Atchoum. Hypertrichosis in cats. Onychodystrophy. Thickened claws. Fine hair. Inherited genetic mutation.

Atchoum inherited hypertrichosis and onychogryphosis
Atchoum inherited hypertrichosis and onychogryphosis (the latter based on my research). Wrong? Tell me in a comment. The photo is from Natalie’s social media account and is by her (believed).
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This is the story of a social media cat celebrity whose name is Atchoum, a male Persian cat born in May 2014 in Quebec, Canada affect by hypertrichosis together with associated or non-associated inherited diseases such as onychodystrophy (in my view although not mentioned) which caused his claws to be thick and non-retractable and his teeth porous according to his owner, Natalie. His claws were removed.

Hypertrichosis is an inherited disease which causes the hair to be particularly long and excessive. In the case of Atchoum, Natalie says that the fur on his body’s soft.

Soft fur

This would indicate that he is affected by a rare version of hypertrichosis lanuginose congenita called Ambras Syndrome (also known as congenital generalized hypertrichosis) in which the hair is of the vellus type, which is typically fine and lightly pigmented.

And he needs quite a lot of maintenance. She washes his face with a damp cloth every day and grooms him three times a day. She says that she saw lots of veterinarians who decided that he has hypertrichosis but it would seem to me that it was pretty obvious because the symptoms are very obvious.

Onychodystrophy – Onychogryphosis

Natalie declawed Atchoum because his claws were thickened and non-retractable. My extensive research on this could not find any link between hypertrichosis and thickened claws that are nonretractable. And, therefore, Atchoum appears to have inherited more than one detrimental disease, by which I mean hypertrichosis and onychogryphosis.

Onychodystrophy refers to a group of nail disorders including onychomycosis which is a common type of nail disorder caused by a fungal infection leading to changes in the appearance and texture of the claws. It includes paronychia which is characterised by inflammation around the nail fold. And this disease does cause thickened claws, brittle and fragile claws, abnormal nail growth and pain or discomfort. That’s why Natalie had him declawed. it is one of those rare instances when cat declawing is genuinely justified as it is for health reasons.

It is an inherited disease which also affects the mouth resulting in plaque buildup, gingivitis and feline resorptive lesions but does not affect the teeth themselves. Natalie says that Atchoum has porous teeth and she puts it down to the hypertrichosis but that appears to be wrong according to my research.


Maintenance for cats with hypertrichosis includes regular grooming for obvious reasons: to maintain healthy fur and to prevent matting. Grooming also distributes natural oils which can contribute to softer fur which, by the way, is another reason why his hair is soft.

Nutrition is important; playing a significant role in fur quality. I’m sure that Atchoum has a very beautifully balanced diet with essential nutrients including omega-fatty3 acids which promote healthy skin and coat. Good hydration is important as well as it is important to maintain good skin health such as preventing dryness.


Hypertrichosis is not primarily a hormonal issue but an inherited genetic one. The genetic mutations affect the hair follicle development leading to excessive hair growth. The article on Board Panda says that Natalie believes hypertrichosis is a hormonal disease but it’s not primarily. Androgens, the male hormone, can stimulate hair growth but their impact varies among individuals. Some forms of hypertrichosis may be influenced by hormonal factors but the underlying genetic mutation remains the key driver.

Ambras Syndrome

Congenital generalised hypertrichosis (an extremely rare type of hypertrichosis lanuginosa congenita) is a variation on hypertrichosis which is called Ambras Syndrome. This, too, is a rare congenital skin disease (affecting the melanocytes in the epidermis I believe) characterised by excessive hair growth across the entire body in male cats while the excessive growth is asymmetric in female cats. Associated health problems include gingival hyperplasia which is overgrowth of gum tissue and dental health problems. This appears to be a reference to what Natalie is saying about the teeth being porous. There may be a connection here.

Hypertrichosis is also known as ‘werewolf syndrome’.

RELATED: Have You Heard of “Werewolf Syndrome” in Cats?

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