I’m going to be clear with you guys. I’m 36 years old. I own a cat, and back when I was growing up, I had the life aspiration to be a cat.
Sadly, the latter didn’t pan out. However, if you were to look for someone who knew something about cats, I’d be a pretty good choice. That said, I have finally seen a cat that looks different from any other cat in existence.
His name is Xherdan, and he’s been given the sad title of “the world’s scariest cat.” Sure, he may look like a supervillain — but according to his human, he has a heart of gold.
So what’s Xherdan’s story? The wrinkly sphynx cat was adopted in Rüti, Switzerland, by Sandra Filippi, who knew he was special.
“Xherdan is a very active cat and he talks a great deal, in all pitches, when he is excited, when he is hungry, when he plays or while cuddling and falling asleep, he is like a child and his character is very lovely,” she told The Sun.
Xherdan is currently 6 years old and is racking up tons of Instagram followers.
“When I first saw him, he immediately stole my heart,” Sandra said. “His wrinkled pink skin, as fine as a peach, and his turquoise eyes, I was in love!” She immediately made him the Instagram account and connected with other cool cats online.
She admits that sometimes, people get the wrong idea about her cat. While Xherdan often doesn’t look fluffy and cheerful in person, he’s quite a sweetheart once people get to know him. “Most people are a little bit scared of Xherdan at first, but then when they meet him they love him!” she said.
It’s a solid reminder that we should never judge a cat by its fur. Or lack thereof. The sphynx cat is often hairless due to a spontaneous natural mutation, according to Vetstreet. Instead of hair, cats like this are often kept warm by their suede-like skin. As a breed, they tend to be very friendly.
But it was The Guardian’s “Pass Notes” columnists who originally gave poor Xherdan the “scariest cat” honor. Even so, they’re fully aware that cats can’t help the way they look. “So we really want to be the sort of society that judges the worth of a creature by its appearance?” they wrote. “Xherdan is a living, breathing thing. He didn’t choose to look like this.”
However, certain updates from Xherdan show his playful side. Like this photo from his official Facebook fan page, which has him nuzzling under a blanket. It’s a typical sphynx thing to do, so he’s probably quite the cuddle bug at night.
For the record, yes: Even though sphynx cats lack hair, it doesn’t mean you can’t cuddle them. Their skin contains something that feels a bit like peach fuzz. So there’s definitely more to them than you may think based on photos.
Here’s another interesting fact about sphynx cats. Because they lack hair, they actually need to take baths to keep clean, as they don’t have fur that can easily absorb oils. Most other cats usually clean themselves. So if you want a cat who shares something in common with a dog, perhaps it’s the breed for you.
Having wrinkles is also a common sphynx trait. Xherdan’s wrinkles, however, seem to be more prominent than that of your standard cat. Everypaw states that having wrinkles is a good indicator that your sphynx is healthy. Curious about how the sphynx came to be?
Supposedly, it was by accident. Everypaw reports that back in the ’60s, a cat named Prune was born with a genetic mutation that made her hairless. Her breeder looked into other “naked” cats and realized that she could possibly start up a new breed of cats who shared it.
The cats made such a huge impression that, for a period of time, people were trying to sell impostors. You got that right — people shaved cats to pass them off as the sphynx breed. While the breed is somewhat rare, they’re not impossible to find — like the case of Xherdan, who met his lovely new human by chance.
Speaking of, Xherdan has been a part of Sandra’s family for a long time. According to Insider, he was only 12 weeks old when Sandra first met him and called him hers. So these two haven’t spent too much time apart. It makes sense why their bond is so strong.
Cat adoption is incredibly important, especially for pets who may be disregarded because of their looks or age. These days, cats who look different happen to be dominating the internet. But years ago, a cat like Xherdan might have been passed up.
The shelter is the best place to find a new furry friend. Even better, the cats that shelters have are screened by professionals, so you can learn about their personality ahead of time. That way, you’ll be able to be paired with the perfect companion who’ll fit into your lifestyle. “Kitten season” has officially started this month, so shelters may soon become full of cats looking for a good home.
While Xherdan may be a shock every time he pops up on your Instagram feed, he’s still a worthy follow. Xherdan is proof that you should never judge a cat (or a person) by their cover. Hopefully, Xherdan will also serve as an ambassador for his breed, and show people that while sphynx cats may be hairless, but they’re still great housemates.