Known as the rarest domestic cat breed on earth, the Peterbald is a mostly hairless feline from Russian origins with a slender build, high intelligence and a dog-like personality. Hypnotic to watch and delightful to know, this cat becomes the centerpiece of your life with its loving ways and captivating movements.
With a coat that can be totally bald, smooth skin; a texture like peach-fuzz; a slightly more plush nap similar to velour; or like the short bristles of a soft brush, this cat is a muscular wonder to behold.
The Peterbald was originally developed from a cross between the hairless cat breed from Russia, the Donskoy, and the Oriental Shorthair, which is a hybrid member of the Siamese family with full body color rather than point restrictions. Since these two parent breeds share coat specializations, the Peterbald was destined to inherit some interesting traits.
The Donskoy first appeared in 1987 in the Russian city of Rostov-on-Don, with its absence of hair or uniqueness of coat a result of a dominant gene. Although another hairless breed called the Sphynx is well-known among cat followers, its total lack of hair is caused by a recessive gene.
The Oriental Shorthair was developed to primarily explore a wide range of colors and patterns on a cat with Siamese style minus color point markings. The mating of a tabby Donskoy and a tortoiseshell Oriental Shorthair in 1993 resulted in uniquely-coated kittens in St. Petersburg and immediately gained cultural attention as Peterbalds.
A blending of dominant traits from the parental lineage produced the elegance of the Siamese and the Oriental Shorthair, with the unusually distinctive coat of the Donskoy along with a graceful physique and large, low-set ears. TICA (The International Cat Association) accepted the Peterbald into the new breed process in 1997, and recognized it for championship status in 2005. The Peterbald was accepted for Championship class competition in the American Cat Fanciers’ Association (ACFA) in August 2008.
The type of coat or lack thereof that a kitten is born with may not be the coat it wears into its adult life. If born with a light coating of hair, the cat may shift to baldness as it matures. Conversely, if born with a thick brush coat, the cat will retain that type of coat as it ages. Those whose coats and whiskers are straight-haired rather than kinky, probably did not inherit the hairless gene. As with its Oriental Shorthair parent, the Peterbald is fully represented in colors and markings.
One of the most attractive aspects of this cat is its very developed intelligence. While most cats are pretty smart and instinctively savvy, the Peterbald adds an alluring quality to its personality... an intuitive understanding of your emotions and needs. It will use its velvet-soft paws to endearingly caress your face, a very touching gesture to anyone feeling sad or disenchanted.
Your efforts to keep this cat from getting lonely will be rewarded with a lifetime of appreciation. If you work all day, it is best to have some kind of companion to prevent it from feeling forlorn in long hours of isolation. This could be solved by the presence of another cat, a dog, your children or your older relatives.
With their skin so exposed, these cats will benefit from regular bathing. Cats with very little or no hair at all will release an oily substance which lubricates their skin but requires more frequent baths as people do when they perspire. Ears and nails also should be kept clean. And, just as we need to add sunscreen to protect our skin, a cat with little hair will need similar care. Finally, winter weather can pose extra strain on a cat with no natural overcoat so make sure your kitty is always kept as warm as possible.
While it may seem that a Peterbald cat is hypoallergenic, a variety of irritants can stimulate an allergic reaction. These include provocations from cat saliva, skin dander or hair. Only repeated exposure to a prospective pet can establish your level of sensitivity.
With its sweet temperament, its lithe figure, its resourceful behavior and its effervescent level of energy, this cat will impress you with its dog-like devotion and unusually affectionate sensitivity. Acrobatic and incredibly agile, this cat will amaze you with its athletic talents in addition to its highly refined social attributes, well-mannered courtesies and big-hearted acceptance of your friends and family. When considering adoption of a cat, you just can’t ask for a better disposition.