My hairless cat smells like potatoes

Guest post by Tiffany Lee Wright
Photo note: shortly after this photo was taken, Oliver took out the flowers. Just like a cat! Jerk.
Photo note: shortly after this photo was taken, Oliver took out the flowers. Just like a cat! Jerk.

This is my cat, Oliver Star. He was named after our favorite cow. True story. No, no — don’t adjust your screens. He’s a hairless kitty! He’s just like regular kitties, except he ain’t got no hairz! Oliver’s good looks usually garner one of two responses – either “awwww, look at de bebe!!” or “OH MY GOD!!! WHAT IS THAT?!?!?! SEND IT BACK TO HELL!!!!!”

Poor guy. He has feelings, too!

My love of Sphynx cats sprouted from my awesome cousin Dana, who got her first Sphynx about ten years ago. She so cleverly named him Fluffy. I am allergic to cats, so a Sphynx was such a rad way to get all the fun of a feline without all the sneezing and runny eyes, or furballs.

Oliver stands guard over Tiffany's husband
Oliver stands guard over Tiffany’s husband, Tom.

Oliver, like his cousins and compadres, requires a little bit of extra attention, which is just more fun for me! Their temperature runs a few degrees higher than other cats, as a way for their bodies to counteract the lack of fur and keep them warm. (Read: his lil body warmth feels really good when he lays behind your back!).

But, hairless cats still need an extra layer to keep them extra warm in these brrrrr-freezing months. So that means I get to play dress-up with him! Most cats would scratch your damn eyes out, but he is pretty amenable. He was well-bred, and his breeder (CitizenKat Sphynx, Philadelphia) did such a great job at handling him as a wee one.

So this means all the funny cat sweaters and clever feline t-shirts my heart desires! (Squeee!) He pretends like he hates it, giving me the stink eye as he adjusts to a new skull and cross-bones sweater… but I know he really loves it.

hairless cat sweater

Hairless cats also require regular baths, because they don’t have the fur to absorb the skin’s natural oils. He is a superstar, so he doesn’t go all cartoon-cat-crazy when I try to dip him. He looks especially cute soaking in the tub with a soapsud mohawk. Seriously.

Oliver is pretty vocal, so as he stalks the house, he roars his little baby dinosaur roar, which sounds like a child calling out “Mooom! Mooooom!!”

Other fun facts? He smells like a potato and his skin feels like that of a warm peach. So when you hit the farmer’s market this season, pick up a peach and rub it all over your face. Don’t let the farmer’s funny looks get to you. This is research: you need to understand what it feels like to nuzzle this guy, because ERMERGARD, Oliver is snuggle-able. It is so fun to hold him like a baby and burrow your face in his, and kiss his neck like an overzealous grandmother.

So that’s Oliver. My mini-panda. My 3am wake-up call. My Jordan Cat-alano. My superstar.

hairless cat face

Comments on My hairless cat smells like potatoes

  1. He is certainly the best looking hairless cat I’ve ever seen. Certainly not as scary looking as some, much more snuggly looking.

    I wonder if him smelling like a potato is similar to dog feet smelling like popcorn.

    • !!!

      I seriously thought I was the only person alive that thought my dog’s feet smell like popcorn!

      In other news, I would totally snuggle the hell out of Oliver. Plus, potatoes are rad. I wouldn’t mind a potatoey kitteh.

    • I hadn’t heard of the popcorn thing but I’ve heard that dog’s feet smell like Fritos. I don’t think my dog’s feet smell like Fritos, but I’ll have to check for popcorn. Between that and the OP talking about the cat feeling like a warm peach, I’m getting hungry!

    • Sometimes we harass the dog by calling him Corn Chip Feet. He has allergy issues and the icky yeast-ness can get pretty bad so we clean his feet often, especially when it’s snowy or muddy (he gets a dunk in the tub upon coming in the house). Otherwise we just try to wipe them with wet wipes. Really cuts down on the corn chip feet (or popcorn) smell. πŸ™‚

  2. I too have a Sphynx! His name is Moo and he’s a blue tux…he smells like mushrooms and Doritos lol! There is nothing like the love of a Sphynx cat. Oliver is a very handsome boy πŸ™‚

    • I also have a cat named Moo! He’s not a sphynx, but a med. hair inbred mixed breed that looks a little like a jersey cow. He also Mooooooooooos instead of meows half the time.

