Rosie, Poppy, and Ollie have truly changed my family’s entire life, and we are beyond thankful for them.
Rosie’s story starts about 3 years ago when my oldest daughter (who was 9 at the time) had been asking for a cat to join our family. Our family cat (a tuxedo rescue girl) of 15 years had passed away earlier in the year, and she had been asking pretty frequently since then. My daughter had been diagnosed with Sensory Processing Disorder when she was younger, and it affects all aspects of her life daily. Around the time she was 7, we rescued an older golden retriever (Lucy), and we thought that would help her with her daily struggles. Lucy is like a ball of sunshine in all of our lives, but she wasn’t able to help my daughter the way I thought she would.
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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. After a few adjustments, she was able to find her niche among the animals, especially cats. She always befriended cats who seemed to get the least amount of attention from visitors (the elderly, the “unfriendly”, or the cats who weren’t the “cutest”). I feel like somehow she identified with them, it was ok that they weren’t “perfect”, but they still had goodness in them and she always made sure to spend her time with them. Unfortunately, most of the cats she bonded with had issues where they weren’t suited for homes with other pets or children.
After a while, she had gotten to the point where wanting a cat was more than just a wish, so I told her to 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.). I told her that after her research, we would do our best to see if a cat came into a shelter that matched whichever type of cat best fit those requirements. After her research, she came to me with a list of top 5 breeds that would match those personality traits. Guess what her number one choice was… a Sphynx.
I have to admit, when she said that, I had an almost immediate negative reaction to that. I suppose from the portrayal of Sphynx cats in movies and on TV (Mr. Bigglesworth from “Austin Powers” and Rachel’s cat on “Friends”). I didn’t say anything to her, and let her finish telling me why she thought a Sphynx would be a great fit for our family. Not to mention, she had a compelling presentation (complete with a website about Sphynx cats she made). 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. After hearing all her research, I said that we should ask her mentor at the shelter if they’ve ever received Sphynx cats. Unfortunately, we were told the likelihood of a Sphynx coming into the shelter was almost zero. We reached out to as many shelters in our area as we could, and we were told the same thing. I let her know I would check our local classifieds and would see if anyone posted on there about a Sphynx. It turned out, I was able to find a listing for someone who had taken in her daughter’s Sphynx cat. Unknown to her, the cat was pregnant, so she was looking for homes for the kittens.
I had never seen a Sphynx in person, but I promised my daughter (and myself) that I would have an open mind when going to visit. All I can say is… it was love at first sight. This was when Ollie (our Sphynx boy) joined our family. 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. Since Ollie joining our family, 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, and for the past (almost) 3 years, has been there for him beyond just an owner and pet, she is literally his mom. She bathes him, feeds him, talks to him, plans all his birthday celebrations, holds him when the weather is bad and tells him daily how amazing he is.
Ollie had turned our whole family (mainly my oldest daughter) into “Sphynx cat advocates” as she says. She proudly wears a backpack with Ollie printed on it to school, and despite hearing negative comments, she always remains calm and explains how they are not how some people portray them as “scary and mean”.
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. This was when Snowy came into our family. My daughter had been volunteering at her shelter and let me know about this little white mangy kitten with two different colored eyes. I let her know we would visit her, and again, we fell in love and immediately adopted her. Unknowingly to us, Snowy had a genetic condition that would sadly end her life quicker than we knew.
We had only had Snowy for several months when suddenly one day she was extremely lethargic and her nose started looking very pale. I rushed her to our vet, where we were told to take her to the emergency vet. On the way, she didn’t make it and passed away in my husband’s arms. We were told it was a genetic condition, and there was nothing we could have done to save her. We were devastated, and beyond heartbroken. My daughter’s mentor at the shelter let us know that, unfortunately, other cats from that same litter they rescued had also passed, and that we gave her the best life we could in her short time.
We weren’t sure if we were going to get another cat after Snowy passed, as our hearts were all really tender and vulnerable. After some time, we decided we would look again, but this time we would once again check our local classifieds to see if we could get another Sphynx. Ollie was having a very tough time after losing Snowy, so we knew we wanted another companion for him. 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, so I ended up going to visit, and saw that it was a little pink kitten with two different colored eyes! 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!
She fit in almost seamlessly as soon as we brought her home, and you could see the happiness returning to Ollie quickly after she came home. After some time, Rosie and Ollie had their first litter of kittens, and 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. Rosie and Poppy bonded early on, so we knew that she would be staying with us.
Rosie and Ollie brought so much happiness to us, that I decided to start an Instagram page for them. The main purpose was to show my daughters that even though their pets may not look like “traditional” pets, people could have positive reactions to them despite their different appearance. 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.
If I had a crystal ball, I don’t think I would’ve ever predicted my life ending up invested in our cats so much. They are a labor of love, and if there was one take away from it all, it would be that I can completely understand how from first glance, it might be hard to see past a Sphynx cat’s untraditional appearance, but if someone took a chance to learn about this breed, and even meet one, I am fairly confident they would have a different opinion on them. I hope that Sphynx cats will be shown in their true nature as loving, silly, smart, and kind, instead of being portrayed in the exact opposite light.