A woman from Alberta has been left shocked after purchasing what she thought was a hairless sphynx kitten, only to find it growing fur a week later.
At first the kitten looked like the expensive Sphynx breed, but it turns out the lack of hair was due to harmful abuse rather than breeding.
“He was like a little tiny kitten, no more than eight weeks old, and he was naked. Completely hairless,” said JoAnne Dyck, who named her kitten Vlad.
“It looked like a sphynx because he was very, very skinny and his face was really angular.”
JoAnne explained that the person who posted the ad said they were in Calgary, but the seller said a friend could deliver the cat, rather than JoAnne making the trip down south.
However, a few days after Vlad was delivered, it was clear that something wasn’t right with the tiny kitten.
Despite looking like a Sphynx – no whiskers or hair – Vlad did not get along with JoAnne’s older Sphynx cat – so JoAnne was left with no other option than to find him a new owner.
“Me and her talked back and forth the next couple of days about him, because he wasn’t seeming to really calm down. And she took him into the vet and the vet said the cuts on his skin were most likely caused by razor burn or Nair or something like that,” said JoAnne.
The vet said the cuts on Vlad’s tail were infected and could have led to amputation.
It is thought the scammers had plucked out the whiskers and used razors and hair removing lotions on the kittens in a bid to sell them for up to $1000.
After a week in his new home, low and behold, Vlad started to grow a coat of orange hair.
“I thought he was crying for his mom, but he was probably in pain,”
“Regular sphynx kittens would want to be held and would want to be warm and touched, but he didn’t want anything to do with us. He probably didn’t want to be touched because his hair — it wasn’t supposed to not be there.”
JoAnne decided to report the scam to the Calgary Humane Society, but sadly she was told there was nothing they could do without an address or full name of the breeder.
She later contacted the Alberta Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals but again was told there was nothing they could do as the trauma had passed and the animal had been seen by a vet.
“It’s pretty crazy. I’ve always thought that all these animal people were supposed to help you, like the SPCA. You hear about them doing all these great things, but it just seems like they couldn’t help us.”
Since JoAnne posted her story on social media, she has been contacted by other cat lovers, also in Edmonton, who say they have been affected by a similar scam.
JoAnne is now warning people to be mindful when searching for their specialist pets.
“Definitely go to where the cats are being bred. Never meet them anywhere. If they won’t let you come to their house, their residence, it’s probably a bad sign,” she said.
“Just be sure that it’s a reputable breeder if you’re looking for one of these specialty cats.”