Cats: Although the connection between humans and cats is very old, felines are animals that were domesticated relatively late, especially compared to dogs.
However, the truth is that, although domesticated, a cat is a very independent animal, which must be taken into account when adopting a cat.
Cats were revered in ancient Egypt not only as pets but also for their work hunting rats and other rodents, a role that was highly valued, but felines are thought to have been domesticated earlier. A 2017 study has analyzed DNA of nearly 200 fossil feline remains dating from the last 9,000 years and revealed that the feline population began to grow exponentially during the Neolithic period.
This study suggests that cats were domesticated around 10,000 years ago by early farmers in the East, then spread to Europe around 6,400 years ago. Since then, the population living with humans for an average of 15 years – which corresponds to the life expectancy of cats – has steadily increased, and it is estimated that in Spain there were around 3.8 million cats registered as pets in 2020.
And among the breeds of cats that have increased the most in our country are naked or hairless cats, according to Salvador Cervantes, medical director of Clínica Felina de Barcelona. However, Cervantes clarifies that the population of this type is not yet very high. Of the 15,000 patients we have at the clinic, only 50 or 60 belong to these races that we call ” naked cats, hairless cats.
The reason, perhaps, is that “they are quite delicate animals, much more so than those with fur”, explains Mr. Cervantes. ” Their skin needs to be more hydrated, which is done with the diet they receive, with specific nutritional supplements,” explains Judit Gutiérrez, veterinarian specialist in ethology and co-manager of the Comportavet veterinary clinic.
Apart from this peculiarity, the only thing that differentiates these breeds of cats from those who have hair is precisely this: hair, and the fact of not having hair can sometimes be positive, according to the medical director of the feline clinic. from Barcelona, because “the hair sometimes hides the skin symptoms of a disease from which the cat suffers, and the symptoms of fever, for example, are easier to decode on a specimen without hair“, explains Cervantes.
“It’s like for people: if you are darker, you are noticed less when you have a fever than if you have fair skin, you blush more”, he explains. “And it’s the same with cats: a hairless cat will look more red or pink when it has a fever than a cat with hair.”
Sphynx, the Egyptian cat
It is the most famous breed of hairless cats. ” In fact, the other hairless breeds are mutations of this same breed.”, explains Dr. Gutiérrez. Despite its name, which is actually determined “because he looks like a sphinx”it is a breed that appeared in Canada in the 1960s following a natural recessive genetic mutation.
It is thought that he may have descended from a mutation of a Devon Rex, as the two naturally mutated families found in Minnesota and Toronto (5 original members) have common phenotypic characteristics with it. Although they are the most representative of hairless cats, the vast majority of these cats have sparse, fine and soft hair, especially on the face, tail and legs.
Donskoy or Don Sphynx
He comes from Russia and was born in the 80s (some experts refine the date and say it was in 1987), when an animal lover found a cat in a pitiful state and slowly losing her hair. Although every effort was made to restore her fur, this was not possible, and when she had a litter some of the kittens ended up losing their fur as well.
These cats were healthy, the only thing that happened was a character mutation dominant, which is easily passed on to offspring. This is what clearly differentiates them from the Sphynx, whose hairlessness is due to a recessive mutation. It is a medium-sized, slender, affectionate, friendly and intelligent feline.
Peterbald or Russian hairless cat
Like its ancestor – Donskoy cat – he is originally from Russia, hence his nickname Russian hairless cat. He has the build and build of an Oriental Shorthair cat and comes from crossing a Donskoy with Oriental Shorthair and Siamese cats. Of a very sociable character and a very marked personality, it is an affectionate and close cat, which does not appreciate loneliness. That is why it is suitable for people who spend a lot of time at home and can pay constant attention to it.
Bambino cat or dachshund cat
The smallest hairless cat is also one of the least known breeds. Its main characteristic is that it has short legs, “like a dachshund” says Salvador Cervantes, and ” it does not measure more than a hand’s breadth”, he assures. His ears are large and erect and he is the result of a cross between the Munchkin breed (a shaggy cat) and the Sphynx.
Dwelf, the elf cat
Native to the United States and known as dolfesit is a furry cat not recognized by feline federations such as TICA (The International Cat Association), which is responsible for recognizing the breeds of cats. Some breeders differentiate between the Dwelf and the Elf cat, which they consider to be of the same family, but different. Its size is small, just like the Bambino breed. It comes from a cross between the Sphynx and the American Curl improved with the Munchkin: he has the ears of the American Curl, the size of the Munchkin and the absence of hair of the Sphynx.
The Minskin cat, originally from the United States, takes its name from ” min » (miniature) and “skin”. The main characteristic of this short-legged, hairless cat is its large eyes, which give it a beautiful and captivating look. The breed is the result of crossing a Sphynx cat with a Munchkin cat (i.e. a Bambino cat) and, later, this with an American Burmese cat and with the Devon Rex. The Minskin is therefore a cat genetically modified to have characteristic short legs – derived from the Munchkin – and a sparse and short coat, characteristic that makes his whiskers almost invisible.
It is probably the only hairless cat that has no hair on any part of its body, i.e. it is the epitome of a hairless cat. Resulting from a mutation in the Hawaiian Islands, he is now very rare and is characterized by many wrinkles all over his body, including his head and face, which gives him the appearance of a small old feline. . It is a very rare breed due to reproductive issues and other health issues caused by inbreeding. Moreover, feline federations do not consider it as a new breed, but as a variant of the Sphynx.
Perfect for living in small places, as it tends to adapt to the environment without the need for large spaces. The breed comes from the crossing of Don Sphynx cats with Scottish Fold, between 2004 and 2011. The first contributed with their genes to baldness, the second with the genes of the ears that fall forward. In January 2004, the first was born, named Levkoy the First. As it is a relatively new breed, organizations such as TICA or the World Cat Federation do not yet admit it as a breed, but breeding clubs do, especially in Ukraine and Russia, where they are more prevalent.
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