The Draseikaitė family is crazy about Sphynx cats, but that wasn’t always the case. In fact, it took some solid research and persuasion from their 9-year-old daughter before they decided to adopt a hairless cat into their family.
Violeta’s daughter has Sensory Processing Disorder, and pets can help a lot with this, which is why the family originally adopted a golden retriever named Lucy.
While Lucy is loved by the entire family, she didn’t help with daily struggles like the family had hopped – and so the search for another pet continued.
“My daughter had then started visiting and volunteering at our local shelter. At first, she struggled immensely with being around animals with her disorder. The sights, sounds, smells all overwhelmed her so much, that she was really hesitant about going back, even though she loves animals,” Violeta writes.
Her daughter was especially fond of the cats who were often overlooked by other visitors – the older, “unfriendly” cats, and even the ones that many people considered less cute.
“I feel like somehow she identified with them, it was ok that they weren’t ‘perfect’, but they still had goodness in them.”
Sadly, many of the cats she befriended were not suitable for a home with other pets and children, and so the search continued.
Mom put her daughter on a mission: “do some research and see if there was a type of cat that would fit well into our family (good with children, other pets, friendly, etc.”
From there, she came up with a list of the top 5 cats for their family. At the top of that list was a Sphynx.
At first, Mom wasn’t on board. She had negative ideas about those hairless cats… “like Mr. Bigglesworth from ‘Austin Powers’ and Rachel’s cat on ‘Friends’”.
Yet, it was hard to argue with her daughter considering she had a complete presentation prepared, including a website about Sphynx cats she had made to further prove her point.
“I asked her if their appearance mattered to her, and she said it wasn’t about the way they looked, but more about their personality.”
“Again, this probably struck a chord with her, as she doesn’t fit the stereotypical mold for how a girl ‘should’ dress, and has been teased throughout her life because of that.”
Mom was convinced that a Sphynx just might be the perfect feline for their family, and so she talked to their local shelter about adopting one. Unfortunately, they were told the chances of a Sphynx cat coming in were slim to none.
Every other shelter they reached out to said the same thing. And so, Mom started searching classifieds and she struck gold.
A local woman had taken in her daughter’s Sphynx cat who turned out to be pregnant; she was looking to re-home the kittens.
Unsure what to expect when they went to see the kittens for the first time, Mom was surprised when she first met Ollie and fell in love.
“His big bug eyes melted my heart, and his jumbo ears put a smile on my face that I could not get rid of. I knew right away that he would join our family.”
The decision to adopt Ollie has been life changing in so many ways – “my daughter has literally gotten a new lease on life. Her symptoms seemed to decrease tenfold. She immediately bonded with him and has become his number one fan. She takes care of him beyond what I thought was possible.”
For the last three years, she has kept busy bathing, cleaning, feeding and even planning birthday celebrations for Ollie.
Now the entire family acts as “Sphynx cat advocates,” fighting to break the bad stereotypes about this surprisingly sweet (and oh-so-cute!) cat breed.
Of course, one cat is never enough. The family ended up adopting a second cat named Snowy.
“After having Ollie for a while, my daughter again started asking for a kitty companion for Ollie, as she felt like he would love to have another cat to keep him company.”
That’s how Snowy came into their lives. Snowy was not a Sphynx – instead she was a mangy kitten with two different colored eyes who came into the shelter where the family volunteered.
Sadly, Snowy had a genetic condition that ended her life far too soon, just several months after the family adopted her.
Ollie took the loss of Snowy just as hard as the rest of the family, and so it wasn’t long before they found themselves checking the classifieds for another Sphynx.
“I ended up finding a listing for a similar situation to Ollie, where the owner had gotten a Sphynx cat and didn’t know she was pregnant. From photos on the classified, it was really hard to see the kitten.”
When she arrived to see the kitten, she was shocked to find a kitten with two different colored eyes – just like Snowy.
“The hair on my arms stood up as soon as I saw her. It was like a little hairless version of Snowy! Needless to say, this little pink girl ended up being… Rosie!”
Rosie and Ollie quickly fell in love…
Before long, they had a litter of kittens!
“As much as we wanted to keep all the babies, we knew that it was our time to let other people feel the love that we felt when we got our babies.”
They kept one of the kittens and named her Poppy.
The family has since started an Instagram page for their hairless kitties. Their goal is to show the beauty of Sphynx cats, despite the fact they don’t look like traditional balls of fur.
“Seeing the (mainly) positive reactions to their photos makes my daughters smile knowing their babies can bring happiness to others too. It’s also been an incredible positive outlet for myself, as I am prone to severe depression,” Mom writes.
Follow the precious kitties @thisisrosiekitty