Active: Donskoy cats are a moderately active cat breed. While they love to play they also love to simply be with their favorite humans. They will want to interact with you as much as possible so they may try to engage you in a game or they may opt to curl up in your lap and relax.
Size: Donskoy cats are medium in size, weighing between 7 - 12 pound
Characteristics: The medium-bodied Donskoy has a graceful body that is on full display since they have little or no hair. They are strong-boned and muscular which is good because they love to use their strength to explore and climb. Their large bellies make them look like they are out of shape but this "fatty belly" is actually an accumulation of fat that occurs during the winter. Donskoys have an oval-shaped head with large ears that curve forward, Their eyes give them an alien-esque appearance because they are oval shaped with indentations above that give them an angular look. Their face is also covered in wrinkles (as is much of their body) which adds to their very unique look. They have a medium-long tail with a rounded tip. And, one of their final distinguishing features is their webbed-toes.
Temperament: Donskoy cats are a playful and incredibly affectionate cat breed. They are quite inquisitive, always curious about their surroundings and wanting to explore. And, when they are not exploring they will probably want to play with you. They are a social and outgoing cat so they will happily greet new people and get along well with most everyone - they even love to play with children and dogs. These little balls of energy will happily play with interactive and challenging cat toys and with lovingly snuggle with their favorite human when it is time to relax.
Care: Grooming the Donskoy is very easy because they generally take care of grooming themselves. Every few months they may need help with grooming. Every week or two it is a good idea to bathe or wipe down your Donskoy to avoid its skin getting too greasy. Additionally, Donskoys are an indoor cat because their lack of hair makes them more likely to get cold or sunburned outside.
Coat: Donskoy cats are known for being hairless but they actually have four different possible coat types: Rubber Bald, Flock, Velour, and Brush. The Rubber Bald coat type is a Donskoy that is born hairless and remains completely hairless. The Flock coat type is a Donskoy that appears to be hairless but upon further investigation actually has a very small, fine coat that gives them the soft feeling of chamois. The Velour coat type is a Donskoy that is born with some wispy hairs that either remain or eventually go away leaving a hairless cat. They also have what is known as a "Monks cap" which is a bald spot on the top of the head. The Brush coat type is a Donskoy that has small patches of wiry, bristly hair in sporadic locations on its body and tends to have bald areas on the head, upper part of the neck and the back. Additionally, Donskoy cats can grow a very fine winter coat that sheds when the weather warms up - how convenient! Because of their coat, they should be kept indoors.
Origin: The unique Donskoy cat breed's history begins when an intriguing hairless cat was found in the Russian city, Rostov-on-Don. The story of the Donskoy actually begins with a rather upsetting story in 1987- Russian professor, Elena Kovoleva, was walking and found a group of boys "playing soccer," kicking around a bag that contained an understandably upset kitten. That kitten inside the bag was relatively hairless which, at first, Kovoleva thought might be from the abuse it suffered or from being ill. She gave the kitten the name Varvara and began to care for it but, over time, the kitten continued to lose her coat until she was completely hairless. Eventually, in 1989, Varvara gave birth to a litter of her own and some of the kittens had hair while others were hairless. The ones that did have hair began to lose their hair over time, just like their mother. Many thought the breed was unhealthy and that it should be rid of but one breeder suspected it was a genetic mutation and not illness that was causing the hairlessness.
That breeder, Irina Nemikina, was able to rescue one kitten which was given the name Chitya. Nemikina was right and began to establish and expand the Donskoy cat breed. She gave the breed the name Don Sphynx because of the river Varvara was found near and Sphynx because of its hairlessness. But, the Donskoy is not genetically related to the Sphynx cat (hairlessness is caused by a recessive gene for the Sphynx and a dominant gene for the Donskoy) and is recognized by many associations as the Donskoy. In 1997 the WCF (World Cat Federation) recognized the Donksoy breed, then in 2005 TICA (The International Cat Association) recognized the breed as well.