- Associated Press - Monday, August 1, 2016

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) - The hairless kitten that John Hall cradles as he moves through his designated cat room is barely large enough to fill his hands.

The Sphynx cat, named Zeus, was the runt of a litter that John Hall and his wife, Kristine, bred to sell at Swank Cats Cattery, the Traverse City Record-Eagle (https://bit.ly/2aeBYLI ) reported. He stole John Hall’s heart immediately.

“I would help him nurse every hour and a half for the first two weeks,” John Hall said. “I’ve spent so much time raising him. He’s like my little son, and now I have to give him away.”

Watching their beloved hairless cats leave for new homes hasn’t gotten easier since the Halls began breeding and selling Sphynx cats five years ago from their Traverse City home as Swank Cats Cattery.

Kristine Hall recalled a black Sphynx that left with a customer a few days ago.

“… I was crying the whole time,” she said.

The self-proclaimed cat lovers get attached to the furless kittens they breed. Their female Sphynx take between 64 and 69 days to have the kittens that the Halls raise until they are 3-4 months old.

“We wait until they get their shots,” Kristine Hall said. “It’s very hard to let them go.”

The Halls decided to breed Sphynx cats after buying their first as a pet. They have since sold nearly 30 of the furless cats to customers locally and around the country. The couple even drove cross-country to drop one off to a customer in Arizona.

“We’ve made a lot of friends selling the kitties,” Kristine Hall said. “We stay in touch with all the people that have adopted and they send me picture updates.”

The Halls sell each Sphynx for $1,200, but customers can pay $1,000 if they agree to pick it up from the Halls’ house, which allows Kristine Hall to show them the ropes of cleaning and caring for the specialty breed.

“I feel like I make a better connection with them that way,” she said.

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Information from: Traverse City Record-Eagle, https://www.record-eagle.com

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