Paw-rent: Tan Eng Khim, 30s, veterinary surgeon
Pet: Mister Brown, 4, Sphynx
Unlike most paw-rents of “exotic” pet breeds, Eng Khim did not spend a single cent on his Sphynx cat—he met himin the course of work, and gave the lucky lad a second shot at a better life. “Brownie was my patient prior. His owner wanted to give them up, so I adopted them,” he explains. When asked if he especially appreciates him because he's so rare in Singapore, he immediately shakes his head saying, “All creatures are beautiful. Even if Brownie was not a Sphynx, I would still love and care for him!”
How is it like taking care of a hairless cat like Brownie?
Brownie needs to be groomed and showered once a week as he produces a fair amount of oil that leaves his skin feeling greasy. He has very little fur, so I need to limit his exposure to sun. For outdoor Sphynxes, owners should apply sunscreen. Brownie is a house cat though, so he’s always in a controlled environment indoors, where it’s airconditioned, and there’s a separate air ioniser with a HEPA filter. Generally, I do not find that his lack of fur causes any inconveniences.
Does he need to go for grooming? Do the groomers know what to do?
It is not difficult to groom him, so I do it myself. He enjoys the pampering so much that when showering, he purrs in delight as I rub him down with a mild shampoo! The hairless aspect is really unique, and it’s hilarious what some people have said about Brownie: “Eeee, no fur! How did you shave your cat’s coat so nicely? Does he have a skin problem? He looks like E.T.!”
What do you have to say to people who think Sphynxes are “evil-looking”?
Look deeper “inside”—they have one of the most amiable and affectionate natures among all cat species. For example, Brownie enjoys sitting and curling himself on laps of people he feels comfortable with. He likes perching on shoulders like a bird too. He’s also very kind to dogs—he especially loves rubbing his head and curling himself into the coats of the long-furred ones!
For the full interview, and more stories on paw-rents who have quirky furkids (like a Bedlington Terrier, Perro de Presa Canario, and Saluki), flip to People & their Pets of our Jun/Jul 2015 issue!