There’s a certain type of person that becomes a cat lover, and then there’s a certain type of person that falls in love with cats like the Donskoy. For the average person, the Donskoy may be more akin to a creature from outer space rather than a domestic pet. Most of us think of cats as furry creatures that are soft and fuzzy. And while the Donskoy may be just as soft as the rest of them, this cat breed is definitely far from furry. There are many interesting things you can learn about the Donskoy, and this list of 20 things about the cat breed is a good place to get you started.
Let’s start with the names. The Donskoy is an unusual name to begin with, but it’s clear that it’s of Russian origin. This cat breed also goes by the name of Don Sphynx (probably due to its similarity to the Sphynx cat) and also the Russian Hairless. The Donskoy is our favorite, however, because it’s a good reflection of how one of a kind this cat truly is.
Elena Kovaleva first discovered the Donskoys in 1987. Kovaleva was a professor of the State Pedagogical Institute in Russia. The story goes that Kovaleva once came upon a group of boys that were tormenting some random kitten. Kovaleva decided to intervene, and she ended up taking the kitten home. She named the kitten Varvara, who eventually lost all her hair. Kovaleva gave her treatments thinking Varvara was sick, but nothing worked of course. Varvara mated with another cat and produced offspring that also became hairless. These kittens eventually became the founding stock of the Donskoy breed.
As stated from their origin story, the Donskoy breed is characterized mainly by their lack of hair. Although it would be false to say that Donskoys are completely hairless, they most generally look that way. It’s what sets them apart from many other cat breeds, and it’s also what gives them character. The Donskoys’ lack of hair is caused by a dominant mutation. This is far different from how the average and more popular Sphynx cat loses its hair. Sphynx cats’ hairlessness is caused by a recessive mutation, and this is one of the few ways the two breeds can be differentiated from one another.
The Donskoy may be hairless but it’s not hairless for all its life. Donskoys may have one of 4 coat types: brush, velour, flocked, and rubber bald. Brush coat Donskoys have wavy soft fur all over their bodies, with only bald spots on their backs and some parts of their necks and heads. Velour Donskoys are born with completely bald heads and furry bodies. Flocked Donskoys have a fuzzy layer of hair that almost appears nonexistent. The flocked coat will iikely fall off after a while. And rubber bald Donskoys are born totally bald and remain that way for the rest of their lives.
These cats have medium sized bodies. Their abdomens always appear round, but this isn’t because they are fat. Donskoys are strong and have quite muscular builds. They have powerful rounded necks and medium long tails. Two interesting physical attributes that Donskoys have are webbed toes and cushioned paws. These make Donskoys look as if they are walking on clouds.
6. Weather tolerance
You can imagine the effect that being hairless has on body temperature control. Hair or fur helps cat regulate body temperature, but Donkoys don’t have enough or don’t have them at all. For this reason, Donskoy cats are very sensitive when it comes to extreme temperatures. They can’t tolerate high heat or extreme cold. They are also more susceptible to getting sunburned. This is why Donskoys are primarily indoor cats. They are less likely to get hurt from damaging sunrays or extreme temperatures.
Donskoy cats are not made to be solitary creatures. It’s a different disposition compared to how average cats are. While the average cat may enjoy its alone time all day long and some, Donskoys dread it. Although they will survive being alone, it’s not something they prefer to experience. They like company, and they will especially like their humans to be around as much as possible. If you are unable to provide constant company for a cat, the Donskoy might not be for you.
Although Donskoys can learn how to play and live with other animals, they might have difficulty sharing your attention with another cat. For some reason, Donskoys tend to be jealous of other kittens. It might ease the situation if your Donskoy is brought in to a home that already has cats or if it’s introduced to another cat while still young. Otherwise, a Donskoy will harbor jealous feelings towards any cat that might take your attention away. They’ll begin to act territorial and may even start to be aggressive towards other cats if they come around.
Apart from its tendency to get jealous with other cats, Donskoys are normally mild-tempered creatures. They are gentle and generally friendly, and they like to spend close time with their humans rather than staying aloof or far away. They like to play and interact with their humans, making them wonderful and warm company. They’re just the kind of cats that somehow act like dogs. It’s an interesting personality that not many cat breeds possess, which makes the Donskoy even more special.
