Ukrainian Levkoy cat breed: the almost completely hairless, folded-eared psychologist
László Enikő, 2023. February 17 - Source: Photos by Getty Images Hungary
The breed was created from the crossing of the Scottish Fold and the Donskoy in the early 2000s. Many organisations do not officially accept it, but it is gaining a growing number of fans. Not only does he catch the eye with his folded ears and bald body, but his special, calming personality will also capture the hearts of cat lovers.
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The Ukrainian Levkoy is an almost hairless cat from Russia. This breed is an excellent pet, especially because it loves to please its owner and play with children. It also thrives in smaller living spaces, making it a good choice for apartment dwellers. However, it is important to remember that hairless kittens are sometimes more time-consuming to care for than longer-haired kittens!
The short history of the Ukrainian Levkoy dates back to the early 2000s, to 2004 to be precise, when a Russian breeder, Elena Vsevolodovna Birjukova, tried to mate a Don Sphynx cat with a Scottish Fold. The first Levkoy was called Levkoy Primero. He was hairless, with huge almond-shaped eyes and droopy ears. The following year it was recognised by the Ukrainian cat association, ICFA RUI, and later by the Russian ICFA WCA. The breeding was carried out by Elena over many years and the result was the Ukrainian Levkoy, who has the hairlessness of the Donskoy and the special ears of the Scottish Fold. The variety takes its name from a plant called levkoy, which has leaves that bend like this cat’s ears.
The Ukrainian Levkoy is a medium sized, hairless or almost hairless cat breed. It weighs about 4-6 kg. It comes in almost all colours and patterns. The large ears are typically folded, but can sometimes be straight. It has a penetrating gaze, very large eyes and a variety of colours. His head is square, with wrinkled skin between the ears, and his whiskers are sometimes curly. Its limbs are long and muscular, its paws are oval and its toes are long. Expected lifetime 15 years.
The Levkoy is a very intelligent and loyal pet. He is very close to his family, so he needs care and attention. He is very gentle, never aggressive, and his patience is almost infinite. He is not demanding, nor does he retaliate with loud whining if dinner is five minutes late. Nor is it typical of him to destroy things in the house. On the contrary, he is extremely playful, so it’s worth getting more toys for him such as something to keep his mind sharp. And when the fun is over, he will take a long rest, typically curled up on his owner’s lap or on the sofa.
Because he is typically very close to his owner, he can sense almost immediately if the owner is sad or stressed. At such times, he often pleases his owner to get him out of a bad mood. The breed is often referred to as the most special cat and not just because of its looks! It is said that a cat with such a unique nature will immediately ease its owner’s problems and anxiety, as it is surrounded by a special energy that calms you down just by its presence.
Since he is a very social pet, the Levkoy can be depressed and lethargic if left alone for long hours. He requires affection and attention from its owner, so it is not recommended for households where he needs to be alone a lot. Because he is patient, he is also a good choice for families with children. He’s not a hothead and is difficult to piss him off. So, if younger children are taught how to treat a cat with respect and gentleness, they will make great friends. He gets on well with other cats, which helps to reduce the feeling of loneliness when his owners leave home for a few hours. As it does not require a lot of space and is not a particularly over-enthusiastic cat, it is a good choice for people living in an apartment.
On the care of Levkoy it is the same as other hairless cats. In other words, these cats get cold very quickly, so it is important that the room temperature is always right. It is a good idea to give them small sweaters or a heated bed in winter. And in the summer avoid sunburn with sunscreen specially formulated for cats. Since the Levkoy is hairless or hardly hairy, he needs frequent bathing, because he has no hairs to disperse the oils produced by his skin. These can accumulate in the ears and toes. The two areas should therefore be gently wiped over frequently. Claws should be cut if they do not wear at the right pace and therefore become too long.
Common health problems
As it is a very young breed, there are no long-term health studies available at the moment. If you are curious about this, it is worth analysing the two ancestors. In the case of the Donskoy, the dominant genetic mutation responsible for hairlessness can also cause ectodermal dysplasia in the cat, which can lead to an inability to sweat, abnormal development of teeth and gums, and an inability to breastfeed in female cats.
In the case of the Scottish Fold, the ear is very divisive. This is because the breed may develop a skeletal abnormality, which called osteochondrodysplasia. It is responsible for folded ears, but can also occur in other areas of the skeletal system. The problem becomes severe when the phenomenon is present in the limbs to such an extent that the animal can hardly walk. It is also very important to keep the ears clean, as breeds with folded ears are more likely to develop ear infections or other problems. Especially if they are hairless, as this can allow more dirt to enter the ear canals.
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