Category: About Cats
The Donskoy (or Don Sphinx) is a highly intelligent, beautiful and friendly cat breed type which originated in southern Russia in the city of Rostov-on-Don (near the Sea of Azov) in 1987.
The story goes that Elena Kovaleva, a professor of the nearby State Pedagogical Institute, saw some young boys playing with a bag. When she heard a kitten inside the bag squealing in fear and pain, Elena took the bag from the boys and brought the young kitten home. She named the kitten Varvara, but over the following months the kitten grew up like no other cat she had seen. It lost its hair and was treated (in vain) for this seemingly fatal condition. The cat thrived however and a few years later gave birth to both haired and completely hairless kittens. Strangely those kittens with hair also began to lose it, just as their mother had done years before.
Many thought that these hairless kittens were unhealthy and should be gotton rid of. However, a local enthusiast and professional cat breeder by the name of Irina Nemikina, rescued one of these kittens and in several years had managed to breed a completely new type of Russian cat (a hairless one) which she named the 'Don Sphynx'. 'Don' after the river which Varvara was found beside and 'Sphynx' because it was hairless just like the sphynx breed. It was The International Cat Association which gave this unique cat type the name of 'Donskoy'.
The Donskoy is a very elegant, highly inquisitive, and social cat. They are also very active and almost always extremely friendly. For owners the Donskoy is very loyal, good-natured, gentle, and easy to groom and handle. Their coats are warm and soft to the touch making then wonderful to hold and cuddle. They have a well balanced personality, show a lively interest in their surroundings, and enjoy making up & playing games. Donskoy are extremely affectionate and they have an irrepressible curiosity (even more evident than in other cats). Their social skills are also transferred to other animals to which they will offer companionship. It is recommended that these highly sociable cats are found companion pets and should not be kept in isolation with just humans. Owning a Donskoy you will find they will love to be a part of all your activities and they will be easy to train to follow your voice commands.A young Donskoy will have a coat of one of four types in a range of colours. All but one of these coats usually results in hairlessness in later life. This is due to the Donskoy carrying a dominant hair loss gene that causes their birth coat to fall out (if they have one) in later life.
Their coats are:
Rubber Bald -- The rubber bald is born bald and remains that way throughout its life.
Flocked - The Flock coat appears to be hairless and has the texture of soft chamois leather. The Flock coat can sometimes disappear and the cat can sometimes become bald.
Velour - The velour coated kittens are born with a bald spot or Monk's cap on the top of the head. Their wool-like coat becomes wiry and disappears gradually within the first year or so with some residual hair remaining on the face, legs and tail. The Velour can also completely lose their coat and become bald over time.
Brush - Brush type coats lose only a portion of their coat over time. Their coat can be bristly, soft, wavy, and often wiry on their whole body with bald areas on the head, upper part of neck or on the back.
The Donskoy is further unique in that it can grow a winter coat (fine wool on the chest and hairs on the end of the tail) which it will lose when the weather warms. Their skin is similar to human: it sweats when it is hot and it can also become tanned by the summer sun.
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We've been looking at these painting for many years (haven't we Norm?) and find them fascinating. I'm including a selection of our favourites here. We especially like the one that's a dead ringer for Norman himself! We'd like to thank Peter (Gordon and the all the cats too!) for letting us post them here.
Peters work is described on his own website ..."Working in designer gouache and pastels, mostly from photographs, Peter paints his cats with colourful, intricate and detailed backgrounds". To us, Peter seems to capture the real spirit of these cats, as well as making the works highly decorative. Wonderful!
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