  3. I used to tutor French for a girl whose family had a sphinx cat. They swore up and down that the cat didn’t like anyone. Within 5 minutes of sitting down for a lesson, the cat quietly came over and jumped in my lap. She was so soft and lovable, with a tiny skinny tail. Since then I’ve thought fondly about getting a sphinx as a companion to my fluffball brown tabby.

  4. What a cutie!

    Do they lick themselves the way hairy cats do? I’m super, super allergic to cat saliva, to the point where I don’t even go into the homes of cats but I would love to meet a hairless and see if it bothers my allergies.

    Also, add me to the “Corn chip smelling dog” group. I actually love his corn chip smell.

    • You might want to research into Siberian Forest Cats. They’re fuzzy but they lack that one hormone (?) that causes cat allergies. πŸ™‚ It’s rather awesome… my friend’s husband is super allergic but they live happily with 5 Siberians.

    • they do lick themselves, but then the saliva coated hairs aren’t in the atmosphere to bug you!! Maybe find a local breeder who is happy for you to go visit and see if they trigger your allergies πŸ™‚

  5. Slightly off topic, but a few weeks ago I was in a trendy gift shop and they were selling some baby clothes which I thought were really weirdly shaped…turned out they were outfits for cats! Fortunately I didn’t buy one for my niece! I’m sure Oliver Star would have looked very dashing in them though!

  6. Hello friends! First, Oliver is wicked excited about all this amazing attention! He is so happy that he is sleeping in a blanket next to me! πŸ™‚

    I have to agree with all the “corn chip dog” comments – wow! My dog(s) also smell of the salted snacks! I actually learned about the scientific reasons why… but it is just more fun to think that our babies are so cute and smell so fun because it’s magic! πŸ™‚

    I totally love having a Sphynx! I am allergic enough that the dander bothers me, but not so allergic that the saliva bothers me. So, to Jenny O., if you are that allergic to their saliva, I don’t know if a Sphynx would be the solution. If you lived close by, I would say come snuggle with him! (too weird?) or you could find a local breeder who could let you come over and play. He definitely licks and does all the usual stuff a furry cat would do.

    Alexia – we almost named Oliver “Moo”!!! What a totally adorable name!! We settled on Oliver because this amazing cow at our favorite rescue zoo had just passed away at the time, and we wanted to honor the happy guy. And to bring everything full circle – the name of the rescue zoo is Popcorn Park Zoo!!!

    Oliver, and my cousin cats, have all been really lovely creatures. Not creepy at all. Except when they are stalking you at 10pm and you just want to brush your teeth without being preyed upon. They are so sweet and so fun. And always good for a smile!


  7. In my experience, people who are freaked out by hairless cats just need to actually meet one. I was (totally foolishly and unexplainably) freaked out by them until my best friend got Quinn. Quinn is a great little being. Like other cats, just a 4-legged ball of love running around, ya know? Just less… Sheddy. I am not freaked out by people with bald heads, so why would a bald cat freak me out?
    My husband still thinks she looks like an ear… But he doesn’t dislike her for it.

    • The having to bathe the cat to prevent the oil buildup still freaks me out a little bit. I’ve also heard they need a lot of exercise and stimulation during the day if you want to sleep at night?

      I will never go out of my way to acquire a hairless cat, but if one needed a foster home, etc. I would totally learn how to bathe a cat.

