Monday, October 14, 2013

Cat Breeds: Donskoy

Some breeds fall somewhere between hybrid and purebred. This is the case with the Donskoy. Currently, the Donskoy cat is assigned to the Preliminary New Breed Category. This means that the cats can be shown in The International Cat Association (TICA) but they cannot earn titles. Eventually, if it becomes stable, this cat breed is expected to attain championship status and will be eligible for titles.

The Donskoy breed is the result of a spontaneous mutation. In 1987, a woman by the name of Elena Kovaleva rescued an abused kitten in Russia. The cat had been sealed inside a bag and used as a soccer ball by several young local boys. This kitten survived its ordeal but was so stressed that its hair began falling out. Eventually, the kitten, a female Kovaleva named Varvara, was completely bald. The hair never grew back despite being treated by several veterinarians.

As an adult, the hairless cat gave birth to a litter of kittens. These kittens were born with hair, but shortly after birth their hair began falling out and never grew back. This led some people to believe they were unhealthy and Kovaleva was encouraged to get rid of them. Luckily, a local breeder by the name of Irina Nemikina rescued one of the kittens. It took several years and a dedicated breeding program, but Nemikina eventually created what she called the Don Sphynx (Varvara was originally found beside the river Don and the hairless nature of the coat made the cats look like the Sphinx). When the breed was registered with TICA, it was given the name Donskoy.

The Appearance of the Donskoy

The most important trait of the Donskoy is the coat. There are actually four acceptable coat types, all but one of which results in hairlessness. The four coat types are Brush, Flocked, Rubber Bald, and Velour. Brushed kittens are covered in a wiry, soft, and wave coat. Shortly after birth some hair will fall out, resulting in bald spots on the head, upper neck, and back. Flocked kittens appear hairless at birth but are really covered in a thin soft chamois. This usually falls out and you get a bald cat. Rubber Bald kittens are born bald and stay that way. Velour kittens have a wool-like coat with a bald spot on the top of the head. The coat disappears in the first year, sometimes leaving some hair on the face, legs, and tail. The Donskoy is unique among cats in that it can grow a winter coat. This coat falls out again as the weather warms. They don't have a lot of hair (none in many cases), making them easy to groom and cutting down on shedding.

The skin of the Donskoy should feel velvety and hot to the touch. There should be pronounced wrinkles caused by the incredible elasticity of the skin. These wrinkles should be most noticeable on the cheeks, jowls, and under the chin. Vertical wrinkles should separate the ears and run straight down the forehead. There should also be significant wrinkles on the neck, chest, legs, underbelly, and the base of the tail. The skin itself is like human skin, meaning cats can get tanned and even turned by too much sun exposure. A natural sunblock is recommended for cats who spend a great deal of time outside.

The Donskoy is more than just its coat and skin. It is a strong and sturdy cat with powerful hind legs. These cats are medium in size with males typically being larger than females. The Donskoy breed is not a delicate one. They are hardy cats that can give as good as they take.

The Personality of the Donskoy

Intelligent and inquisitive, the Donskoy is a joy to have around. This cat is a social butterfly and loves to be the center of attention. They will play with both children and other pets and generally adapt to changes well. Active and athletic, they don't mind a good romp, but they also make perfect lap cats, especially with their warm bodies. Cuddling this cat is relaxing, and the cat enjoys just as much as the person.

These cats take a keen interest in their surroundings. They will constantly use whatever is around them to make up new games. They're not all that destructive, but they are almost too social. Everyone who comes through the door will be greeted by the Donskoy, who will usually assume the visitor is there for the cat's amusement alone.

The Donskoy is more than just social; the breed is also highly intelligent and responsive to humans. This means you can train your cat to respond to voice or hand commands. If there's a way to be involved, the Donskoy will take it, even if it means following rules.

If there's one downside to these cats, it's that they cannot be left alone. Not all. Not for a few days while you're way. Not for twelve hours while you work. Not for a couple hours while you run to the supermarket. They need companionship or they'll pine and sometimes become unhealthy. The Donskoy is a good pet for someone who works at home, but even these people will sometimes have to go out. Consider getting two, or even getting a dog. This way your cat will not be truly alone.

The Donskoy is a fun-loving and passionate cat breed well suited to most living situations. Though they are a little on the expensive side and can be difficult to find, they fit into most families and bring smiles to everyone who encounters them.