Caturday: naked edition

"Sidney," A photo contributed to the Boing Boing Flickr pool by Adam Baron Photography. This kitty is a Sphynx, or Canadian Hairless.



  1. Sphynx cats always look furious about their own existence.

    “Why did you make me this way? WHY?!”

  2. “Tired, Yezzzzz………You are geddink VERY TIRED, Yezzzzzzzzzzz…….LOOK INTO MY EYESSSSSSS….YOU ARE ZO ZEEPY…”

  3. d’aww, who’s a grumpy grumpus?  i wonder if he’s deaf, and what he feels like.  i also wonder if they instinctively try to wash themselves like regular cats.

    any sphynx owners here?

    1. Yes they clean themselves just like regular kitties and the are the coolest most loving creatures I have ever been around.  I have 2 and would never be without one.  Once you have been loved by a sphynx, only then you can understand.  Magical.

      1. And once you’ve been loved by a Sphinx, you’ll be cleaning sand out of places where sand should never collect.

    2. They feel like warm velvet. When I first touched one I somehow expected it to feel sort of cold and reptilian (very stupidly when I now think of it), but they feel very nice to the touch. They groom themselves just as any other cat. Why would he be deaf? 

      1. “Why would he be deaf?”

        it’s a genetic thing for white cats (which this charming hairless fellow appears to be) with blue eyes.

        re: grooming, i know when my cats try to groom me, i often have to stop them because the bristly tongue is just too much.  so i just imagine a sphynx feeling driven to bathe, yet quickly annoyed by the rasping on bare flesh!  (maybe that’s why they look so extra grumpy?)

        1. Blue eyes are actually quite common in sphynxes for all of the varieties of skin tones. I think this kitty is cream in colour, not white.

          My sphynx is very fond of licking herself and anyone else that happens to be around, so I don’t think they’re bothered by the roughness of their tongue. 

  4. Do they always look like that, or is it really pissed off?

    If there is a chaser it really ought to be a shaved unicorn.

  5. Hmm .. . . looks a little undercooked.

    LOVE Sphynx cats.  I tried hard to get one before I got my kitten, but I couldn’t find a breeder who seemed reputable.  They all had a sketchiness to them.

  6. Daaaang. 

    If any creature has every right to be pissed off about the whims of fate, it’s that one.

  7. Why are we so cruel to animals? Why do we make things like that? (I wonder if they need protection from the sun?) Excellent piece of photography though.

    1. The first sphynx was a natural mutation born to two furry cats in Toronto Canada.  Things like that is someones baby.  I have two and never had two more incredible kitties.  I had so many people say bad things about them until they met them, won everyone over, to the point of having people offer to cats sit, and I mean non cat people too.  Yes they need sun protection if they are outside.  

    2. We did not make this breed- the hairless gene is a natural mutation. If you ever met one, you would understand how incredible they are. You’ve never known love, until you’ve met a Sphynx. They may look grumpy with the wrinkles, but they are the sweetest beings I’ve ever had the pleasure of living with. Truly.

  8. I like cats and I’m sure this is a perfectly wonderful pet.  But I have to wonder about the ethics of propagating a mutation that leaves the animal lacking a vital protection against the elements.  It must be damn awkward for an animal adapted to having a thick natural covering over its skin to not have that.

  9. I like those cats, but can you tell how old they are? To me that one looks fairly senior (+10 years) but could be a young adult for all I can tell. 

  10. In fact, the Sphynx is perfectly well adapted to the environment it lives in: human society, and in particular indoors. (How much do _you_ miss not having a better coat of fur?) If I remember correctly, Sphynx are a low-allergen breed too, which means they’re adapted for people who like cats but can’t keep most cats. And I’m told that, like Siamese, they’re very people-oriented cats.

    Humans developed to rely upon  tools. Sphynx developed to rely upon tool-using servants.

    It could be much worse. There is, thanks be, no direct feline equivalent of chihuahuas.

  11. Many cats look grumpy from some angles, with or without fur. Hard to tell from a head-and-shoulders still when they use body posture and motion more than facial expression.

