History of the Donskoy Cat
Donskoy cats were first discovered in 1987 by Elena Kovaleva, a professor of the State Pedagogical Institute, in Rostov-on-Don, Russia. Kovaleva spotted a group of boys who were mistreating a kitten and a decided to take the kitten home and name her Varvara**. After a few months, Varvara began losing her hair, and Kovaleva attempted numerous treatments on her kitten’s skin (to no avail).
Varvara mated with a local tomcat and produced a litter of kittens a few months later, and her litter included both hairless and haired offspring—however, the kittens with hair eventually began to lose it, thus causing people to believe that their hair loss was caused by some sort of illness. There was little interest in the cats and people encouraged Kovaleva to get rid of them since they appeared to be unhealthy. However, these kittens were the founding stock of the Donskoy breed, and were later outcrossed with European Shorthair cats.
When a professional breeder named Irina Nemikina rescued one of the kittens and began a breeding program, the hairless coats continued with subsequent litters and it was speculated that it was actually a gene that was necessary for producing the coats (or lack thereof). Nemikina’s breeding efforts created a new cat breed, which she named Don Sphynx — Don for the nearby Don River and Sphynx as a nod to the cats’ appearance and lack of hair.
The World Cat Federation recognized the breed in 1987, and the Donsoky was recognized by the International Cat Association in 2005. The breed standard indicates that these cats are medium-sized and muscular, and have large ears, long, webbed toes, and almond-shaped eyes. Their heads are wedge-shaped and the eyes can come in a variety of colours.
**Hence our Varvara, the name of the first Donskoy discovered and the name of the first female Donskoy in Australia.