Donskoys are known to be highly intelligent cats. They are even intelligent enough to be trained. Training is not unusual for cats, especially for smart breeds such as this one. Once you teach a Donskoy a skill, it will remember that skill for as long as it lives. They are inquisitive, curious, and eager to learn creatures that like to be entertained. It’s important the you provide your Donskoy with toys, puzzles, and various other activities to keep its mental health in check and also to keep it entertained.
Though it may be hairless, the Donskoy is actually a high maintenance cat. Their skin is quite similar to human skin. It sweats and needs daily sponging and cleaning. In addition, you’ll have to bathe your Donskoy at least once a month for a more thorough cleaning. Their nails will have to be clipped every 4 to 6 weeks, and they will need dental grooming at least once a week.
Although they require constant grooming, Donskoys are fairly easy cats when it comes to healthcare. As long as you maintain regular checkups, you should have no issue with illness or disease. Donskoys are generally regarded as healthy cats. They are most prone having dental issues such as gum disease and tooth decay, however. But as long as you do your weekly dental cleaning, you should be able to avoid dental problems altogether. As mentioned above, you’ll also have to be careful about your Donskoy getting sunburned. This can easily be remedied by the use of special cat sunscreen or even a cat shirt.
There aren’t too many differences in size between male or female Donskoys. These cats will grow to be about 10 to 12 inches in height, and they are likely to reach adult size between 9 to 12 months. Female Donskoys tend to weigh lighter than males. Females can weigh anywhere from 4 to 7 lbs., while males can weigh anywhere from 9 to 11 lbs. Donskoys are considered to be mid-sized cats. They don’t require too much space at all and are excellent indoor companions even in the smallest of spaces.
Even though they are relatively average-sized cats, the Donskoys require more food compared to other breeds. This is due to the fact that Donskoy cats tend to have a higher body temperature, which makes them burn more calories at the end of the day. This is also the reason why you need to increase their food intake even more during the winter. They’ll need to increase their body temperatures even more during the colder seasons. Fortunately, Donskoys do not have any problems eating. You’ll just need to make sure they get the best food possible.
Donskoys are looked upon as some of the most loyal cats you can find. They tend to be similar to dogs in this way. To a Donskoy, its human will be the top priority in its life. It will grow to be extremely attached to you and will constantly be on the lookout for you as well. Even though it might venture out a bit to explore and play, it will always come back to spend time with you and simply be with you.
Much like other cat breeds, Donskoys need exercise in order to stay healthy. Since the outdoors is not a particularly good option for this breed, it’ll be better if you provide your Donskoy with an indoor play area. A cat tree should suffice or even various play activities will do as well. Exercise for the Donskoy serve as entertainment as well. If you don’t provide your Donskoy with appropriate exercise, you’ll soon find that it will entertain itself in other ways throughout your home.
Cats communicate through vocalization, and they happen to have the ability to make different types of sounds. Although it’s capable of doing just that, the Donskoy tends to be a quieter breed. They don’t vocalize as often as other cats do, and we suspect we know why. Donskoys are creatures that like to communicate in other ways—through physical cues and actions. In short, they show their affections through actions rather than sounds. They find a way to show what they don’t like as well.
Speaking of affections, Donskoys show their loyalty and love explicitly. You will never doubt just how much your Donskoy actually loves you—a stark contrast to how average cats actually behave. You’ll find your Donskoy constantly rubbing against your legs or trying to work its way into your arms. Your Donskoy will also likely share your bed every night unless you direct it not to. It’s a good thing they have warm bodies that can help keep you warm at night.
The Donskoy has an average lifespan between 12 to 15 years. This is typical of most cat breeds, but Donskoys tend to have an advantage. Given that they are generally healthy cats, Donskoys can live well beyond their predicted lifespans if cared for properly. Proper diet, exercise, and proper grooming will simply help your cat live longer and healthier lives. Prevention of disease from excessive exposure to the sun and to the elements will also help in the matter. Some cats have been known to live for well over 30 years. In fact, the longest living cat today is at least 38 years old.
Hairless cats are special breeds. They’re not as common as their furry peers, and they also have unique temperaments that many pet owners look for. For this reason, Donskoy cats can be quite pricey. Average Donskoys may cost anywhere from $800 to $1,500 per cat. If you’re buying from a reputable breeder, you can expect to pay more than $1,500 for one cat. If you happen to love the Donskoy breed, then this cost should be worth paying. Just keep in mind that having a pet means that you will incur extra expenses every month towards the care and feeding of your Donskoy. While it may not seem like much, all these costs will add over time. Make sure you are ready to handle the expense before committing to keeping a Donskoy.