The Ukrainian Levkoy cat is a breed of the 21st century, not yet very well known outside its place of origin and not recognized by the international cat federations. It is a breed of Ukrainian origin, created by crossing a Don Sphynx with a Scottish Fold. The result was a hairless kitten with ears folded forward.
AnimalWised brings you everything you need to know about the Ukrainian Levkoy cat. We cover the origin, characteristics, temperament, care, and possible health aspects of this hairless cat breed.
Origin of the Ukrainian Levkoy
The Ukrainian Levkoy cat is a fairly young breed that appeared in Ukraine in 2004 after cat breeder Elena Birjukova crossed a Don Sphynx cat with a Scottish Fold. The result was a hairless kitten born like the Don Sphynx, but with ears folded forward like the Scottish Fold, which they named 'Levkoy the First'.
Being such a young cat breed, it is not yet recognized as a breed by the main cat organizations, such as the World Cat Federation (WCF) and The International Cat Association (TICA). Breeding clubs in Ukraine and Russia, however, consider it as such and have already registered more than 200 specimens in these two countries alone in 2008.
Characteristics of the Ukrainian Levkoy
The Ukrainian Levkoy is a medium-sized cat weighing 7 to 10 pounds (3.5 to 5 kg) for females and 8 to 14 pounds (4 to 7 kg) for males, with a height at the withers of 12 to 15 inches (20 to 25 cm) on average.
Aside from being hairless or very sparsely haired and folding its ears forward, the main physical characteristics of the Ukrainian Levkoy are as follows:
- Muscular, thin and long legs.
- Thin and narrow tail.
- Oval and broad chest.
- Well-developed muscles.
- Numerous wrinkles on the head and body.
- Face angular, wedge-shaped and somewhat flattened.
- Pronounced cheekbones.
- Short, slightly wavy or curly whiskers or whisker hairs.
- Large, slanting, almond-shaped and light eyes.
- Large ears, broad and folded forward.
Colors of the Ukrainian Levkoy cat
The colors of this cat breed depend on the color of the skin, which can be white, brown, black or gray, although all patterns are accepted. They are accompanied by wrinkles on the surface of the body.
Character of the Ukrainian Levkoy
Ukrainian Levkoy cat has a cheerful, sociable and affectionate temperament. Unlike other breeds, it adapts very well to changes and suffers less from stress symptoms. They are very attached to their caregivers, whom they are likely to follow around the house. Likewise, they do not like to be left alone for long periods of time. Therefore, this breed is not suitable for people who spend a lot of time away from home.
They are very curious and intelligent cats who will explore all corners of the house and new acquisitions extensively. Since they are so active and dependent, it is important that they are constantly stimulated with toys and interactions. Cats of this breed are very social and get along well with children and other animals. It would be better for cats of this breed if they lived with other cats or dogs, especially so they would not get bored when left alone.
Ukrainian Levkoy care
The first thing that must be emphasized is that this breed of cats has a very sensitive skin. Due to the lack of hair, Ukrainian Levkoj specimens are at high risk of burns and damage from high and low temperatures. Therefore, in summer or when exposed to direct sunlight, be sure to apply a sunscreen to protect against UV rays that can cause burns and promote the appearance of skin diseases or tumors such as squamous cell carcinoma. In winter, we must make sure that the room temperature in the house is appropriate. If this is not possible, we should cover them with blankets or make them wear a specific cat coat to keep them warm.
As for hygiene, they do not need to be bathed or brushed, but we must wipe them with a damp cloth or mop to remove the grease that their skin naturally secretes. The eyes, teeth, and ears must be cleaned regularly to avoid infections and inflammations. Due to the lack of hair, they also have an accelerated metabolism that increases their body temperature to compensate for their lack of protection. Therefore, we must feed them a complete and balanced cat food that contains all the essential nutrients in the right proportions. You should also provide them with a higher amount than other medium-sized breeds due to their high needs and activity.
Being such a dependent cat, they require dedicated caregivers who take enough time each day to play and interact with them and take steps at home to enrich the environment, especially when they are home alone. They also require at least a scratching post and a litter box with appropriate litter that will not irritate their sensitive skin.
Ukrainian Levkoy health
The life expectancy of the Ukrainian Levkoy cat is between 9 and 15 years. Although it is a strong and healthy cat, its two characteristic features, namely the folded ears and the lack of hair, might cause some health issues. As for the folded ears, this type of morphology favors the accumulation of debris and earwax, which favor the proliferation and invasion of pathogens that cause otitis.
On the other hand, the absence of hair makes them susceptible to skin diseases and burns. For these reasons, it is important that these cats have good ear hygiene, protect their skin with sunscreens and keep them at a good temperature to avoid colds and infections.
Cats are relatively prone to ear infections. Mites, middle ear infections and other ear issues can be troublesome, but are usually easily treated. Continue reading this other article to learn how to apply ear drops on a cat.
Where to adopt a Ukrainian Levkoy cat?
Outside of Ukraine and Russia, these cats are not very well known, so their adoption in local shelters or rescue organizations can be quite difficult. Remember that regardless of breed, before adopting a cat, you should pause and consider whether you are really a good candidate. You need to make sure you have the time and commitment a creature needs to have a good quality of life.
If you are a fan of hairless cats and are interested in adopting one, you can read about other hairless breeds in this other article.