Boasting Russian roots, the Donskoy cat is a fairish-sized, muscular cat renowned for having wrinkled skin, covered with little hair (or none at all). This feline resembles the better-known Sphynx cat, but these two breeds are not related, with the former having a dominant gene compared to the latter’s recessive mutation. While the Donskoy cat is a relatively new breed, this furball has established itself as a friendly, spirited, affectionate cat, with a dog-like loyalty and personality.
Origin of the Donskoy Cat
A relatively new breed, the Donskoy originated in Russia in 1987. Breeder Ekebe Kovaleva rescued a hairless cat from a group of children playing and kicking it around. Later on, the cat grew and gave birth to a litter of kittens who were also hairless.
Kovalena, alongside other breeders, realized that the cat’s characteristic was brought by a natural genetic mutation, and started to develop the breed. Also fondly called the Russian Hairless or the Don Sphynx, the World Cat Federation recognized the breed in 1997 and The International Cat Association in 2005.
Physical Characteristics of the Donskoy Cat
Weight: 6 to 12 pounds
Life Expectancy: 12 to 15 years
Coat Color: Varied
Type of Coat: Hairless
Eye Color: Varied
The Donskoy cat is a fairish-sized cat that resembles the Sphynx cat in appearance and structure. It has a nicely muscled physique, wedge-shaped head, with large ears sitting atop. The Donskoy has wrinkled skin with little or no hair at all. Four types of coat are listed in these cats’ breed standard:
- Rubber bald, or the completely hairless variety
- Flock coat, characterized by an extremely fine layer of fur
- Brush coat, with bald patches on the back, neck, and head, with a wiry coat on the body
- Velour coat, bald on top of the head, with a wavy coat on the body
Donskoy Cat Personality
Donskoy cats have earned a reputation for being one of the most soft-hearted breeds in the cat fancy. These felines thrive in human companionship, love being carried around, and be the center of the family’s attention. Often compared to dogs, they have a lovable, social, and loyal personality that enjoys being around with people, and cat-friendly pets.
As a highly gregarious, they will flourish in homes with a member that will always be there to accompany them. They relish interactions, and their personality will dwindle if left alone for extended periods. With that, they are not meant for families who have lots of work commitments or traveling a lot.
Aside from the endearing personality, these cats are brimming with smarts and curiosity. They are adventurous and will explore every nook in the house and leave no area undiscovered. With their intelligence, they are relatively easy-to-train and will learn to follow voice commands in a breeze. Puzzles will be their quick favorites as it stimulates their brilliant minds.
In terms of energy, expect these cats to be playful, spirited, and active. They enjoy both making and playing games, such as fetch and hide-and-seek. However, these felines also have their fair share of snooze time. Otherwise, these affectionate cats would love to engage in warm cuddles after a good playing session with their loving families.
Caring for the Donskoy Cat
Given their distinct hairless or almost hairless coat, the Donskoy cats also have unique grooming upkeeps. While they don’t need brushing as compared to other felines breeds, Donskoys needs to be wiped down daily. These cats don’t have hair to absorb excess oil, making daily wipe downs a must. Baths are only handy once a month as over-bathing them may also trigger their skin to become oiler. Some of these felines grow a winter coat but will shed them during the summer. To keep them warm during the colder months, it is best to provide them with a warm bed or dress them in a jumper.
Other parts of their routine include primary care. These cats have large ears and must be examined and cleaned regularly to remove any dirt build-up and prevent infections. Nail trimming should be done every couple of weeks. Meanwhile, eye cleaning should also be done weekly.
As these cats are prone to tooth and gum diseases, it is best to brush them weekly using vet-approved toothpaste. Dental treats can also help boost their oral health but should be the only method of their dental hygiene.
As active and playful cats, Donskoy cats need ample playtime throughout the day. Providing them with a wide variety of toys will help consume extra energy. Meanwhile, rotating their playthings on different days can keep their interest level high. About their training, these cats are brimmed with smarts and would learn tricks in no time.
Donskoy cats are generally healthy and don’t suffer from many significant conditions. Most issues are associated with their hairless or nearly hairless coat but can be pretty manageable. Common complaints include sunburn, temperature sensitivity, or wound from hard or rough surfaces. These can easily be avoided by using sunscreen, dressing them in a jumper, or covering jaggy furniture or planes.
Nevertheless, they need to get regular wellness visits with the vet as with all other breeds. Checkups can detect or prevent any condition before they go out of hand and ensure that these felines live a long, healthy life.
Donskoy cats are perfect for families looking for a distinct feline, both in personality and appearance. While they may require some special care, they are ready to shower affection to families that would provide them with the attention they genuinely deserve.