  12. Either place it on a plastic-wrapped styrofoam tray with the other chicken legs … or spray it with 3M adhesive and roll it in clothes-dryer lint. You can’t leave it looking like a transporter accident.

  13. The first thing I thought when I saw this was, “Man, I want to stare into those eyes every single time I boot up my PC!”

    So I hopped over to the artist’s Flickr page. When I realized he’d disabled downloads, my first thought was, “Man, I hope the rest of this person’s life is plagued with minor inconveniences.”

    Then I pressed Prt Sc and went on with my life.

  14. Where are his whiskers?! I thought cats needed their whiskers as a sort of navigational aid, like to sense their position in space or some such. Especially in the dark.

    Also, I first thought of Yoda, but then realized Yoda had tufts of hair. Gollum is more like it as noted upthread. Still, these are some pretty busu kawaii (so ugly they are cute) kitties, kind of like sharpei puppies. That’s just me, tho…

    1. Cats use their whiskers etcetera. “Need”, in captivity, is an overstatement. Might be better to keep them if one had a choice, but the mutation didn’t offer that choice… and the cat isn’t going to miss something it’s never had.

      “busu kawaii” — Nice phrase. I may have to learn that one.

  15. Free association: The first verse of _The_Glow-In-The-Dark_Chernobyl_Blues_ by Mitchell Clapp. (musician, career USAF flight test pilot, founder of Pioneer Rocketplane):

    “Our leaders are engaged in big discussion;
    The arms negotiations are all stalled.
    But this does not so much concern the average Russian,
    Who wonders why his cat is going bald!
        Thank you for your candor, Comrade Gorbechiev
        (We were due for urban renewal, here in Kiev)
        If the wind was not in the West, in the West you never would have heard the news about those
        Glow-In-The-Dark Chernobyl Blues

  16. The old man TOLD you not to feed them after midnight, but did you listen?  Of course not.

    Weird that it’s not green like most of them. Maybe this one was a mutation from water-replication.

  17. I’m haunted by the thought that all cats might be this angry, but we can’t tell because of their fluffy, fluffy fur. 

  18. Grumpy Yoda is grumpy.

    (was going to post first, but posting system malfunctioned, so I did useful work instead.  )

  19. Reminds me of chicken that needs to be skinned and deboned.  (And I appreciate the company of a live cat).

  20. This one sure looks vexed, but I’ve heard that sphinx are extra cuddly because they tend to get cold overnight.  They like to sleep under the covers next to you in bed.

  21. I applaud this post from Boing Boing. The content is fresh. The caption is simple and informative rather than chiding. The readers are respected and given room to think for themselves. Mockery and weak humor are where they belong — in individual comments beyond the site’s control. There’s no preachy, outraged call to action in the political arena. We aren’t expected to believe in anything or pick sides as a result of this information. It’s just nice, down to earth, educational, and artistic. An excellent use of digital media.

    Long live kitty cat photography!

  22. Sphynx cats have lovely natures. So friendly! But they’re not good for people who are allergic:

     We used to have a Sphynx breeder in the area who brought a Sphynx kitten called Asbo in for a check up after his new home didn’t work out. He was a lovely little guy whose favourite thing was to sit on your shoulder and rub his face on yours. Unfortunately he’d been bought by a guy who was allergic to cats who’d figured that a hairless kitty was the best breed to get. One anaphylactic reaction and trip to the hospital later he figured out that he was allergic to cat saliva…fortunately Asbo soon found a good home. 

    Andrew M: the cat looks pretty young to me. They just come pre-wrinkled.

    1. They are actually better for people with allergies than regular cats. It isn’t the cat hair that causes allergies, but the skin. Sphynxes have different skin than cats with hair, so they will cause less symptoms. If you’re allergic enough that cat saliva will cause anaphylactic shock, no kind of cat will work for you.

  23. I’m glad everyone’s response is as childish as the one I had wouldn’t have posted…yipes!!!

    I spent some time with a hairless cat (same type or similar) at a local vet. The cat was lovely and friendly. I can’t say I got used to the overall effect. 

