For the most part, we like to imagine that our pets are the most beautiful animals in the entire world—especially our cats. With their unique personalities and cuddly natures, our cats seem to master “cuteness” in a way that other cats don’t. But one family in Russia thought about their beloved feline a little differently.
When the family adopted Simina as a kitten, she was an energetic little thing that could’ve easily been mistaken for a dust bunny. As she grew older, though, Simina’s appearance changed in a way that horrified nearly everyone who saw her…
In Russia, a high school girl named Dasha was getting ready to meet a new addition to her family. Her mother wanted a kitten, and she’d organized a meeting with someone who was trying to find families for a few felines. Right away, though, there was a disagreement…
Kitten Cuddle Room / YouTube
The cat caretaker had two cats up for grabs. Dasha liked one of the cuter kittens, but her mom preferred the other one—a scraggly little thing covered in patches of different-colored fur.
Dasha’s mom opted to bring home her cat of choice, which the family eventually named Simina and whom they dubbed a “funny and disheveled tangle of energy.” She was a scruffy-looking kitten, but still very cute. That is, until she started growing…
As Simina the cat grew older, she shed some hair in places she’d once had an abundance. The family, in a light-hearted sense, felt deceived. Their cat had grown out of her fuzziness and into something a little less, well… cute. And boy, was it bad!
Simina grew into such a strange-looking cat that Dasha’s guests often asked if she’d found the animal in Chernobyl. They were referring, of course, to the infamous city that was abandoned after a meltdown at the nuclear power plant of the same name in 1986.
But in all seriousness, did Simina really look so disastrous that guests in Dasha’s home genuinely mistook her for one of the mutated animals living on the site of a nuclear disaster? Well…
Over four years, Simina changed and changed, until fur only protruded in bunches from her underbelly like a bad woolen bedskirt. The rest of her coat was pretty much bald, save for a bit of peach fuzz.
Still, the family didn’t flinch at what their cat—a Sphynx, as it turned out, mixed with another breed of cat—had become. To them, and to many others, Simina was cute (if not a bit odd-looking). Still, she developed a few weird habits.
For one, Simina loved ice cream! Apparently, she didn’t mind the terrible stomachaches the dairy-based dessert was liable to give most felines; she, like a handful of other cats, couldn’t get enough of it. But that wasn’t even her strangest obsession…
Apparently, Simina also loved Hematogen, a Russian candy bar for children. With her excellent ears, she could hear someone unwrapping a bar on the other side of the apartment. Of course, once this happened, she’d run over for a bite!
On most nights, Dasha—now no longer a teenager—would sleep beside her warm, loving kitty, despite her odd looks. No one spent quite as much time with Simina as Dasha did—and for a good reason.
Simina at first didn’t get along so well with the men of the household. Whenever she saw Dasha’s younger brother, she hid, studying him and watching him. She only interacted with men after a great deal of caution.
Peculiar as Simina might have been, in a lot of ways, she was no different than your typical household tabby. She played with toys, was an avid cuddler, and of course, she ignored attempts to get her attention (unless you had a Hematogen)!
On top of that, Simina was dangerous in a way that only house cats could be. The family admitted she was cute and affectionate one moment, but in an instant, her mood would change and she’d lash out with sharp claws! All with a devious look on her face.
That said, caring for Simina did require a bit of additional work for the family. Dasha and her mother had to clean the cat twice per day and wipe gunk out of her eyes. Evidently, she was a dirty cat.
Because of all that dirt and gunk, people who didn’t know Simina constantly asked if the unique cat came from Chernobyl—or they’d call her something from a nightmare. Those comments never changed how Dasha and her family felt about their cat, though!
The family just loved their strange and quirky cat. They loved the way she hunted flies with ruthless abandon. They loved the way she hid in the closet and blended in with old clothes. And Dasha even had a message to fellow cat-lovers out there…
Dasha wanted the world to know that just because Simina didn’t have “a certain breed, a pedigree”—and let’s face it, she wasn’t exactly in the running for the most beautiful cat—didn’t mean she was some kind of monster!
Dasha’s message continued, and she admitted that it didn’t matter what your cat looked like; you should love her like she’s the most beautiful on the planet. Because, rest assured, your little feline will look at you that way!
While Dasha probably wasn’t telling her friends she had the conventionally best-looking cat out there, at least she had plenty to say about the unique, loving sweetheart who loved to play and cuddle with her as only Simina could!
While the Sphynx in Simina might make her look a little funny, purebred Sphynx cats are actually highly sought-after, and that means they come with a big price tag. So when two Canadian women, found the perfect Sphynx kittens online for a fraction of the going rate for the breed, they jumped right on the deal.
Before bringing a pet into your home, it’s important to do your research on where your potential new family member will be coming from. If you’re going to a shelter, what history do they know about your new pet? If you’re going to a breeder, are they licensed and follow regulatory practice?
Recently, two women, Shayla Bastarache (pictured below) and Shaniya Yung, from Alberta, Canada, were looking to purchase a new feline friend. Both women, who were total strangers prior, purchased a Sphynx cat, or better known as a hairless cat.
Jeff McIntosh / Canadian Press
The Sphynx cat is a designer feline developed through selective breeding in the 1960s. Their skin feels leathery to the touch. Their skin coloration also correlates to the color fur they would have had and follows typical cat markings like solid, point, tabby, tortie, etc.
Loki The Grumpy Sphynx
Sphynxes tend to be a more social breed of cat and display extroverted behavior. They have high energy levels, extraordinary intelligence, increased curiosity, and affection for their owners. They can be described as a dog-like cat compared to other cat breeds.
So it’s understandable that Shayla and Shaniya both wanted to add a Sphynx to their homes. Due to the designer aspect of this breed, they would need to go through a breeder to obtain their new kittens. Sphynx cats are expensive and can cost up to $1,000.
So Shayla and Shaniya, separately, began searching the Alberta area for a Sphynx breeder. It was difficult to find a breeder due to the expensive nature of reproducing a hairless cat. So they looked elsewhere.
In the process of hunting for kittens, both girls stumbled upon the website Kijiji.com, an online classified site. The price for a hairless kitten was about half of what others were asking for. It was a deal too good to resist.
Both women got in contact with the person responsible for the classified add and set up a pickup/drop off date to complete the transaction. They met in a nearby parking lot and paid cash for their new pet.
After receiving their new pets, both Shayla and Shaniya noticed bumps and cuts on their cats’ skin, but, initially at least, didn’t pay it much notice. After two weeks, though, it was evident something was terribly wrong with their kittens.
They brought their kittens to the vet. They were both utterly shocked when they were informed that the kittens’ hair had likely been removed with a combination of a razor and the hair removal product, like Nair, which was causing the skin irritation.
Shayla and Shaniya were confused. But sure enough, soon after, hair started growing on the cats’ skin! This should not happen to a true Sphynx, so the new cat owners realized what the breeder had really sold them.
Unfortunately, it became clear that the online breeder was a scammer and that they purposefully shaved, by whatever means, these poor kittens to make them look like true hairless cats.
Scammers like this are quite skilled at their practice and commonly take advantage of people who don’t know any better until it’s far too late. While you’re stuck wondering how you were duped, they’re making off like bandits.
According to the Canada SPCA’s community manager, Roland Lines, “Sphynx cats typically sell for more than $1,000 each. Because enough people are willing to meet in a parking lot to exchange money for animals, the counterfeiter can expect to get away with the deception.”
Shayla and Shaniya have now turned their focus to warning others about the potential dangers of purchasing animals from unreliable online breeders. Not only is it a financial scam, but these cats were put in danger in an effort to pass them off as a true Sphynx.
Nevertheless, both women did plan to keep their cats despite being a breed they hadn’t expected, as the animals were completely loving pets. The women were, however, quick to warn others of the troubles they may run into when purchasing pets online.
There are certainly several ways to be absolutely certain about the origins of a potential pet you’re adopting. Chief among them is to adopt an animal from a shelter. That way, you get the exact animal you want, the shelter can screen you, and they get to give that furry friend a loving home — it’s a win-win!
If a breeder is something you’d prefer, be sure to do your research first. Many breeders will allow you to visit their facility and meet with the potential parents first before placing your name on the waiting list for an animal. More so, they allow you to meet with your new pet prior to taking them home to be sure it’s a good fit.
The Alberta SPCA had just one thing to say about all of this: “If you want to be sure you’re not giving money to a criminal,” a spokesperson said, “I suggest you go to a humane society to adopt an animal. Don’t meet a stranger in a dark parking lot.”
The two cats are well cared for and showered with love. Both Shayla and Shaniya have put this scam behind them to provide the best home for these fake kittens. And most importantly, the cats did not suffer permanent damage from having their coats removed.