To Be Naked and Hungry

I love my cats, and I admit I wanted a Sphynx because of the lack of hair.  My first cats were two rescue alley cat rescues; Tubba and Clydesnistra (Clyde for short). I had finished college and was packing to move when I started to notice all of the cat hair I was missing during cleaning. I had a custodian come in every month to do a thorough cleaning, but I kept seeing cat hair.  Because my visual impairment was a new condition, I was more than a bit self-conscious what people were thinking of me when they entered my home and saw cat hair everywhere. This WAS my perception at that time.  I decided I needed a cat without hair.

Luckily for me I found Jake and Maus and they changed my life and my thoughts about cat hair. Though they were Cornish Rex, their care wasn’t much different than that for Sphynx. By the time Moshe Moshi came, I was a pro.

Hairless cats are not low maintenance. The lack of hair leaves no mechanism to absorb oils, prevent grime from building up on the toes, no protection for the eyes or the ears.  Ask anyone with a Sphynx and they will tell you about oily spots wherever a sphynx hangs out.  Like all creatures with the skin they do shed skin cells, but just like you, there is a need to scrub the skin to remove dirt and dead skin effectively. This becomes paramount in reducing my exposure to his and Lexi Liu’s dander.

I made this video a few years ago of Moshe Moshi getting his weekly bath.  He takes a scrubbing bath every Sunday, and I do mean scrubbing. If you look closely, you will see that I am using one of those scrub sponges people use on pots and pans.  I am not hurting him, but you do have to be careful not to rub too hard to strip the skin.  Moshe Moshi had tons of blackheads from his neglect of his first owner and scrubbing was the only way to get them out.

Unlike the video I now use exfoliating gloves and I don’t use dish soap to clean his feet anymore.  However, I do tend to bath him and Lexi more often.  Where the rule was every 7-10 days, it is now every 4-7 days. I wash their faces and feet every day.  On non-bath days they are wiped down with a cleaning wipe.  Their bedding is changed almost as often as mine and washed just like my laundry. 

When I was diagnosed, I had to toss their carpeted cat tree because it didn’t fit the rule of washable or wipe.  When I moved to Mother’s home, I did buy them a cheaply carpeted tree. I bought them four.  The tree was on sale for $35 each on Amazon and every four months I have to toss a tree.  This is their last one.  They will receive a mostly wooden tree that has replaceable pads for x-mas.

To encourage them not to sleep with me, I bought them each sleepy pod beds with the heating pad.  It has not worked entirely.  They start out in the beds and sometime in the night they crawl into bed with me.  

I place a polar fleece blanket at the bottom end of the bed all year round.  Because I have a riser that keeps blankets off my feet, this method has worked well to keep them there instead of on my head or pillow.

I do not buy clay litter.  Not because of any health concerns, but rather World’s Best Cat Litter (the Advanced Natural Original Formula) has the lowest dust ratio. I’m starting to use the Okocat Natural Wood Clumping Cat Litter
which had even less.  I could do the no scoopable, but the point is to remove dander and a month long litter would not do.

Their toys often replaced; their blankets too.  With the amount of washing, they tend not to last long.

My cats are healthy and happy.  This regiment takes a lot of time to keep up.  They are worth it, but not everyone can dedicate the time I take to do all of this.  When Maus died in 2014, I was not going to get another cat. This regiment is hard to keep up, and I wanted more time to travel and live with fewer cat issues.  Then, when I knew Jake did not have long to live I thought how lonely Moshe Moshi would be (never liked being alone).  That was why I adopted Lexi Liu.  Admittedly, I would miss having multiple cats too.  As time goes by and, I am in a new home; I will have to evaluate if I will adopt again.

Some of you have expressed your opinions about how people so easily give up their cats when faced with challenges.  Three years ago I would have agreed with you.  Since then, I have a better appreciation of what is at stake.  Sometimes the decision to give up a pet is not selfish.  It can be humane and in the best interest of your pet.  Whereas I promised to care for my cats for their life, I also promised to do what was in their best interest. I think my cats have a good life with me.

As pet advocates, we want to be informed pet parents.  If you understand what it takes to care for a pet, you are better equipt to handle the unexpected and more likely to keep your pet.  I have my moments where I fail but never have wanted to give up.  I have too much fun with them in my life, and I don’t regret any of it.

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