Citizens of Alberta, Canada have been scammed by someone selling ‘hairless’ kittens they claim are Sphynx, and then learn that the cats are actually common cats who have been shaved to the skin.
You look at the pictures of the cats and think, “Oh, those Sphynx cats! They’re so ugly, they’re sort of cute!” Their unique look makes them a high-priced breed, costing several hundreds of dollars from reputable breeders. One Alberta woman, JoAnne Dyck paid $700 for what she thought was a Sphynx, but in actuality, was not a hairless breed but an abused cat.
Her kitten, named Vlad, looked like a Sphynx because he was hairless, super skinny and his face was very angular. The poor thing cried and cried, and Dyck thought he was crying for his mom. As his hair grew out, and she realized that she’d been horribly scammed, she realized the sweet baby was a victim of very cruel torture.
To get the look of a Sphynx, scammers pluck the whiskers out and use close razors and hair removal creams like Nair on innocent babies. They look like the Sphynx breed until their hair starts growing in, shocking their parents. Dyck realized that Vlad acted very differently than her other Sphynx cats, and didn’t get along with them, so she sold Vlad to another woman, Shynia Young, who was looking for a Sphynx cat on a social media group.
Yung said that when she got Vlad, he just sat on the floor with his tail tucked beneath him, as if he’d been horribly tortured. She took Vlad to the vet, where she learned that cuts on his skin were most likely razor burn or Nair, and that in the process of removing his hair, he’d gotten infections so severe his tail nearly needed amputation. Yung contacted Dyck, and they together realized they’d been duped, Vlad had been abused and they went to authorities.
Unfortunately, because there was no original selling information, the authorities could not do much, and with love and care, Vlad, who is actually an orange tabby, is healing and learning how to live as a family pet, though he is certainly not the Sphynx that Yung paid $800 for. Yung loves him, and is certainly keeping him, but she and Dyck feel horribly for the cats and for their money lost.
Apparently, there is a ring of this happening, as the number of people reporting they’ve been scammed is up to four in the area, and the Kijiji group in which the victims all found the cats still has “Sphynxes” for sale. Authorities recommend only purchasing from a reputable breeder, and continue to look for whoever is behind this horrible abuse.
In the meantime, all the cats bought so far are recovering and growing in beautiful coats. Just goes to show how a little love can make the worst trauma survivable.
Lori Ennis is a wife, mama and friend to all animals. A self-confessed “Hot Mess,” she lives wherever the Marine Corps takes her husband. Currently, that’s Maryland with her very spoiled Labrador Retriever-mix rescue pups and a ton of saltwater fish just tanking around. Lori’s family has fostered dogs for years, mostly Golden Retrievers, and knows no home is complete without an animal buddy (or seven)!