Peterbald Cat Information And Care

peterbald cat
Peterbald Cat

The "dog-like" Peterbald cat is a loyal and affectionate feline companion. These cats of Russian origin are exceptionally loving and affectionate, and can usually be found underfoot their favorite humans.

Weight: 7-14 pounds

Length: Medium-sized

Coat: Bald, flock or chamois, velour, brush, or straight

Coat Colors: All colors and patterns

Eye Color: Varied

Life Expectancy: 12 to 15 years

Characteristics of the Peterbald Cat

Affection LevelHigh
FriendlinessHigh
Kid-FriendlyHigh
Pet-FriendlyHigh
Exercise NeedsMedium
PlayfulnessHigh
Energy LevelMedium
TrainabilityHigh
IntelligenceHigh
Tendency to VocalizeMedium
Amount of SheddingLow
Peterbald Cat

History of the Peterbald Cat

As a newer cat breed, the Peterbald cat’s history is somewhat limited. The breed was first developed in 1994, when a Russian breeder named Olga S. Mironova crossed an Oriental Shorthair cat with a Don Sphynx cat. The resulting breed, later called the Peterbald after it rapidly grew in popularity throughout St. Petersburg, Russia, is today recognized by the Cat Fanciers Association (CFA)--however, it remains a relatively rare purebred or pedigreed domestic cat breed.

calico cat sitting on window sill
calico cat sitting on window sill

The small- to medium-sized Peterbald retains a few unique characteristics from the Don Sphyx, including its varying amount of hair, dexterous front paws, and wrinkly skin. The elegant breed took its long and lithe body type and oblong head shape from the Oriental Shorthair. One unique feature about Peterbalds is that they have long front toes with webbing, which allows them to hold and manipulate toys and other items. They generally have a friendlier, more social personality than typical Oriental or Siamese cats.

The Peterbald’s hair varies in type, from a velvety, fuzzy velour coat to a completely “nude,” hairless cat. There’s even an “ultra-bald” type that doesn’t even have whiskers or eyebrows (and their skin often feels sticky to the touch). Potential Peterbald owners may also be interested to know that the coat one of these cats has at birth may not represent his or her forever fur--their coats can change significantly throughout their first two years of life, and their hair texture can be either altered, gained, or lost.

The Peterbald breed was accepted by The International Cat Association (TICA) in 1997, and was recognized for championship status in 2005. TICA accepted the breed's brush coat variety for championship status in May 2008; one of the first brush coat Peterbald cats to achieve championship status was named Blue Belle, and is an anomaly amongst Peterbald cats as she has a gray body color with vibrant blue eyes.

peterbald cats
Peterbald Cats
peterbald cat
Peterbald Cat
peterbald cat
Peterbald Cat

Peterbald Cat Care

The Peterbald cat is generally considered to be a low-maintenance cat breed. Since they come in any color or pattern, their hair type will ultimately determine the level of care they'll require. Potential Peterbald owners likely won't need to worry about excessive shedding, however even the hairless varieties will require a weekly routine bath or wipe-down. Careful bathing is important so that oils don't build up and cause skin irritation. These cats will also need to remain indoor cats; not surprisingly, their lack of hair causes them to get cold very easily.

grayscale of cat
grayscale of cat

Peterbald cats are exceptionally outgoing and energetic. They are a smart and independent breed that will form strong bonds with their family members, including other cats (and even dogs). These energetic cats are actually considered to be rather "dog-like" in that they are affectionate and cuddly while also wanting to be involved in the day-to-day activities of the household. They are very intelligent and can learn tricks--and, also like dogs, they tend to use their voices quite a bit to communicate with their owners. These active and highly athletic cats love nothing more than to spend their time playing with their humans, and they're always willing to participate in games or puzzle toys.

Because the Peterbald is so active and playful--and craves interaction with his or her family--they make excellent family pets. However, playtime with children (or fellow pets) should always be supervised, as the cat's lack of fur means that they are especially vulnerable to injury.

Common Health Problems

Because many Peterbald cats are hairless, sunburn, sensitivity to hot and cold weather, and other skin issues are potential concerns. Their delicate skin can also be easily injured, such as when playing with a cat companion or roughhousing with children. Otherwise, these cats are associated with surprisingly few breed-related health issues (provided they are properly cared for).

person feeding grey tabby kitten
person feeding grey tabby kitten

Diet and Nutrition

Like all breeds, the Peterbald cat can be susceptible to weight-related issues such as obesity or heart disease, so they should be fed a high-protein, high-quality diet and receive plenty of exercise in the form of playtime with their families. The good news is that, also due to their lack of fur, Peterbalds typically have a faster metabolism than cats with full coats, which means that they have healthy appetites; their high metabolism also helps them heal faster than fully-coated kitties when it comes to wounds or scratches.

Pros
  • Social

  • Affectionate

  • Friendly

Cons
  • Highly sensitive to hot/cold

  • Susceptible to injury

  • Require weekly bathing/wipe-downs

Where to Adopt or Buy a Peterbald Cat

Peterbald cats are still somewhat rare, so be sure to check local animal shelters and rescue groups for these cats that are in need of a forever home, as well as reputable breeders. Since they are not often readily available, it may be difficult to find a breeder for a Peterbald kitten; additionally, hairless cats are often sold for higher prices.

white and brown tabby kitten on white textile
white and brown tabby kitten on white textile
orange tabby cat in close-up photography
orange tabby cat in close-up photography

More Cat Breeds and Further Research

Be sure to do your homework when choosing a cat. Talk to other Peterbald cat owners, reputable breeders, and rescue groups to learn more about this particular breed and their care. There's a variety of cat breeds and with a little research, you can be sure you'll find the right cat to bring home.

If you’re interested in learning more about other cats, consider these breeds: