Meet Xherdan, the world’s scariest-looking cat

The hairless sphynx from Switzerland has faced some tough competition for one of the internet’s biggest prizes …Name: Xherdan.

Age: Six.

Appearance: The world’s scariest cat.

That isn’t particularly descriptive.Oh, I’m sorry. How about “a raw mince cat statue made by a cack-handed toddler”?

I still can’t picture it.How about “a shop-soiled human brain gone mobile”?

Not quite. OK. “An ‘after’ shot of Krang out of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles from a government poster campaign about the dangers of meth addiction”?

That’s better, but I’m still having a little trouble.“A scrotum with teeth”?

Yikes. Finally, we’re on the same page. Do you see now? Xherdan is the world’s scariest cat.

Tell me more of this Xherdan. Well, he’s a six-year-old hairless sphynx from Switzerland, owned by a woman called Sandra Filippi. He also looks like something out of Stephen King’s Pet Sematary. But Sandra loves him, right? Of course. She can see past Xherdan’s physical appearance, and says: “When I first saw him, he immediately stole my heart. His wrinkled pink skin as fine as a peach and his turquoise eyes … I was in love!”

Love really is blind.He is apparently a very playful cat with a lovely temperament. He loves cuddles and talking.

He can talk?Well, you know, she probably means he can miaow. You know what cat owners are like.

Is he really the world’s scariest cat, though? I’m glad you asked because the competition is quite stiff. Do you remember Ugly Bat Boy? Ugly Who Now? Oh, come on, you remember Ugly Bat Boy. He was a New Hampshire vet’s house cat, and he went viral a decade ago by looking a bit like what Aslan would have looked like if he mysteriously drowned in vinegar partway through being shaved. And he’s scarier than Xherdan? No, not really. But there was also Ugly Bertie from 2010, who resembled Father Jack in cat form.

Was he scarier than Xherdan?Probably not. He only looked ugly thanks to a viral image in which his eyes were reflecting light in a weird way.

So Xherdan rules supreme? Indeed he does. However, do we really want to be the sort of society that judges the worth of a creature by its appearance? Xherdan is a living, breathing thing. He didn’t choose to look like this. The fact that we’re all rubbing our hands with glee about how ugly he is makes me feel uneasy. It’s a return to the days of the Victorian freak show.

Focus on the Human-Animal Bond. “Dogs and cats have broken down the walls of our hearts. There haven’t been comparable domesticated species in 5,000 years.” For Dr. Becker, it’s clear that pets and people have evolved to benefit each other. He explains, “When you’re petting them, you both get this massive release of oxytocin, prolactin, dopamine, and a decrease in cortisol. It’s a reciprocal biochemical spa treatment.” As they age, it can be easy to take pets for granted. Make time for a little human-animal bonding every day.

He looksterrifying, though!Oh fine, suit yourself.

Do say: “Xherdan is the world’s scariest cat.”

Don’t say: “Says everyone who hasn’t seen the film Cats .”