch a good wild cat documentary on YouTube or can be found watching the X Factor with me in the evening. He loves to play and his favourite toy is an annoyingly squeaky mouse that he chases around the living room. If you hide your hand under the blanket and get him to chase your fingers, he would rather attack your arm knowing your fingers were attached. He knows that laptop / writing time means he would not be getting the attention he desires and so, as I type, he is asleep on my keyboard (it is taking me a while!)
I love everything about Sphynx cats, from their satin hairless feel to their bat like ears and staffie like muscles. They are beautiful creatures and you don’t have to be an oddball like me to invite one into your home. I apologise in advance, as my social media is an assortment of Dorian pictures and selfies, when having a Sphynx cat this cannot be avoided.
Hairless cats were the cats of my dreams and now one owns me, I couldn’t be happier. The breed (and little Dorian) has lived up to every expectation and more and I now know what it feels like to stroke a naked cat, it feels like love.
You can watch Dorian watching YouTube HERE.