For many people, the first introduction to hairless cats probably came from the Austen Powers movie featuring a feline character named Mr. Bigglesworth. This cat started out fluffy enough, but lost his fur through misadventure. In reality, hairless cats are not made, they are born that way, barring any skin disorders that result in baldness. The culprit that causes the hairless condition is a recessive gene that must be present in both parents to produce a hairless kitten. While two hairless mates will produce hairless kittens, two furred mates may also produce one or more hairless kittens if each parent harbors the recessive gene in it’s background. The term “hairless” can also be a bit of a misnomer since some of these cats do carry a very small amount of fuzz, but the overall effect is that of a cat without fur. Although hairless kittens do occasionally pop up unexpectedly in a litter from time to time, there are actual cat breeds that perpetuate the hairless gene to produce these wonderful oddities
Donskoy hairless cats
In 1993 Donskoy hairless cats were mated with Oriental and Siamese cats, creating an oriental hairless cat breed known as the Peterbald. A mating between an Oriental tortoiseshell female and a brown mackerel tabby Donskoy male resulted in the first Peterbald kittens being born in 1994. The Donskoy male was also mated with a Russian Blue and the kittens from this mating were incorporated into the Peterbald breeding program, so becoming foundation cats of this hairless cat breed. The Donskoy originally comes from Russia, where Elena Kovaleva rescued a kitten in 1987 from being abused. Due to stress the kitten started losing its hair. This hairless cat later on gave birth to kittens who soon after birth started losing their hair. Irina Nemikina who is a professional cat breeder took a kitten and bred a new breed of hairless cats which she called the Don Sphynx. In TICA registries it is known as the Donskoy.
Anecdotal evidence shows that hairless cats have been the results of natural mutation that occurs in the cat population every 15-20 years. The contemporary breed of Sphynx started in 1966, in Toronto Cabbage town, when a hairless kitten named Prune was born. The kitten was mated with its mother, which produced one more naked kitten. Together with a few naked kittens found later it became the primogenitor of the breed. The first sphynx breeders faced a number of problems: The genetic pool was very limited; breeders had rather vague ideas about sphynx genetics; and many kittens died. The naked male Epidermis born in 1975 to short-haired mother provided new material to sphynx fanciers and new genes for further breed development. In the early stages of the breed crosses with devon-rex were used, but later this crossing was frowned upon because it caused health problems. Now the Canadian Sphynx is a breed with a sound genetic pool and closed to out-crossing unless the breeder has an experimental breeding license.
The Ukrainian Levkoy
The Ukrainian Levkoy is a cat breed of very original appearance, hairless and with folded ears. These cats are of medium size, the body is rather long, muscular and slender of rectangular format. The bare skin of Levkoy is soft and hot, it is excessive, elastic and wrinkled. Levkoy cat’s peculiar features are: special angular contour of its head and “stepped” profile folded ears and large, but not well wide opened, almond-shaped eyes. They are very friendly and active.