JoAnne Dyck from Alberta, Canada had always wanted a hairless, Sphynx, cat. So, when she found a seller on the popular website, Kijiji, she made arrangements to have a kitten delivered to her home for $700 CDN.
Dyck told the CBC that the seller was based out of Calgary and that a friend delivered the eight-week-old kitten to her house. When the kitten arrived, he was very, very skinny and his little body was covered in cuts.
The kitten, who she named Vlad, cried constantly and didn't get along with her older cat, so she arranged for a new home for the little one.
The new owner, Shaniya Yung, couldn't get little Vlad to settle down either, so she sought veterinary advice. One look told the vet that the wounds on his tiny body were likely caused by razors or a product like Nair.
One week later, their worst fears were verified when the kitten grew a full coat of orange fur. Someone had horribly abused the tiny animal by plucking out his kittens whiskers and shaving off his fur in order to pass him off as a Sphynx.
"I thought he was crying for his mom, but he probably was in pain," said Dyck.
More than one Sphynx scam
Even worse, a second woman has come forward with a similar story. Holly Rattray, also from Alberta, bought a hairless Sphynx from Kijiji, but quickly realized that what she got was a shaved kitten.
Sure enough, within weeks, the kitten had grown fur and whiskers. Rattray and her family named the tiny cat Stripes and nursed him back to a playful, happy kitten.
She's had a difficult time explaining to her five-year-old daughter what exactly happened to the kitten before it came to them.
"... we're just kind of taking solace in the fact that we did save a life and that is what I'm telling my daughter. God blessed us with a different kitty, and that's OK."
Meanwhile, Vlad is recovering too, and it seems that his spirit has blossomed with a little TLC.
"He's playful and everything," she said. "When I first got him, he just sat with his head down, scared, and shook for 24 hours, basically. He's a completely different cat."
The Calgary Humane Society and the Alberta SPCA are looking into the matter, but without a name and address, it will be difficult to track down the abusers.
Having learned her lesson, Dyck warns others not to make the same mistake:
"Definitely go to where the cats are being bred. Never meet them anywhere. If they won't let you come to their house, their residence, it's probably a bad sign," she said. "Just be sure that it's a reputable breeder if you're looking for one of these specialty cats."
Hopefully the culprits can be found and brought to justice. Innocent animals should never suffer for human greed!