    1. That list is really excessive. With our sphynx, we just use q-tips to clean her eyes and ears whenever they look dirty (once every few weeks), trim her nails whenever they start getting long enough to get caught on things, and give her a bath every few months. That’s it, and that’s according to our vet’s recommendations. 

  24. “You remind me of someone… a cat I met in a half-remembered dream. He was possessed of some radical notions.” — Catception (2010)

  25. What a pleasant surprise checking Boing Boing today! Thanks for using my pic and the link to my work.

    For the record, Sidney is my neighbor’s cat who I had been dying to photograph. As you could probably guess from the photo, he was not thrilled to be modeling and was very fidgety. This was the best out of like twenty shots. In case you are wondering, if you are allergic to cats, you will still be allergic to a sphynx. I know because I was sneezing after just ten minutes of working with him.

    1. True, but most people experience less symptoms with a sphynx than with regular cats, to the point where people with minor symptoms will likely not have any with a sphynx.

  26. “Ah, human, my old friend, do you know the Klingon proverb that tells us revenge is a dish that is best served cold? It is very cold in space … when you have no fur … period … end of sentence.”

  27. I’ve been staring at this thing for a couple minutes trying to figure out what was so viscerally freaky about it, then I figured it out: its FOREHEAD LOOKS LIKE A BRAIN.

  28. I have a sphynx, her name is Scarlett NoHaira, they are the most loving, funny cats ever!  Scarlett sits on my shoulder constantly, and follows me around like a dog would.  They LOVE people, and many love water.  Scarlett likes to play in the shower when I am in it.  Sphynx’s are wayyyyyyyy above other cats, they are almost human in their actions!  I’ll never be without one!

  29. This reminds me of a quote from the Locke Lamora series of books:

    “Mew,” the kitten retorted, locking gazes with him. It had the
    expression common to all kittens, that of a tyrant in the becoming. I
    was comfortable, and you dared to move, those jade eyes said. For that
    you must die.

  30. Thank you so much for putting up that photo. And Adam, that’s a stunning pic, absolutely beautiful. I have an allergy to cats, but it’s the fur that has my eyes itching and nose running like I’ve got a heavy cold coming on. I’d love this cat, there’s so much character to his face, and the lack of fur would probably be ok for me. A lovely creature, and I envy his lucky owner.

  31. Reading about the Canadian Hairless on Wiki:

    ‘Two hairless female kittens born in 1975 and 1976, Epidermis and Dermis, to barn cats in Minnesota became an important part of the Sphynx breeding programme and further hairless cats were found in Texas, Arkansas and Minnesota. Modern Sphynx therefore trace their origins to the second Canadian bloodline and to the Minnesota cats.’

    Barn cats in Minnesota?  Overall, this just strikes me as a cat breed founded in meanness.

  32. Awww, who’s a grumpypuss? Is it you? Is it you?

    I hear Sphynxes feel very warm and velvety soft when you pet them. If it gets cold, you can knit them little kitty sweaters. And mostly, they just look and act like all cats do.

    What I worry about is their lack of whiskers. Doesn’t it throw off their balance and sense of space?

  33. I’ve always wondered why humans, as a hairless species, often find other hairless animals freaky or repulsive. Baby birds, naked mole rats, the tails of regular rats, all these things seem to make us go “eeww” instead of “that feels just like me! I like it!” . Why is that?

    1. I see it as sort of an “Unfuzzy Valley” effect. They’re missing something that members of their species usually have. Since they come up short in the hair department, that might throw some people off. That’s just a guess, though.

  34. I have two Sphynx cats, both are dwarves (a genetic possibility in all cats, thought Dwarves’ children have 50% chance of being dwarves, so it can be bred).  Initially I didn’t want to like them, but I soon found how amazing they are. They are soft, hot and cuddly, and clean themselves as much as any cat.  They have no whiskers, no ear hair, but fine fur on the backs of ears and the nose. They are as athletic, and catlike as any cat, neither the hairlessness nor the dwarfism keeps them down.  They were wrinkly like a 100 year old woman when three months old.

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