The Sad End of Nellie and Dick, the First Hairless Cats

Written by Lucas Oliveira

ArqBahia team of authors.

How did hairless cats appear?

The first records of hairless cats began way back, in the 19th century. Despite this, there is a good possibility that they have always been with us, appearing in different countries and in different

moments because of mutations. Only later, out of human curiosity, did we decide to mate cats with this characteristic, to ensure that the puppies also have these characteristics. And so, as time went by, they became more and more hairless, until they became so unique that we called them a “breed”, as is the case with the famous Sphynx.

Nellie and Dick

Remember we said that the first records were from the 19th century? This story begins in the United States, with Mr. Shinick, who says he received two cats as a gift from residents of a Mexican village, and that these cats were descendants of a mysterious breed, the hairless cats of the Aztecs.

Unlike today's hairless cats, they had whiskers and their fur grew a little at certain times of the year, but that didn't stop this pair of kitties from becoming local celebrities in the American city of Albuquerque. On top of that, they were approximately 25% smaller than shorthair cats!

Image of Nellie and Dick enlarged using Artificial Intelligence

Despite the many opportunities the owners had to display the kittens publicly in the city, they always refused, as they were afraid they would be stolen. But don't be fooled! That was just in the city. There are records of the illustrious couple, for example, at the very first cat fair in Chicago! The Chicago Cat Club even said they were worth $$1,000 each! Do you know what a thousand dollars was back then, before the inflammation? A lot of things!

The sad end

Despite the growing popularity of cats, this couple's story did not have a very happy ending. According to Mr. Schnick, Dick unfortunately fell victim to wild dogs, leaving Nellie without a suitable partner to carry on generations of hairless cats. Mr. Shinick, fearing complications, preferred that Nellie not become pregnant. And the lineage of these kittens ended definitively when her destiny was interrupted by an untimely death during a trip to Washington in 1908.

Because of this, we have no direct descendants of Nellie and Dick!


The History Project: Nellie, including Dick (

Mexican Hairless Cat – Wikipedia

If you know how to speak English and like the subject, we also recommend the video below that we use as a reference.

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