The Nudes: A Pictorial Celebration of the Sphynx – Raising Awareness of HCM

Fri, Apr 8, 2011

Animal Welfare, Books

If you’re a fan of hairless cats, you’re going to flip over this new book, The Nudes: A Pictorial Celebration of the Sphynx. It’s a beautiful compilation of photos from Sphynx breeders and owners showing off these cute little guys in all their naked glory. Sphynx lover Chanel Bevell put this book together because she absolutely adores these cats, but it’s not just a pretty picture book — it’s helping to spread an important message about a deadly disease: HCM.

HCM, or Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy, is a heart disease found in cats. HCM can appear in all cats, but it is especially prevalent in Maine Coons, Ragdolls, Norwegian Forest Cats, and Sphynx cats. HCM research in humans has shown that there is a genetic link, so similar research is being done to show a genetic link in cats. More research is needed to help cat owners diagnose and treat this deadly disease, and hopefully one day eliminate it entirely. The Nudes hopes to bring awareness to the issue while also raising funds to go specifically toward research efforts.

The Nudes is filled with fun photos of Sphynx cats from all over the world as well as an essay by Brook Arnold on what is HCM. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of the book will be donated to HCM research at Washington State University where Dr. Kathryn Meurs is at the forefront of HCM research.

There are tests for HCM that, if performed early enough and regularly, can detect if a cat is developing the disease. An important point to make is that breeders of Sphynx cats and any of the other breeds where HCM is prevalent, must test every one of their cats annually. I’m of course a huge proponent of rescuing animals, but there are also lots of reputable breeders out there, and this is one way to find out who they are. If you are ever considering getting a Sphynx, Maine Coon, Ragdoll, or Norwegian Forest cat from a breeder, please make sure they are testing their cats annually to reduce the likelihood that HCM will be passed on genetically. This is not a complete guarantee, but it will reduce the chances and it is the right thing to do.

I had never met a Sphynx in person, so Chanel and her husband Glen invited me over to their house to meet their six Sphynx cats. What wonderful kitties! They are so loving and full of personality! They love to play and snuggle and, boy, do they love their mom and dad. I absolutely love these cats!

Chanel is completely dedicated to eradicating HCM, so she also designed a line of clothing and and other fun stuff with the HCM logo. Proceeds from the sale of these items also go to fund HCM research. Check it out on her website

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19 Responses to “The Nudes: A Pictorial Celebration of the Sphynx – Raising Awareness of HCM”

  1. 1

    HCM occurs in people, too! I have been living with it for over 35 years since being diagnosed at age 12.
    It’s good to raise awareness about it in both kitties and people. Thank you!

  2. 2
    Modernist Cat

    BEAUTIFUL PHOTOS!!! I too love my Sphynx’s, they are amazing creatures!

  3. 3

    I just love these “naked” little guys!! One day I hope to adopt one….

  4. 4

    Thank you for posting this, I’ll have to check the apparel and book out. Birmans seem to have a predisposition to HCM as well—HCM killed my precious Remington three years ago this February. It was one of the most horrifying days of my life…my poor little friend, not even five years old, went through some real pain until we could reach the vet (we were hit by an enormous blizzard that day, and the roads were covered in about a foot of snow). And it was so sudden, so unexpected, so awful…I was playing with him in the morning, and by the afternoon, I was coming home to an empty house in a state of bereft shock.

    My vet later told me that male cats especially (of any mix or breed, so it isn’t just purebreds) tend to get this, and an echocardiogram can diagnose it. It’s a horrible thing. I hate thinking about others going through what I did that day and the days after. It was beyond awful.

    Anyhow…thanks for posting this. I’ll definitely give them a look.

  5. 5

    Oh, and those are beautiful cat photos! Though a Sphynx would freeze in our small postwar house…our thermostat never gets above 60 in the winter! LOL

  6. 6

    Love those bat-eared velvety cats! (Oh, wait — I love ALL cats!)
    Having lost two beloved cats (both rescued and neither, to my knowledge, “breeder” derived) to HCM, I know all too well this malady. My babies were a blue-point Himalayan (mix?) and a Birman (mix?), and I was told that HCM also runs through the Himalayan line.

  7. 7

    This looks like an awesome book! Ever since cat sitting for an adorable Sphynx kitten a few years ago, I have fallen in love with these cats!! I can’t wait to get the book; what a wonderful cause :)

  8. 8

    i am very fortunate to have a pet sitting client who has sphinx kitties — i had never met any in person before them — and they are just awesome. i love looking at them and petting them, when they let me. I’ll be looking for this book!!!

