Ripley is a perfectly normal, healthy Sphynx cat. The fact that her breed has no hair is a natural mutation. Except for being susceptible to cold and needing the occasional bath, she is exactly like any other cat. To address some frequently asked questions:
Q: Does she have any weird health problems?
A. No. The first "recorded" hairless cat was born to a normal domestic cat in 1966. This cat and a few other naturally hairless cats were bred with "normal" cats, and then their offspring were eventually bred back to (different) hairless cats. The purpose of these selective breedings was to create a genetically sound cat with a large gene pool and hybrid vigor. Sphynx are therefore a very hardy breed with few genetic or health problems.
Q: Why is she all wrinkled?
A: As far as we know, all cats are, under their fur.
Q: Why is she all patchy?
A: Cats' color goes all the way down to their skin. So, striped tabby cats actually have striped skin. If she had fur, the parts of Ripley that are pink would be covered with white fur, and the parts that are gray would be covered with gray fur. Sphynx come in all the same colors as other cats - there are even "Siamese" Sphynx.
Q: Did you say they need baths? Don't they hate that?
A: Some cats despise baths, some tolerate baths, and some love baths. Ripley tolerates them.
Q: What about people with allergies?
A: Sphynx are not "hypo-allergenic," but many people who would otherwise have severe cat allergies can tolerate living with a Sphynx. So far, not a single customer or employee has had an allergic reaction to Ripley. (That we know of.)
Q: Don't they feel weird?
A: Ripley feels like a suede hot water bottle. She is very soft, and feels quite warm to the touch.
Q: What is her temperment?
A: Ripley is the calmest cat that any of us have ever met. She's very mellow, and even puts up with small children chasing her and pulling her ears. Her sweet nature, however, belies the fact that she does have occasional moments of pure kitten frenzy, when she completely circumnavigates the store without ever touching the ground. She will also sometimes climb to the top of a seven-foot tall bookshelf and look down on customers and employees alike like some exotic jungle snake preparing to pounce. . .ahem.
Q: Aren't they very expensive?
A: Yes and no. "Show quality" Sphynx can be quite expensive. Ripley was not particularly expensive, because if you look closely you can see the fur on her nose and tail. Those "defects" prevent her from being a show cat, but not from being a loved bookstore cat!
Q: Don't they get cold?
A: Sometimes. If it is too cold for you, it is too cold for her. Fortunately, there is a heating pad in the office, and many warm humans to cuddle with.
Q: Where does she live?
A: She lives here at the store. If you stop by late at night, you may catch a glimpse of her in the window.
Q: How old is she?
A: She was born in June, 2002.