The Peterbald is a relatively new breed of cat, the result of a cross between a Don hairless and an Oriental shorthair. The first litter was born in Russia in 1994, founding the Peterbald breed. It is common for these distinctive cats to be confused with another hairless breed, the Sphynx, but not only are they different breeds, not all Peterbalds are hairless.
People familiar with Peterbalds remark that they make excellent, almost dog-like pets. They are loyal, and it is common for them to follow their owners from room to room. While playful and curious, they are also gentle and loving. Peterbalds are an excellent addition to a family with other pets or children.
Not all Peterbalds are hairless. There are multiple coat variations, and the fur type a single can has can change over time. The coat most associated with the Peterbald is, as the name might suggest, bald. These cats are totally hairless. In addition to the lack of fur, they also lack eyebrows and whiskers. Their skin often feels slightly tacky. Cats with a chamois coat are lacking about 90 percent of the normal hair coat, and the short fur covering their skin feels like a chamois cloth. Cats with a slightly longer coat are considered to have a velour coat. A brush-coated Peterbald has a wiry coat — this type of fur is unique to the Peterbald and feels somewhat like felt. Finally, the straight-coated Peterbald has a coat like a normal cat.
A hairless Peterbald still requires skincare. Because the hair typically aborbs skin oils naturally produced by the cat, the hairless cat, and to some extend the chamois, brush, and velour varieties, need some help managing these oils. Wiping them off with a damp cloth once a week helps remove excess oil and dust that clings to it.
Without a full coat to provide protection, the Peterbald needs to be an inside cat. Even indoors, they may require additional care. If they have access to a sunny window, they will need sunscreen to protect their delicate skin from sunburn. They also need help staying warm. While some cats are fine burrowing into their bed or a blanket, others may prefer a sweater or some other protective clothing.
The Peterbald, like other hairless breeds, has a high metabolism due to the extra energy required to regulate their body temperature. This means it needs more food to maintain its weight than other cats its size. A healthy, high-quality diet, with high-protein cat food, helps the Peterbald stay healthy. Access to fresh, clean water at all times is important as well.
The Peterbald does not like being ignored. Their loving, energetic personality means they want to be in the middle of whatever activity is going on. This can be an adjustment for people who are more familiar with the aloofness of many cats. However, it's not hard to become accustomed to being greeted eagerly at the door after a day of work. The raspy meow of the vocal Peterbald alerts owners that they have been missed.
The Peterbald's dog-like tendencies shine in their ability to learn tricks and commands. They are affectionate and high-energy, two traits that enhance trainability. They may enjoy playing fetch with small toys. The downside of this personality trait is that they can become bored and lonely if left alone for long periods, which can lead to the development of bad habits. Ensuring they get plenty of exercise and activity, and providing puzzle toys when they are alone, can help alleviate this issue.
Peterbalds can be a good choice for many living situations. They may be an option for someone living in a small apartment who wants a small companion with traits more typical of a dog. As long as they receive cuddles and play, this breed can handle being alone while their owner is at work. They are not necessarily the best choice for those with small children. Although their loving personality seems like it would be a great fit, their skin is delicate and cannot tolerate much rough-housing. Also, a Peterbald, or any hairless cat, is not the answer for those with allergies. People allergic to cats are usually affected by a protein in their saliva, not their fur or dander.
The Peterbald is a small to medium-sized cat ranging from six to 10 pounds. Regardless of whether they are bald or have some other coat variation, they can be any color. While slim, they have a muscular build. They have the oblong head shape of their Oriental shorthair ancestors. Their front paws have long, webbed toes that are particularly dexterous.
The origination of the Peterbald in 1994 was the first step in developing it as a breed. In 1996, the Peterbald was officially accepted as a breed in Russia, and in 1997 it was added as a recognized breed by both the World Cat Federation and The International Cat Association. The cat quickly gained popularity in its native Russia. Despite the fact that Peterbalds are excellent pets, they are still considered a relatively uncommon breed in the rest of the world.
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