The Peterbald is a young, darling cat breed from Russia known for its peculiar appearance. These sweet kitties are typically hairless, slim and muscular. Apart from their coat (or the lack of it), they’re said to highly resemble Oriental Shorthairs, a closely related cat breed. Without further ado, hoomans, please meet the lovely Peterbald!

Main features

The Peterbald is a slim, muscular kitty characterized by a hair-losing gene inherited from its parent breed, Don Hairless, and the elegant appearance of the Oriental Shorthair. They are commonly mistaken to be completely hairless, but there are actually five different variations of the coat accepted within the breed. Peterbalds can be bald (no hair at all and slightly sticky to the touch) or have a flocked (90% hairless and chamois-like to the touch), velour (70% hairless with short, fine coat), brush (breed-specific wiry hair which is about 5mm long), or straight coat (regular, short coat and normal whiskers). The coat comes in all colors and patterns, and the skin of hairless cats resembles the color of the coat they would have had. Peterbalds that are born with fur may lose it over time. They have a slim, muscular body which highly resembles the body-type of Oriental Shorthairs. Their head is narrow and long, with a straight profile and a wedge-shaped muzzle. Their almond-shaped eyes come in all colors, and their ears are large and pointed. Their tail is slim and long, and their paws are oval and webbed, thus making them quite handy.

Peterbald bald cat with black and pink marks on the skin

Origins

The very first Peterbald was born in 1994 in Russia and was a result of experimental breeding by Russian felinologist Olga S. Mironova. Mironova crossed a male Don Hairless cat named Afinogen Myth with a female World Champion Oriental Shorthair named Redma von Jagerhov. The first two litters produced four Peterbald kittens: Mandarin iz Murino, Muscat iz Murino, Nezhenka iz Murino and Nocturne iz Murino. These four Peterbalds were the founders of the breed. The breed was officially accepted by the Russian Selectional Feline Federation (SFF) in 1996, by The International Cat Association (TICA) in 1997 and by the World Cat Federation (WCF) in 2003. The breed was accepted for Championship class competition in 2009.

Health and care

All cats face a certain risk of developing some health issues that may be inherited. However, because this is a relatively young breed, there are currently no known breed-specific concerns. When it comes to grooming, although furless, your Peterbald will require just as much care as a fluffy Ragdoll, if not more. Similarly to other hairless cats, like the Sphynx, a Peterbald’s skin has to be moisturized, and they require regular baths. This is because feline skin produces oils to keep their fur sleek. Since Peterbalds have fine to no hair, the skin oil isn’t sufficiently absorbed by the coat and needs to be cleaned and moisturized. Baby wipes can be used to help keep their skin clean in between baths. If you start bathing your Peterbald as a kitten, they will often learn to tolerate or even enjoy the water.

Peterbald bald cat in grass with pink skin

The lack of fur also makes these cats more sensitive to the sun, so it is highly important to limit and monitor their exposure to sunlight. Furthermore, it is difficult for them to maintain their body temperature, which is why it’s not a bad idea to invest in a few sweaters for your little buddy.

Personality

Peterbalds are known to be extremely sweet and affectionate little kitties. These cats are famous for their dog-like loyal behavior towards their favorite hoomans. It is said that they often follow their hooman partners around the house to stay near them as much as possible. They are energetic and curious, but very peaceful and sweet. They get along well with children and other pets.

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Furless facts about these darling cats

1. A Peterbald’s fur can change over the years. Peterbalds can be born bald or with fur (which can be flock, velour, brush or straight). But Peterbalds born with fur often lose their hair over their first years of life, or their coat changes in texture and length.

2. Brush fur is unique to the Peterbald breed. Peterbalds inherited the hair-losing gene from one of their parent breeds, Don Hairless. However, they still have a few coat variants, one of which is called brush. This type of fur is short and wiry, and it is often described to feel like felt. This unique feature is seen only in this breed.

3. Although hairless, Peterbalds are not necessarily hypoallergenic. It is often believed that cats with little to no fur may be hypoallergenic. However, allergic people don’t react to feline hair, but rather to allergens produced in the saliva. While some Peterbalds may produce less allergens than others, thus being hypoallergenic, this is not a rule for the breed.

4. Peterbalds eat more than an average cat breed. Similarly to other hairless breeds, Peterbalds have a very fast metabolism and need more food than average cats. It is recommended to consult with your cat’s vet to make sure you can design a healthy and well-balanced plan for your Peterbald which will address all its nutritional needs.

5. There might be a reason behind your Peterbald’s sweet nature. Just like it has been speculated for Sphynx cats, there are several theories explaining why hairless cats tend to be exceptionally furriendly. It is possible that these cats are so affectionate because their kittens are generally kept with the Queen for longer periods of time than other cat breeds or because the friendlier cats are more likely to be selected for breeding. Other experts believe that they are affectionate because they rely on us to keep warm.

Peterbald cat with short, fine white fur and blue eyes

Peterbalds are loving and sweet bundles of joy who will gladly enjoy cuddles and snuggles on your sofa. If you’re looking for a loving and loyal life companion, a Peterbald might be just the right kitty for you. Are you a proud fur parent of a Peterbald? Share your stories with us!