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 thenudesphynx.com.