By Langley Cornwell
One of the biggest time drains I’m faced with on a daily basis is the trap of looking at cat photos on social media sites. Not surprisingly, most of my connections are animal lovers. They post loads of pictures of their cats being precious and, no matter how many deadlines I have looming, I cannot turn away. It’s like the Siren Song. And yes, I’ll admit it; I’m just as guilty as my friends. If I didn’t exercise some restraint, I’d post multiple pictures of our kitty all throughout the day. I just want everybody to see how darn cute he is when he’s lying on a pile of laundry or hiding in a box or opening a drawer or smoking a catnip cigar or snuggling with our dogs or… oh, sorry. I get carried away.
So, the other day I was sucked into the cat-viewing vortex when I came upon a friend’s photo of a cat she was fostering. This little guy is the weirdest looking cat I’ve ever seen. We tried to identify what breed combination he is but came up short. During this exercise I did learn that there are less than a hundred cat breeds in existence, and the Cat Fanciers’ Association only recognizes 40 breeds officially. Of those 40 different breeds, most of them look fairly similar.
There are a handful of cat breeds, however, that don’t look like other cats. Through genetic mutations and selective breeding, some of these cats have turned out rather odd-looking. Here are three of the most unusual.
This breed began in 2000 when a Ukrainian cat breeder bred Scottish Fold males with hairless Donskoy Sphynx females. Due to the dominant mutations of folded ears in the males and furless bodies in the females, this cross-breeding resulted in cats with inward folded ears and little to no hair. Ukrainian Levkoys are medium size and have a long, slender, muscular body. Their skin is soft, elastic and wrinkly. While I don’t find these cats attractive to look at, they are said to be healthy, active, friendly and sociable.
Ukrainian Levkoys are just one of a handful of hairless cat breeds, and I think they can all be considered “unusual.” Other hairless breeds include Elf Cats, Bambinos, Peterbalds, Donskoys, Sphynxes and Lykois.
In Thailand, the Khao Manee is considered the one and only Siamese cat. These gorgeous felines fall into the beautiful and exotic category. The Khao Manee is not a hybrid or a man-made breed; it is natural cat breed that is native to Thailand. In fact, the words Khao Manee are Thai for white gem or white jewel. These striking snow white cats have high cheekbones and pointed ears that sit proudly upright. The eyes are their most distinctive feature because they are often heterochromia iridum, which means two different colors. The eyes are usually a combination of blue, yellow, green, amber or gold.
I find some Devon Rex cats attractive and some terribly unusual looking. They have big, low-set ears and big eyes that look too large for their small, elfish face. They also have long, skinny necks. Another unusual characteristic is their fur. The Devon Rex has mostly soft, fine undercoat fur, almost like down hair, and it’s usually curly. This odd combination of features makes the Devon Rex look almost goofy.
Regarding personality, they sound fabulous. I like sociable cats and apparently the Devon Rex wrote the book on sociability. They are said to be intensely loyal, fun-loving cats that love their humans with a dog-like intensity.
Do you have an exotic or unusual cat? If so, please tell us about him or her in the comments below.
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