      • The bathing of the cat is really easy. And truthfully, I “spot clean” him with baby wipes. Since they don’t have any hair/fur, the bath and dry time are super quick. I personally don’t think his energy level is any different from other cats, but he is the only cat I have ever had. He has the usual prey drives (the 10pm mouse hunt), but he is a sleepy creature, and great for naps! Hope that helps. If you ever came across the chance to foster one, it is a fun experience. πŸ™‚

    • I think that unmarked hairless kitties look like a plucked chicken or turkey. This frightens me because it gives them an aura of undead-ness in my eyes. I do love cow-kitty Oliver. Also, I love how much bigger their ears appear when hairless, they’re like French bulldogs and I adore French bulldogs.

  8. My only complaint with this article is that it mentions that “He looks especially cute soaking in the tub with a soapsud mohawk.” and then DOESN’T PROVIDE A PICTURE! I’m feeling pretty deprived. Also I want to rub my nose on his fuzzy head, cos that’s what you do to cats right?

  9. Awww naked kitty! I used to have a hairless rat… she freaked a lot of people out but I thought she was fabulous. I wouldn’t mind a sphinx but I think my cat allergies are bad enough that I’d probably still react to anything she licked πŸ™

    Raising my hand for another dog who smells like corn chips, though (two, actually, but one is worse) . It’s kinda totally gross but at the same time… it’s better than most doggy smells and I really don’t mind it. Hehhh.

  10. My only experience with a hairless cat comes from seeing Kat Von D’s love for hairless cats and Joey from FRIENDS exclaiming “It’s not a cat!” So I don’t have much I can provide here. But your love for your cat is evident in your writing, and I love that.

    PS: My So-Called Cat Life reference noted!

    PPS: sexually explicit biographies? Share!

  11. So, normally I’m a little freaked out by hairless kitties. I too have only every seen unmarked naked cats and there is a bit of dead chicken aura there that wigs me out. BUT Oliver? So stinking cute! The head tilt shot totally slays me. I kinda want my own fuzzy peach now please.

  12. My comment got lost so here it is again:

    My sphynx cats Dalek and Bender in their adorable Dalek & Bender special knit sweaters <3 (knit by a lady who sells cat clothes on ebay ^^)

    And yes they do smell like potatoes, mushrooms but when they eat the wrong food they can also smell like a cadaver πŸ™ Their bowels are so sensitive and they can produce incredible stinky farts at times. Like the kind a fully grown guy would be jealous of. My husband and i almost got devorced over the "who farted it wasn't me, oh my god run" discussions until we realised that our tiny little batcat was guilty ^^

    When you ask our daughter (15 months old) what sound a cat makes she will tell you it says MOOOOMmm and prrrrroooow instead of the normal meow. And she is right.

  13. The first time I met a hairless cat was when I was babysitting. The family mentioned they ownen two cats, and I had seen the tabby lounging on the sofa, so I assumed the second cat would also be a tabby or something similar.

    I went to put something in the microwave, which sat on the kitchen counter. There was an eight inch gap between the microwave and the cabinets above. I opened the door-and the hairless cat sleeping on top of the microwave stuck its head in my face, offered a loud (and friendly?) “MROWWWWW?”

    I yelped and jumped back a few feet. The little girl I was babysitting giggled and told me I had found Indy. Once she was asleep I spent the rest of the evening pretending to be Dr. Evil, this being the late nineties and all.

  14. So he doesn’t bother your allergies? I would LOVE a cat, but I’m super allergic. I was always told it was the dander and saliva I’m allergic to, not the fur. So a hairless cat wouldn’t help. But this gives me hope! He is a doll!

    • Hey Shawna! Nope, he doesn’t bother my allergies! But I don’t think I am super duper allergic. I am not vet, though! I can definitely say that if it’s the saliva, he has no shortage of licking himself! In fact, every time I pet and cuddle him he gives me this dirty look like “I JUST cleaned there!!” and hurries to clean everywhere I kissed πŸ™‚

  15. I have two sphynx, /gimmick and Smeagol (and an almost hairless devon rex called Samson) Everyone is initially very sceptical of them but there’s not one person yet who hasn’t fallen totally in love with my hairless boys when they meet them! They are a very special breed of kitty! I always think of mushrooms or bread when they get smelly, and I am proud to say I love it!! To me, it’s a comforting smell, like my great grandmas favourite perfume!

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