  9. 9
    Missy K

    I have a sphynx,a peterbald(the Russian sphynx),one Cornish rex,and a cornish/sphynx hybrid.
    They’re amazing cats ,the hairless ones.All very different,but I love them all.My sphynx and cornie are 2 of the sweetest cats I’ve ever had

  10. 10
    Ashley M

    I have to point out the obvious here – it sounds like certain pure breeds are subject to HCM. I don’t understand the breeding of dogs and cats. My alley cats are sweet, unique looking and don’t have to deal with genetic defects or diseases :(

  11. 11

    Thanks for this post and helping to spread awareness for this. I am going to ask my vet (um, my cat’s vet!) about this next time we’re in. She’s 2 and is a Siberian, which is thought to be closely related to the Norwegian Forest Cat, which are apparently commonly affected by this as well. I learned a lot in the last 15 minutes!

  12. 12

    I am a sphynx breeder and lover of this breed , they are my private nudi party haha, now serious stuff, where can I purchase this book.
    thank you

  13. 13

    You can order the book directly from Chanel’s website:

  14. 14
    Greg Lansink

    Having known Channel through facebook for over a year now, I can assure anyone that gets their hand on her book will love it. Our two cats, Hibou and Kokka are lucky enough to be chosen for a few pages, and she did a great job of choosing the best pics for her book. I know she spent many, many hour compiling this book and I commend her for her efforts. Thanks to moderncat for promoting awareness of HCM.
    Ashley M, I understand your comment about alley cats not having as high a incidence of HCM, but good breeders are trying to eliminate the problem and allow us owners to enjoy these fantastic cats without fear of serious health problems. People like me who are allergic to cats can live with these cats without having to take pills or allergy shots because without hair, the amount of grooming they do doesn’t produce much dander (which is the allergen). They do however require bathing which with some of them can be a challenge! Enjoy your cats, we all love our own don’t we?

  15. 15

    Jen – post #4 – I am so, so sorry you had such a horrible and sad experience with Remington – how upsetting. My heart goes out to you.

    My cat Francesca is on Atenolol twice a day for HCM. She’s a DSH and was diagnosed upon examination when she was 5 months old which was when she came home to us.

    Her first owner was disgustingly neglectful, leaving her for a month while she was a kitten to fend for herself – that saga led her to me.

    Anyway, a couple of things……

    It’s very, very costly to care for her – check ups are $700 + with echocardiogram, etc. She sees a board certified veterinary cardiologist. The medication, thank God, costs me $10 a month.

    An internal medicine specialist heard her heart murmur, which led us to her veterinary cardiologist for an Echo….

    She was playing and lost her breath – open mouth breathing, tongue heaving in and out of her mouth the works…..

    The heart murmur improved with meds – she’s 6 now and I honestly can’t believe she’s still alive.

    Anyway – MOST IMPORTANT was monitoring her sedation while she was spayed – EXTRA CARE was taken with her – keep that in mind if you have a kitten who has HCM and is going to be spayed and neutered.

    The Sphinx – only Sphinx I knew was a PSYCHO! And his owners treated him like a KING!!! They put up with his bad behavior.

    Good to know that someone has had positive experiences with them.

  16. 16

    One other thing……

    I really wish this research wasn’t specific to one breed – I hope that whatever results they end up with helps ALL breeds of felines, including the DSH or DLH.

    Just seems a bit elitist to me.

  17. 17
    Jen Briggs

    Ashley M post 10

    HCM affects all felines worldwide, not just purebreds. It certainly affects humans as well, my cousin died at the age of 40 from this disease. So your alley cats are not safe from this disease, heartbreakingly no feline is :-(

  18. 18
    Jen Briggs

    Patti post 16

    The sphynx breeders have worked hard and fought hard to make the research possible into HCM in the sphynx breed. It’s not that it has been elitist at all. Anyone can do it, but you would have to band together as a huge team and fight as hard as the sphynx breeders have. I wonder if you could start a forum and raise awareness for the DSH as well. It’s taken years and dedication by many hundreds and hundreds of people to get this far. I have never known an evil sphynx, know a few owners that have made their cats the way they are but never ever an evil sphynx. To me (and I have been involved with many different breeds of cat over the years) they are the sweetest most unbelievable felines you could ever wish to meet.

  19. 19
    Chanel Bevell

    They truly are incredible cats! I am actually thankful for my husband’s awful allergies, otherwise I may have never come upon the Sphynx! Now that I have them, I simply can’t picture my life without their love <3

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